| Nov 30, 2006


Feature Article - November 30, 2006

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Feature Article - November 30, 2006

Letters to the Editor

To all taxpayers:

It has been more than 30 years since there has been an increase in the number of ambulances on the roads of Kingston and Frontenac County . After pressures by the government, hospitals, local union and the paramedics that actually do the job, Frontenac County Paramedic Service is finally coming close to meeting the needs of the sick, ill and injured in this area. With tax increases by Frontenac County itself and the City of Kingston over the last few years, the ability to provide more service is being achieved. Kingston and the surrounding area is also one of the few jurisdictions in the province to receive Advanced Care in the paramedic field. As a taxpayer, I have accepted the tax increases knowing that if I require an ambulance I will be getting the highest level of pre-hospital care in the province of Ontario and this should reassure all taxpayers that their hard-earned money is being put to good use.

This all sounds good but there is a glitch to the system: The counties to the west and east of us, Lennox and Addington and Leeds and Grenville are also benefiting from your tax dollars. It seems Frontenac County has agreed to cover part of each of the other two counties at the expense of the Frontenac County city taxpayers. Twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, Frontenac paramedics respond to all calls in Lennox and Addington County’s area covering Amherstview, Millhaven, Bath, Odessa and north of Odessa while their own county ambulances sit at base saving money. This is not a once-a-week occurrence but occurs 2-4 times a day. In order to save money, Leeds and Grenville County will no longer provide coverage for their own services after midnight and will call on Frontenac County to cover Gananoque when their vehicle is out on a call normally covered by their own county vehicle in Elgin . The ambulance system is supposed to be seamless, meaning that if one county is too busy to respond to calls in their area, the next county will respond to help cover the area. Unfortunately this is not the situation: While their vehicles sit at base, Frontenac County is responding to calls compromising their own taxpayers while the other counties save money at your expense. Not only are you paying for it, but now there is the possibility of not getting an ambulance in an emergency for a long period of time. Frontenac County is now willing to risk its own taxpayers to benefit another county.

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It seems Frontenac County is going on the premise “What you don’t know, won’t hurt you”, but in this case, it will!

As paramedics we know that in order to provide the best possible care and outcome to our community, we need to get to the patient as expeditiously as possible. This is no longer possible if we are not even in the same county. Call Mayor Rosen and city councillors, call your Frontenac mayors and voice your concern. It’s your life they’re playing with.

- Terry Baker, OPSEU Local 462 PresidentParamedics and Dispatchers Frontenac County

FEWRclosing I was dismayed to read the article by Jeff Green in your November 9 issue, "FEWR to retrench, close doors."

This is very disappointing, not only for the people who have worked so hard to establish the Frontenac Electronic Waste Recovery but for those of us who were relieved to find a way to recycle our old computer systems. I took a number of systems up to them over the past few years, including donations from friends and co-workers who also felt better knowing that their outdated but still useful machines would be reused in the schools here in Ontario or elsewhere around the globe. I was incredibly impressed by what this dedicated group of volunteers had accomplished. Now, however, this stuff will have to end up as landfill, with toxic materials leaching into the groundwater and otherwise rare metals going to waste among the potato peelings, ketchup bottles and worn out Nikes. This seems to be our culture's answer to everything.

Way back in 1961, John Steinbeck, in his wonderful book Travels with Charley, observed: "American cities are like badger holes, ringed with trash--all of them--surrounded by piles of wrecked and rusting automobiles, and almost smothered with rubbish...The mountains of things we throw away are much greater than the things we use. In this, if in no other way, we can see the wild and reckless exuberance of our production, and waste seems to be the index." Sadly, these comments from almost 50 years ago could easily apply to our country today. Our politicians, whom we elect to make the tough decisions, seem content to sit on their hands, garner their salaries and pensions, and pass on the problems to our kids. Shame on them all for their conspicuous lack of leadership, and for permitting the award-winning FEWR program to wither on the vine. And shame on us for not caring enough to demand better.

- Stephen Dukoff

Re: E-Waste Centre closing

I am writing with regard to the letter titled “E-Waste Centre Closing” which appeared in the November 16 edition of the Frontenac News. It is important that your readers should be aware that the Ontario Government has supported, and will continue to support, the recycling of electronic waste in the province of Ontario . Through the Computers for Schools program, our government has collected and refurbished over 6,000 computers and donated them for use by Ontario students, who use them to learn essential skills for succeeding in today’s information economy. At the same time, more than 53 tonnes of potential electronic waste has been diverted from landfills. On the other hand, it is important to note that the Frontenac Electronic Waste Recovery Centre received the major portion of its funding from the Government of Canada. This worthy initiative has been supported by federal organizations including Human Resources Development Canada, Industry Canada and the Frontenac Community Futures Development Corporation, all of which are agencies of the Government of Canada. I was surprised, therefore, that the writer would address his letter to me, rather than to Scott Reid, his federal Member of Parliament. Diverting harmful waste from landfills while providing learning opportunities for students is a win-win. I urge the Government of Canada to reconsider its decision to discontinue funding of the Frontenac Electronic Waste Recovery Centre, and I would encourage others who feel the same way to share their concerns with M.P. Scott Reid. Sincerely, Leona Dombrowsky, MPP

