| Jun 23, 2005


Feature article, June 16, 2005

Feature article June 16, 2005

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MacDonald chastised over office renovationsby Jeff Green A minor agenda item, office renovation update, presently solely as an information item to Council this week, brought about an angry response from several Councillors.

The matter in question is a renovation of the entranceway and bathrooms to bring the office in conformity with handicapped access regulations, and the erection of spacer walls within the Council chamber to establish offices for township staff.

For Councillor Janet Gutowski, the fact that the renovation plans never came to Council for approval is unacceptable.

I do not agree with this manner of decision making, she said. I think we have permanently renovated ourselves out of a Council Chamber at the township office without Council being consulted. Last year staff came to Council for direction when they wanted to establish storage space in Mountain Grove. For the township office to be renovated without approval being sought from Council, I believe that is morally wrong.

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Gutowski then added that she would have supported the renovations if the matter had been brought before Council.

Mayor Bill MacDonald said earlier that Council had been informed changes were on the way. Sharbot Lake Council meetings were moved to the Oso Hall because there was no space in the township office. Nonetheless, he acknowledged Gutowskis complaint.

I will accept your reprimand in the spirit with which it was meant, he said to Janet Gutowski.

Other Councillors agreed with Gutowskis comments, and also asked about the tendering process for the renovations.

Township Chief Administrative Officer Heather Fox said that the job had been contracted through an invitation tender to two contractors which is acceptable under the townships procurement bylaw for jobs of this size. The renovations will cost less than $10,000, and were included in the 2005 township budget.

Mayor MacDonald then brought up the issue of the future office space needs of the township, saying, We are going to have to look at an addition to the township office at some point soon.

This brought out some further debate, as some Councillors argued there is plenty of office space available to the township at locations outside of Sharbot Lake.

It is not necessary, with the communication tools available to us, to have all departments of the township located under one roof, said Councillor Logan Murray. The Public Works department does not need to be located in Sharbot Lake, for example. Sooner or later we need to have much more discussion on this.

Flush toilets at Sharbot Lake beach by Canada Day?

Its been 22 months since a letter to Central Frontenac Council from Wayne Robinson of Sharbot Lake kick-started a campaign to replace the outhouse at the Sharbot Lake beach with flush toilets. A public campaign has raised in excess of $10,000 for the project, and the township has secured a commitment of $15,000 from the Eastern Ontario Development Fund (EODF). The project has been moving forward slowly, as the township has had to wait for environmental assessment work to be completed. The understanding was that the EODF funding was secure until the end of the Federal fiscal year next March 30.

All of that changed last week, when township Chief Administrative Officer Heather Fox received a call from Ann Pritchard of the Frontenac Community Futures Development Corporation, the agency that is responsible for the EODF program in Frontenac County. Ann Pritchard informed Heather Fox that the $15,000 grant must be spent by the end of June.

Fortunately the environmental assessment documentation has now been submitted. While it is only necessary to purchase materials with the $15,000 grant by the end of June in order to secure the funding, the townships Public Works department says that every effort will be made to complete the structure by June 30th. Plumbing and electrical will happen shortly thereafter. So the toilets may be in place by Canada Day, but flushing them will have to wait.

Building boom

May was a banner month for building permits in Central Frontenac. Permits were issued for a construction value of $1,556,000 in May, up from $899,000 in May 2004, and $375,00 in May 2003. The 2005 year-to-date total as of the end of May is $3,325,000, which compares to $2,148,000 for the same period in 2004 and $1,903,000 in 2003.

$18,000 for used pickup truck

One of the townships pick up trucks, a 94 Chev, is in need of a new transmission, and at 400,000 km, Public works Manager Bill Nicol recommends that it be scrapped. He proposed to Council that a used pickup be purchased for $18,000. Even though this is an unbudgeted item, the township was $18,000 under budget for a recent purchase of Cab and Chassis and Plow equipment, so Nicol proposed using the savings for a pickup truck.

Councillor Logan Murray said, I think we should look at all or our vehicle uses before we decide what to do.

What exactly does this vehicle do? asked Councillor Bill Guigue of Bill Nicol.

Nicol replied that the truck is used to replace signs, and to transport fuel and personnel to equipment that is on the road.

I think weve had our discussion, said Councillor Frances Smith, and I think we should go ahead and purchase this vehicle.

Councillor Murray disagreed.

Im not sure we had the discussion with any depth. There may be some things we can do with our vehicle use. Were talking about spending money here. I think we need to look at that further.

Council decided to purchase the truck. The vote was eight in favour, one against. Lonely Logan rides again.

Paving program

At their previous meeting, Council decided to grant a tender for paving to a company from London, Ontario, pending a reference check. The reference check did not pan out, but the second lowest bid, from Smith Construction, was still lower by $1500 per kilometre than the price the township received last year. As a result, there is $120,000 left in the paving budget. Public Works Manager Bill Nicol recommended that Council use that extra paving budget money to do some extra paving. It is recommended that 2.5 kms of the Fifth Lake road be done, 4 kms of the Arden road, from the end of the existing paving south to the Pit road, and 2 kms of the Oak Flats road be done, from the end of the existing paving to the Struthers road.

While Council was happy to see extra paving done, several mentioned that the extra paving should have been tendered, instead of being tacked on to an existing tender. Nonetheless the proposal was accepted and the paving will take place.

Summer Council

As has been the practice for several years, Council will only meet monthly in July and August on July 11 at 7 pm , and August 9 at 7 pm. Both meetings will be held at the Olden Hall in Mountain Grove.

EODF Application

The first application deadline for the second round of the eastern Ontario Development fund is June 24. Councillor Janet Gutowski, the chair of the Economic Development Committee, recommended that Council apply for only one project at this time, the Railway Mural Project. Five thousand dollars has been raised from the community towards a mural, based on the day John A. MacDonalds Funeral train passed through Sharbot Lake, to be painted on the wall of the Stedmans store in the village. The Economic Development Committee will be looking for $6,000 from Eastern Ontario Development Fund to help bring the mural into being.

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