| Dec 21, 2006

Feature Article - November 30, 2006

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December 21st 2006

Pine Lake tops busy North Frontenac Council agendaby Jeff Green ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The proximity to Christmas did not stop the new North Frontenac Council from tackling a packed agenda at their December 14 meeting.


PineLake - Bill Heikkilla and Frank Derue from the Pine Lake Property Owners’ Association addressed council. Heikkilla posed questions to Mayor Ron Maguire in reference to the proposed working agreement between the township, the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR), and the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation (AAFNA) over a building project at the public boat launch at PineLake. Heikkilla asked if building permits will be required for the project, if Ron Maguire has made any unilateral commitments on behalf of council; if environmental assessments and the building code will be applied; and if the mayor will reaffirm his commitment to consulting with the Pine Lake Association. Maguire responded that the working agreement, which he had proposed, was based on the three parties deferring the issue of the ownership of the land. AAFNA would not be required to seek a land use permit from the MNR, or building permits from the township. Instead, they will agree, in writing, to honouring the building code, health unit requirements, and a type ‘A’ environmental assessment on the property.

“I took on the responsibility of drafting the agreement,” Maguire said, “and we have or will be seeking legal advice on the matter.” He added that before any agreement is signed it will come to council, and said that the township’s chief building officer has sent a letter to AAFNA, as has the public works manager, and the letters detail what is required of AAFNA to proceed in a way that ensures the development meets township standards.

Maguire pointed out that it is preferable to come to an acceptable agreement than otherwise. He said AAFNA has made it clear they intend to proceed and build a meeting hall, not a community centre, at the site, and if no agreement is reached, it will likely lead to a court case. “I have been involved in aboriginal issues for 35 years, and I can tell you that if the matter goes to court, it is by no means certain that the Crown will win.”

Bill Heikilla also inquired as to why Ron Maguire had not responded to three letters written to him by Pine Lake Association President David Rose in the past three months, or to a phone call in November.

Maguire responded that he had been preparing a response in early November, but the proximity to the November 13th election prompted him to delay. “After that, things have been happening and I didn’t want to respond until I knew where the matter stood,” Maguire told Heikilla. “I did respond to Mr. Rose’s phone call, but did not get through to him,” he added.

CLAR-MILL HALL DAMAGE In responding to an administration report concerning the accidental damage to the Clar-Mill Hall that resulted from attempts to repair a drainage problem, Councillor Wayne Cole said, “I have some issues regarding the whole procedure at the Clar-Mill Hall. I think at the very least a structural engineer should be brought in to look at the west wall, and the mould situation should be looked at in more detail.” Nonetheless, a motion authorising the necessary repairs was ultimately passed. Until the damage is repaired, the Plevna library will remain closed.

FIRE HALL DOORS Council received a report concerning another mishap, this one taking place at the new fire hall. Township employees were using a backhoe to move a fire cabinet weighing several hundred pounds, from the administrative office into the new fire hall. The cabinet was offloaded without incident, but as the backhoe was being backed out of the hall, the roll up door started to close and struck the boom which sticks up high on the backhoe. “These doors are set on an automatic timer and will close by themselves,” said the report, which was written by Fire Chief Steve Riddell.

The report went on to say that the cost and date of repair has not yet been determined because the door company had not returned a call from the fire chief.

Riddell also recommended that the automatic door be disabled so this kind of circumstance “will never happen again.”

Deputy Mayor Jim Beam said he does not like the idea of disabling a safety feature, saying that it might slow down fire crews as they leave the fire hall and head towards emergencies.

Two members of the fire crew were in the audience, and assured Council that all the fire trucks are equipped with electric door openers.

Riddell’s proposal was approved and the automatic door feature will be disabled.

OMPAH TRANSFER STATION - Good news for Ompah dump fans. The long-awaited Ompah transfer station will be opening in early January. The station will be open on Tuesdays between 10:00 and 2:00, and Saturdays between 12:00 and 4:00. Between May 15 and October 14th, Sunday hours of 4:00 until 8:00 will be added.

COMMITTEE APPOINTMENTS Mayor Maguire made the following committee appointments: Fire and Emergency Services Chair Fred Perry, members Bob Olmstead and Wayne Good; Personnel/Audit: Chair Fred Perry, members Wayne Good and Lonnie Watkins; Cemetery Task Force Chair Lonnie Watkins; Pine Meadow Nursing Home Board Rep. Wayne Cole; Community Policing Advisory Committee - Chair Ron Maguire, member Wayne Cole, (one community rep. to be appointed).

COST OF LIVING INCREASE Council considered a proposal to increase salaries for councillors, Committee of Adjustment members, and Township staff by 3%. Cost of Living increases over the past 9 years in North Frotnenac have ranged from a high of 5% in 1999, to a low of 2% between 2002 and 2004.

A survey of other municipalities in the region and cities within the province showed cost of living increases for 2007 ranging between 2.75% and 3.25%.

Deputy Mayor Jim Beam said he has “no problem with 3%, but I would first like to know where North Frontenac stands as far as salaries go as compared to similar-sized councils”.

Township Chief Administrative Officer/Treasurer Cheryl Robson said she did not have that information in hand. “We did do a study of that last year,” she said, “but I don’t have the information with me.”

A motion to approve the 3% increase passed, with Deputy Mayor Beam refraining from the vote.

MADD The fallout from recent publicity concerning the way the organisation Mothers Against Drunk Driving has been spending fundraising dollars was felt in North Frontenac. A proposal to purchase an ad in a MADD publication was turned down, with several councillors noting that they had read or heard that most of the money raised by MADD was invested in fundraising efforts rather than programming.

Upset of tree A letter was received from Margaret Axford of the Cloyne and District Historical Society concerning two maple trees which had been planted on the Cloyne Museum Grounds after the microburst of 2002. A contractor hired by the township to maintain the grounds last summer destroyed one tree and damaged a second one.

In response to the letter, council agreed to replace the tree, saying they will make sure that when the contract is set out for 2007 it is clear that care must be taken to avoid damaging the trees. Staff will also explore whether the 2006 contractor is willing to be held accountable for the damage.

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