| Jan 13, 2005


Feature Article January 20, 2005

Feature article January 20, 2005

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MNR refurbishing plans make NF Deputy Mayor nervous

The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources is proposing to make some changes to the five dams they own in the Township of North Frontenac. Deputy Mayor Gleva Lemke received copies of the in-depth proposals in the last two weeks, and the Ministry is requesting approval for their plans from the township by February 8.

Lemke, who has been the townships representative to the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority for several years, expressed surprise that she had not heard about these proposals earlier.

Im not trying to cry wolf here, she told Council last week, but I have some questions about these proposals and they (the MNR) may have answers. I think we need to hear those answers.

Of particular concern are the proposed changes to the dam on Palmerston Lake. It is proposed that the dual-purpose structure, both dam and bridge, be changed and moved further up the Bay, a project that will take 8 to 12 weeks to complete.

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Lemke pointed out that there is a fish hatchery at that location operated by the Palmerston-Canonto Conservation Association. It is very close to an identified Area of Natural and Scientific Interest (ANSI), and the bridge provides the only access to a large number of cottages on the lake.

Each of the proposed dams had their own implications. I would like to make a chart and identify my concerns before the next Council meeting, Gleva Lemke offered, and I think we should invite Bob Walroth or someone else from the Bancroft MNR office to that meeting to explain the proposals.

Subsequent to the Council meeting, the News contacted Jim Bertulli of the firm of Cummings Cockburn, a consulting form that was hired by the MNR to look at six dams, including the five in North Frontenac, with what he called a view towards reducing maintenance costs and making the dams more effective.

In the case of the dam at Palmerston Lake, for example, Bertulli said the existing dam will be maintained as a bridge, and plans are to add a pedestrian lane of the bridge once the dam structures are removed. The new dam will maintain the same water levels as before, as is required for the fish hatchery, but will be less expensive to maintain, he said. He also said the bridge will not be closed during the construction period.

Bertulli also confirmed that he would be attending the Council meeting on January 27 along with a representative of the Ministry of Natural Resources.

There will be further opportunity for public comment after the February 8 deadline, according to the documentation Lemke has received from the MNR, and the work on the dams is expected to be done over a period of five years or more.

Council agreed with Deputy Mayor Lemkes suggestions and a presentation about the dams will be considered at their meeting on January 27 at 9:30 am.

Grants for septage, signage.

Back in early September, on the day of a power failure, North Frontenac Councilors Will Cybulski, Betty Hunter, and Dick Hook huddled by a window in the township board room and filled in several applications for funding from the Frontenac Community Futures Development Corporation (CFDC).

They were rushing to meet the September 10 deadline for Eastern Ontario Economic Renewal Fund applications. Then, everyone waited and waited until the Federal Department of Industry finally got around to officially announcing the program in October. Finally in early January, applicants been slowly learning whether they are to receive grants.

At their meeting last Thursday, North Frontenac Council formally accepted letters of offer from the CFDC for a $8,100 grant to purchase prefabricated signs for three of their Community Halls which will be used to advertise events. The township will erect and maintain the signs, which will be located at the Barrie Hall, the Clar-Mill, Community Centre, and the Ompah Hall. Council is hoping to be able to put similar signs up at the other halls in the township at a later date.

The second grant is for up to $10,000 towards a feasibility study into the establishment of a sewage treatment plant to serve North Frontenac and Addington Highlands. New government regulations are coming into effect in the next couple of years that will make the practice of spreading septage on fields no longer acceptable. Rather than have residents facing huge increases in the cost of having their septics pumped out as a result, North Frontenac and Addington Highlands will be looking into establishing a sewage treatment system that meets provincial standards.

Draft Budget Mayor Maguire has been stressing the need for early budgeting, and had been hoping to have a draft budget for 2005 in place by the end of 2004. That date has now been pushed back to February 8.

Committee restructuring Since the municipal election in 2003, North Frontenac Council has been continually working on their committee system. At first, 16 committees were formed, and this proved unworkable. They were then compacted last fall into 4 sub-committees and a Committee of the Whole. A proposal has been put forward to eliminate the committee system altogether, and replace Committee of the Whole Meetings with special council meetings, as required, on the first or third Thursday of the month (regular council meetings take place on the second and fourth Thursday of the month). Rather than standing committees, task forces, with limited or unlimited life spans, are proposed.

Councilors found the new proposals rather overwhelming, so the first special Council meeting has been scheduled for January 20 at 9 am to consider this new township governance proposal.

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