| Nov 16, 2006

Feature Article - November 16, 2006

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Feature Article - November 16, 2006

Nothing underhanded about heliport, Maguire says

by Jeff Green

At the final North Frontenac Council meeting before this week’s election results were announced, Mayor Ron Maguire took the opportunity to report to council about what he called “controversy over the Ompah helipad”, a matter which could not ultimately be dealt with in open council session.

The controversy stems from the possibility that the helipad might be taken out of service, and the township might enter into an agreement to use the Tomvale Airport on Road 506 as a helicopter landing site for emergency services, some 20 km. from Ompah.

As Maguire pointed out, members of the Emergency First Response team at Ompah put in many volunteer hours to build the helipad years ago and are alarmed about the possibility this service will no longer be available at Ompah.


The problem arose, Maguire explained, because visibility at the site is compromised by some tall trees on a neighbouring piece of land. This has led helicopter pilots to refuse to land at the site at night on a few occasions because they could not see all of the reflective markings at the pad. Some were blocked by leaves from the trees.

The township has been unable to negotiate an arrangement with the adjacent landowner, who owns the trees, and thus has been negotiating with the operators of the Tomvale airport for a permanent solution.

“There was never anything sinister on the part of the township. It is simply a matter of air ambulance pilots no being able to land there (at Ompah),” said Maguire in summing up the situation

The issue is expected to be the subject of a public meeting at Ompah sometime this week.

What’s black and white and pretty near impassable? Nellie Hobbs , a waterfront resident from Barrie ward, addressed council concerning the state of repair of Blacks and Whites Road . Hobbs said that the roads are sand covered and flood periodically, making them very difficult to use. She noted that $10,000 had been set aside each year for the past two years for repairs to the roads, but little had been done concerning the condition of the surface.

“The road itself is nothing but sand, with exposed rock in places,” Hobbs said.

Cheryl Robson, the township CAO/treasurer, speaking on behalf of Public Works Manager John Ibey, outlined the road construction expenditures on the road over the past two years. The work that has been done has been mainly blasting and ditching work at the side of the road, and the surface of the road has not received significant attention. Hobbs asked that this aspect of the situation be addressed.

“Could you give me an idea what’s going to happen?” Hobbs wanted to know.

Repairs to Clar/Mill Hall The public works department issued a report containing a request for council’s approval to complete $14,000 worth of repairs to the Clar/Mill Hall. The work, which is to be done this month, includes the removal of an existing concrete slab at the entrance to the building in order to correct a drainage problem. The slab is sloped towards the building and water runs off of it under the building.

The proposed work includes replacing the slab with one that slopes away from the building.

The report also talks about what might be found once the slab is removed. Under the heading “Repair damage to foundation”, the report says, “unknown until the slab is removed, but the foundation and/or timbers will need to be repaired before the slab is built.”

This, along with the nearness of winter, led some councillors to question if removing the slab at this time will not lead to unexpected complications, but the recommendation of the public works department was accepted. The project is being funded out of Ward 2 Special Parks reserve funds.

No humbug from NF Council In contrast to their neighbours to the west, North Frontenac is supporting the Santa Claus parades in Ompah/Plevna and the parade in Kaladar with $200 donations.

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