| Oct 26, 2006


Feature Article - October 26, 2006

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Feature Article - October 26, 2006

Is amalgamation on the table in SouthFrontenac?

by JeffGreen

Gary Davison has placed amalgamation at the centre of his campaign to replace Bill Lake as mayor of South Frontenac. But even he says that any change in the way three key services - road maintenance, waste management, and recreation - are funded in South Frontenac is several years off, at least.

If Bill Lake is re-elected, it might be longer still.

“Go slow, do it right, don’t mess it up,” is what Bill Lake said to sum up his attitude towards amalgamating all of the services and assets in the township when interviewed on the topic this week.

“Other townships amalgamated completely nine years ago,” Davison countered, “and the world has not ended. Nobody has lost out.”

When South Frontenac was created, the four townships that were coming together brought different assets with them.

For example, in terms of dump site capacity, Portland township has a dump site with decades of life left in it, while Storrington was about to lose its dump entirely.

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The political arrangement made at the time was that each district would keep its key assets, roads, dumps, fire equipment, and recreational facilities, and the councillors from each district would make up a budget for their own district, while the council as a whole would make up a budget for shared services, such as downloaded roads, policing, etc.

With the exception of the fire service, which has now been amalgamated and is headed up by a full time fire chief, everything has basically remained the same after nine years.

This does not sit right with Gary Davison.

“There has been no talk on this at all for nine years,” he said. “What I’m saying is we need to do a review and we need to develop a strategic plan.

“One of the first things I would like to know is where we can-be, what our vision will be in 10 years. This is a long-term plan that will require public input every step of the way, and it will have to be done without creating winners and losers. But, at some point, we should stop making our staff mess around with five budgets.”

“Mr. Davison knows about parliamentary procedures,” Bill Lake responds. “He would surely know that he could make a resolution to discuss amalgamation. In three years on council it never came. Now, during an election, he wants to talk about it.”

(Bill Lake and Gary Davison will be participating in an all-candidates meeting tonight at the Verona Lions Hall, along with the six candidates for Portland Councillor and two candidates for school board trustee. The meeting starts at 7 pm. Watch for further coverage of the municipal election in next week’s Frontenac News, including profiles of the candidates in Bedford, Portland, and Loughborough districts)

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