Letter to the Editor:

A copy of the letter circulated electronically by Mr. Terry Baker has come to our attention. It was addressed to all taxpayers and mentions not only the Frontenac Paramedic Services but also referred to the Emergency Medical Services provided to the west of Frontenac by the County of Lennox and Addington, and to the east by the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville.

Ambulance services are provided by our paramedics across the geographic area identified by Mr. Baker on the basis of the closest available team. The nearest available paramedics are assigned. That means the people of our communities can be assured that an ambulance will come to their assistance as quickly as possible. Geographic boundaries, that mean nothing in an emergency, are not taken into account. We are all committed to ensuring that when our residents or visitors to our areas are in need, help comes from the closest available resource.

Residents from the east end of Kingston may have an ambulance from Gananoque come to their assistance. Someone in Amherstview may have an ambulance called to them from Kingston . When an ambulance from Brockville is leaving Kingston General Hospital to return to its home base, it may be sent to downtown Kingston , because it is the closest available resource to an emergency call. A Frontenac ambulance may take a sick child to the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa and then be directed to respond to a call for help at the St. Laurent Shopping Centre. After moving a patient to St. Michael's hospital in Toronto , a Lennox and Addington or Leeds and Grenville ambulance may be directed to respond to a call on its way home in Whitby . That's the way the ambulance service in Ontario works.

We celebrate the level of cooperation that exists within the paramedic services across Ontario and the fact that artificial municipal boundaries are never an impediment to ensuring the quickest ambulance response possible. Seamlessly, our residents and visitors across Ontario can be assured that they and their loved ones will receive the best service we can provide. Don't be surprised if, one day, an ambulance arrives at your doorstep from as far away as Toronto or Ottawa - it simply means they were in our area and happened to be the closest available team of paramedics.

Cooperation is the key. No matter where you are, we are committed to responding as quickly as possible. You can count on it.

In service to our communities,

Tom Bedford, Manager of Emergency

Services, County of Lennox & Addington

Paul Charbonneau, Director of Emergency &

Transportation Services, Chief of Paramedic Services, County of Frontenac

Dan Chevrier, EMS Divisional Manager

United Counties of Leeds & Grenville

Central Frontenac Railway Museum

After six years of work, the Central Frontenac Railway Museum/Library Project is nearing its end. Despite the considerable effort which has gone into this endeavour, the apparently irresolvable site issue remains the chief impediment.

In the past while, a feasibility study has been completed which addressed the main issues concerning this project. Environmental concerns were looked into, preliminary plans were drawn up, building costs were estimated as well as ongoing subsequent maintenance costs, and the suggested relationship between the Board and Municipality was explored. However, with no site there can be no building.

As a registered charity, we have certain obligations to Revenue Canada and May 1, 2007, is the limit of our grace period. Accordingly, at that time, we will most likely have to deregister as a charity, suspend the corporation and dispose of the collection.

What this means to Central Frontenac is the loss of a high quality, irreplaceable collection of railway artifacts and memorabilia, as well as a $1,000,000 piece of infrastructure, which would provide the area with

1) a significant tourist attraction,

2) a modern spacious (app. 4300 sq. ft.) library facility,

3) sorely needed municipal space for offices and council chambers.

Our Board is effectively hamstrung by this problem, since it is not ours to resolve. No solution in the next short while, however, means the likely loss of a facility of considerable significance to the area.

The Central Frontenac Railway Committee

Mitchell Creek battle absurd

The battle between residents of South Frontenac Township and the Federal Ministry of Transport over Mitchell Creek Bridge continues and is becoming more absurd.

First a brief history: The 70-year-old bridge over Mitchell Creek , about 15 kilometres north of Sydenham, needs to be repaired. Two years ago the township consulted the community. A plan to replace the bridge on the existing foundations was agreed upon. The engineers said it was feasible. All of the approvals were obtained, except from the Federal Ministry of Transport, which dragged its feet for months. Finally they said “NO, you need a bigger, more expensive bridge”. For the last two years the residents around Mitchell Creek , the Desert Lake Property Owners Association, Friends of Frontenac Provincial Park, the Kingston Field Naturalists and some local businesses have fought the federal government.

