| Jun 30, 2005

Feature article, June 30, 2005

Feature article June 30, 2005

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Dock task force formedTappins Bay issue returns to Council by Jeff Green

North Frontenac Councillor Will Cybulski was intent on doing some damage control at Council last week, after reaction to a debate about the Tappins Bay dock at the previous meeting led to a deluge of emails and phone calls.

As several audience members, all users of the Tappins Bay dock, looked on, Cybulski assured them that the dock is not slated for closure, at least not on my watch.


An emailed response from the townships insurer to a question about liability insurance for township-owned docks was presented. The insurance company representative wrote that the municipal general liability coverage automatically extends to cover all premises owned or leased by the township, including dock facilities. The letter also said that docks must meet or exceed Ministry specifications, and [be] inspected and maintained appropriately. No one on the township staff or Council is familiar with ministry specifications, and staff will be looking further into the matter.

A delegation from the township went to look at the Tappins Bay dock and launch and found them to be in pretty good repair, so it was not envisioned that much township resources will be required to bring the facility to ministry standards once those are determined.

The same cannot be said for the Canonto Dock, which is in need of immediate repairs.

It was last year that the Mazinaw Lake Property Owners Association requested that the Tappins Bay dock be enlarged and the number of parking spaces be increased.

While Council seems to be reassuring Mazinaw Lake residents that the dock will not be closed, there is little to indicate they are in favour of enhancing service at the site.

Councillor Cybulski said, I think if we make the dock larger, we will only make problems there worse. The dock and launch are intended to provide access to waterbound properties on Mazinaw Lake, but Cybulski says there are people who use it for parking, both for boats and for vehicles.

Other councillors pointed out once again how making investments at Tappins Bay would lead residents on other lakes in the township to demand docks on their own lakes.

There are 33 residents sitting at Mackie Lake, for example, said Councillor Bud Clayton, How are they going to respond if we spend 5 cents on a dock at Mazinaw Lake?

A policy on docks and a strategic plan for the future should be part of a multi-year capital management plan for the township, said Mayor Ron Maguire. Council came to the conclusion that staff should determine what needs to be done to the docks it owns in order to maintain insurability. At the same time they decided to form a Task Force on Docks, which will consult with all those with an interest in public docks within the township. The Task Force is to report back by the end of summer. Fred Perry, attending his third meeting as a Councillor, will be getting his feet wet as a Councillor by chairing the task force.

Ompah Fire Station receives gift John Hawe, the deputy fire chief at the Ompah station, appeared before Council bringing a list of expenditures the Ompah crew would like to make with a gift of $36,000 that they have received from the disbanded Ompah Snowmobile Club. The crew would like to use the money to buy a fire boat and other equipment designed to improve their capacity to provide water and ice rescue services.

Since the Fire department is a department of the township, the township will own the equipment, and Hawe was seeking approval from Council before making the purchases.

Deputy Mayor Gleva Lemke said, This is a very generous gift to the township. We would never have been able to budget for this.

The purchase of a boat and ice rescue equipment caused some concern for Council, however, both because of potential training costs and liability. We have 21 people signed up to do ice rescue training, and Billy Young from Sharbot Lake has offered to do the training for minimal cost, John Hawe assured them.

Hawe was invited to attend a Fire and Emergency Services Committee meeting on July 14 to discuss the matters further. Council could approve the boat purchase at their July meeting, which is slated for July 21.

Ohlmanns Mountain - Councillor Bud Clayton has completed a questionnaire from the Ministry of Natural Resources concerning renaming Gorrs Mountain. Until 1968, the mountain had been named for the Ohlmann family, who were the original settlers on the mountain. Council decided to send the completed questionnaire in to the MNR, a further step in changing the name of the mountain back to Ohlmanns Mountain.

Dianna Bratina Frontenac County Economic Development Manager Dianna Bratina appeared before Council asking for approval of a plan to name her the contact person for an application for an underserved area designation for the County of Frontenac in terms of medical services. Following the lead of the townships to the South, Council approved the proposal.

While she was there, Bratina also informed Council that she had been made aware that a joint application from North Frontenac and Addington Highlands to the Provincial Green Enabling fund, which was prepared last September with the assistance of former County Economic Development Manager Karen Fisher, will likely come through in the near future. The application was for partial funding for a feasibility study into a small solid waste incineration system for the two townships.

Bratina offered to prepare a draft request for proposal document to hire a consulting firm to do the study. Council accepted the offer.

Where will the new Firehall be located? Council has set aside $125,000 in their 2005 budget for the construction of a new Fire Hall, but no decision has been made as to location. When they last discussed the issue, the possibility of keeping the Clar/Mil Firehall at the existing site was discussed, Mayor Maguire told the News.

A major problem with the existing site is a lack of water.

We need to do something about the water no matter what, said Maguire, because our township office is located there, so the public works staff will be looking at improving the existing well, or drilling a new one.

The idea that is being floated is to turn the existing Firehall space into administrative space, and put up a prefabricated Firehall somewhere else on the property.

A majority of Council seems to be in favour of keeping the Firehall on the same lot, said Maguire.

The proposal, favoured by Fire Chief Cor Bakelaar and other members of the now retired Firehall task force, was to use the former MNR site on Buckshot Lake road for a Firehall and training facility.

That proposal is not dead, said Maguire, but we are looking again at the existing site.

Maguire expects that $200,000 will be put into the 2006 budget for Firehall construction.

We all accept and agree that we have to do something. The status quo is unacceptable, Maguire concluded.

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