| Mar 09, 2006

Feature Article - March 9, 2006

Feature Article

March 9, 2006

Letters to the Editor


True cost of country lifeHaving moved to Verona from Kingston over 3 years ago, I was well warned as to the real cost of life in the country. Friends were skeptical and asked why. Being a big city boy from Glasgow , Scotland , life in the country has been a breath of fresh air to say the least. But the cost? I just found out! As a result of the recent power outage, my fiancee and I were aghast to find we had no water once the power came back. Visions of the well having to be dug up etc., caused palpitations but I was fortunate enough to ask advice from our local realtor Bob Bertrim (who sold me the house) He couldn’t help personally and gave me the numbers of two local plumbers, but his best piece of advice was, ”Ask Andrew” (at our local hardware store in Verona) His confidence about Andrew was very apparent so off I went.On entering the store, Andrew was in the process of assembling a water pump just like mine. I then knew I wasn’t the only one with a problem. On asking his advice, he told me simply. Find the plug on the pump and pour water in to prime it. Home I went but couldn’t find the plug. Three digital camera pictures later off the hardware store again. Another employee looked at the pictures and pointed out the exact plug. Home again. Third visit to the hardware store was to find out how much water I needed to pour to fill the vacuum. The second, and a third employee were very considerate and helpful and put me straight.An hour later, running water we had. I had “fixed it” myself (courtesy of Verona Hardware) so now we could shower, have tea and use the facilities again and the total cost was….ZERO dollars.

The true price of having a local, helpful hardware store close by. Thanks guys and also to our good neighbors, Jerry and Christine, who supplied us with jugs and jugs of water during our crisis.

- Gordon McGaw

Re: new Walleye regulations (Feb 23, 2005).I am interested and would support any change that would ensure the pleasures of fishing are here tomorrow for my children and myself. However, I am quite concerned when reviewing the posted changes that interests either haven't been thought out clearly or are not really focused on improving the fish population, but rather management demands and costs.

Streamlining the zones so that regulations are no longer on a lake-by-lake basis seems to make no sense when you talk about protecting species. In order to protect the lakes low in a certain species you would have to place the same restrictions on all the lakes in the new zone. So what happens then when a lake with an abundance of that species over takes the lake and other species disappear, or worse the lake becomes dead since the food supply runs out from over population? I have seen fantastic fishing lakes change in one year to a dead lake from something such as a tornado overturning the vegetation, leaving the fish to starve.

MNR states that this would help control anglers moving from a tougher regulated lake causing distress on other lakes. Isn't that exactly what the regulations are there for, to take the stress off an under populated lake and direct it to the lakes that are capable of sustaining the demands?

The "Ecological Framework Summary" posted on the web talks about the old system having complex regulations, unclear boundaries and cost, cost, cost! It does not go into any real detail how this change will improve our fishing resources. They propose that improvements can be better accomplished if we focus on the entire zone rather than on individual lakes. Well, I'd say that's like me saying my cars brakes are on their way out but over all condition is good. Down the road I'll need those brakes and when they fail I won't have a car at all!

The summary even argues its own basis, saying "the Division wide regulations were not adequate to control exploitation on all lakes", yet the plan here is to combine the divisions into larger zones with zone wide regulations.

The method of a lake-by-lake regulation is the right way to protect our fishing future. Amalgamation is not the answer to everything!

- Rob Deruchie

Re:NorthFrontenac CouncilReport(February 2, 2006)

Concerning coverage of the North Frontenac Council meeting (Frontenac News, Feb. 2, 2006), I am emailing you on behalf of the Mazinaw Property Owners Association. Our goal is to improve the Mazinaw environment and to keep our members fully informed on environmental and other issues of interest. We have over 200 members. According to the article if Council maintains the 2005 tax rate in 2006, spending will increase by $685,000.In the last five years spending has increased dramatically.The Board of the Mazinaw Property Owners Association met on February 11 to review your article. In September we made four recommendations we made to the North Frontenac Council:

1. Complete by December 15 an operational review of all cost centres with particular attention to roads and administration: a summary to be provided and North Frontenac to incorporate best practices and new efficiencies in the 2006 budget. Based on our review we believe savings can be made in administration and roads, as both these cost centres appear quite high. 2. Produce a written multi-year capital plan including equipment priorities and defensible capital improvements consistent with area needs and affordability. Significant dollars are being spent on roads and equipment with operating cost implications without the benefit of an area-wide plan. Council with the urging of the Mayor is working through the eventual implementation of this recommendation. 3. Implement a 2006 "flatlining" strategy for all departments except for Roads and Administration where reductions are to occur. It appears North Frontenac has used the new property assessment program as an opportunity to greatly expand tax revenues, resulting in waterfront taxpayers providing substantially more revenues than non-waterfront residents, even though we use far fewer services. We feel all residents should be more aware of spending levels and that Council give ratepayers greater opportunities to have input into the development of budget priorities. 4. Develop a written reserve fund policy; unassigned reserves should have first call on new capital priorities rather than continuing to increase taxes year after year. Are residents aware that capital reserves in 2005 totalled almost $2 million? Unassigned reserves exceed $500,000. Road reserves are $1 million. We believe unassigned reserves should be used first for necessary capital priorities rather than to continue to tax residents for expanded needs year-after-year.

In December we got a thank-you from Council. We were hopeful all our recommendations would be addressed. Based on the article nothing has changed. Council may find a way to increase reserves yet again as well as administration and road repair costs, which is troubling since, based on a review of similar area municipalities, savings are available in these areas. In 2005 Central Frontenac reduced taxes while North Frontenac increased taxes.With new property assessments bringing in new monies and with additional funds assured from the Community Reinvestment Fund, why can't North Frontenac consider cost reductions and ultimately tax reductions? Hopefully, the Frontenac News will continue coverage of this issue impacting all residents as the 2006 Budget is developed. - Doug Piercey, Mazinaw Property Owners Association

Support local
independant journalism by becoming a patron of the Frontenac News.