Why should township taxpayers have to pay the extra costs for a bridge over a four kilometre long creek that its residents do not want and is not needed? An environmental inventory found three species at risk living in the area of the bridge that would be threatened. Many people come to South Frontenac Township to canoe this creek into Frontenac Park ; why should this source of tourist revenue be threatened?

The latest position from the Ministry is that they are not imposing the bigger bridge; the township agreed to it. The township did this only after they were told they had no choice if they wanted to fix the bridge.

For two years we have been trying to obtain the regulation that says the bridge has to be raised. After two years of saying they would send it to us, the Minister’s office is now telling us to contact the Access to Information office if we want the guidelines. So, at best, it is guidelines, not regulations, which means the decision to raise the bridge, is discretionary. The Ministry has been hiding behind the myth of regulation to force the township to do something it does not want.

Making us go through the Access to Information Office to confirm this truth will delay our case for another year in which they will probably have forced the township to build the bigger bridge.

At best, this is an insensitive federal government downloading a bad decision onto a township without covering the cost. At worst, it is an out-of-date action to impose a 19th century economic development policy that will harm the environment, hurt the local economy and increase property taxes just to prove that the federal bureaucracy does not have to listen to local concerns. The fight is not over. The existence of the endangered species has further delayed the federal government’s final decision. If they insist upon raising the bridge, it will needlessly add more cost because they will have to protect these species. By simply replacing the bridge, as first planned, the effect on the ecosystem would be minimal and there would be no extra cost.

We encourage people who think that controlling costs and helping the environment are important to write to Transport Minister Mr. Cannon, in Ottawa , and tell him to listen to the residents of South Frontenac: Do not force a bigger bridge over Mitchell Creek .

- Ross Sutherland, for the Friends of Mitchell Creek .

Re: E-Waste Centre closing

It appears in the Thursday, November 23 issue of the Frontenac News that Leona Dombrowsky was rather “surprised” that the letter regarding my annoyance with the closing of the E-waste Centre was directed to her. I sent the letter to her as our current MPP. In fact, as she would have noted from my original e-mailed letter to her, a copy of the same letter was indeed sent to MP Scott Reid. The Frontenac News chose to select the salutation to Ms Dombrowsky in the copy printed in the paper. Having had communications with Ms Dombrowsky in the past, I have complete confidence in her ability to address issues of concern such as this, particularly in her role as former Minister of the Environment. As Ms Dombrowsky is well aware, the electronic waste recycling issue is one to which I am strongly committed, as are many other residents of this area. I don’t care who deals with this problem, but someone needs to deal with it now! As mentioned in my original article, it is time to quit fumbling the political football. We citizens are trying to address recycling and environmental issues to the best of our ability. We now demand strong support from all levels of government.

- Doug Boulter

Life in the Country

Having just returned from our two week honeymoon in Bonnie Scotland (Where it hardly rained, I kid you not… apparently the rain lived in Verona while we were gone), my wife and I would like to pass on our thanks to the Verona Post Office employees who made sure our trip of a lifetime was able to go ahead.

Knowing time was tight to receive my wife’s passport in our married name, I was pleased to pick up the passport on the Tuesday from our post office, albeit four days before we left. My smile must have spoken volumes when it arrived, but due to the diligence of Dianne at the post office, we had a lucky escape. On handing it over, she suggested I might want to double check the passport before I left as “they seem to have misspelt your wife’s name as ‘McGan’ not ‘McGaw’ on the envelope”. I thought “Surely not” and opened it immediately. Sure enough. The name on the passport was misspelt. Panic set in and I had to drive to Kingston to have it mailed back by priority post and had a harrowing few dayscalling the passport office to get it returned and yes, it arrived on the Friday. Frighteningly to say, if Dianne had not noticed this, it would have been too late and the honeymoon would have been ruined, so we both want to express our thanks and gratitude to the ladies of our “wee” post office who only smile when thanked because they were “only doing their job.” Yes, once again, life in the country is THE life.

Thanks again, ladies - Gordon and Kelly McGaw

Re: Leona Dombrowsky's letter in the November 23 issue of the Frontenac News.

If, as Dombrowsky asserts, the Ontario government is supporting the recycling of electronic waste in the province, why has it been leaving the funding of the FEWR up to the federal government?I think the provincial government has a greater stake in keeping this stuff out of the landfill in Frontenac County than does our federal parliament.

So, rather than play "hot potato" and suggest that citizens in her constituency petition her federal counterpart, perhaps she could step forward and shake the funding for this important initiative out of the provincial coffers.

- Stephen Dukoff

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