Jeff Green | Jun 23, 2005
Feature article, June 16, 2005
Feature article June 16, 2005LAND O' LAKES NewsWeb Home
North Frontenac Council wants out of the dock businessand other news from Councilby Jeff Green A request from the Mazinaw Lake Property Owners Association to improve the township-owned dock at Tappins Bay was brought up at North Frontenac Council last week, several months after Council put the matter aside, with a request to staff that an inventory of docks in the township be carried out.
The matter was brought back before Council at the request of Mayor Maguire, who will be speaking at the Mazinaw Lake Property Owners Association Annual General Meeting on July 3.
Im sure the people at the meeting will want to know what Councils response is to their request, Maguire said.
Staff reported that of the 30 docks in the township, only three are actually owned by the township: the Tappins Bay dock, a dock on Shabomeka Lake, and a dock on Canonto Lake.
It turns out that far from wanting to improve the Tappins Bay dock, Council would prefer to sell it to the Mazinaw Lake Property Owners Association for a nominal fee.
Councillor Will Cybulski said, I dont think we want to get into the dock business. I think if we build at Tappins Bay, whos to say it wont end up being inadequate in 5 years time?
Parking space will always be a problem, added Councillor Betty Hunter.
Councillor Bud Clayton put it this way, We download it to the Association, or we remove it. If they dont want it, I suggest we pull it down.
I think its a money pit. It will always be a money pit as long as we own it. The MNR sold the people those lots on the far side of the lake in the first place, and they also told them what the docking facilities would be. I think they should go back to the MNR. If they dont want it for a dollar, I think we should rip it down, said Councillor Dave Smith.
Councillor Fred Perry wanted to take a measured approach.
I think what we need to do is set up a time frame six months, three months, or whatever to give the Property Association time to consider their options.
Township Chief Administrative Officer Cheryl Robson was asked if the township has insurance for the docks it owns.
They are not specifically named in our policy, Robson said.
Now that the condition of the docks has become a public issue, the consensus among councillors was that the insurance company must be informed of the condition of all the docks. Concerns have been raised about the condition of the Canonto and Shabomeka docks.
I think if they are not up to standard the insurance company will say fix them or tear them down, said CAO Robson.
I think that this Council should be guided by what our insurance company says about them, said Councillor Cybulski.
Ill call the insurance company tomorrow morning, said Cheryl Robson.Office Hours raised
Several months ago, township staff in North Frontenac requested that office hours be reduced from 5 days a week to 3 days a week, and since then the township office has been open on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays. Office staff reserve Tuesdays and Wednesdays for training, staff meetings, and for concentrated work time.
We got our first written complaint about the reduced office hours, said township Chief Administrative Officer Cheryl Robson, in bringing the matter to the attention of Council.
I think the hours are fine the way they are. We have to handle the same amount of business as the City of Toronto or the City of Ottawa. The difference is that Toronto and Ottawa have 600700 people to do the same work. Were not closed two days, were open three, said Councillor Dave Smith.
Others took a different view, however.
Deputy Mayor Gleva Lemke said I have heard a lot of verbal complaints. A lot of people dont like the idea that the office is not accessible. I disagree with it being closed the two days.
While Township CAO Cheryl Robson said staff find the current arrangement beneficial, it is a political decision of Council.
It was proposed that a receptionist could be available at the front desk, but that appointments would be necessary for people to speak to Department heads. However, the township office is so small that as soon as anyone comes in the door, everyone looks up; they cant help it, said Councillor Smith.
Township Clerk/Planner Brenda Defosse said, I prefer being closed two days a week. It allows me to conclude a project. If someone comes to the office to see me, and they are told they cant see me, I dont think they are going to be satisfied.
Another suggestion was made that in the summer time, when final tax bills go out and the seasonal population is around, the office be opened five days a week.
Cheryl Robson said that 75% of the townships seasonal residents pay their taxes by phone or online.
Council left the office hours in place, with Cheryl Robson asking Councillors to encourage people who dont like the hours to put their complaints in writing.
EOTA proposal rejected
At a Council meeting in early May, Cindy Cassidy from the Eastern Ontario Trails Alliance (EOTA) came before Council with a request that a partnership be formed between EOTA and North Frontenac, so EOTA members would be allowed to use the roads the township operated on Crown land.
EOTA has been very active in fostering ATV tourism throughout Eastern Ontario, and Cindy Cassidy said the Trails Alliance would contribute to the maintenance of the Crown Land access roads if a partnership agreement were reached.
Councillor Betty Hunter, chair of the Crown Land Access Committee, reported that the committee had been concerned that any change in the use of the Crown land roads might violate the agreement the township has with the Ministry of Natural Resources to operate the roads. Hunter said she had contacted the MNR, who did not favour any changes to the use of the roads.
Hunter then read out a letter she has written to Cindy Cassidy outlining why the township could not accept the partnership offer, since the Crown Land roads are operated to provide access to camping and fishing opportunities on Crown lands, and not for ATV touring.
Council passed a resolution authorizing Hunter to send the letter.
Building permits on the rise -
A report from the Chief Building Officer David Young showed that permits were issued for $826,400 worth of construction in May of 2005, up from $577,700 for May of 2004.
Budget meetings continue
Council met to consider the 2005 budget earlier in the day, and another meeting is scheduled for this week. The budget is expected soon.
Fire Hall to be decided in budget deliberations
Those waiting to see what decision Council will make on the future of the Clar-Mill Fire Hall may have to wait until the budget is prepared. There are no separate meetings scheduled to discuss the pros and cons of the proposal to move the Fire Hall to Plevna. Councillors have not indicated which way they are headed on the contentious Fire Hall issue.