| Nov 15, 2007

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Feature Article - November 15, 2007

North Frontenac Council - Nov. 8by Jeff Green

Mouldy Books to Be Removed from Plevna Library

North Frontenac Council thought they could read between the lines when they received a letter from Claudette Richardson, Chair of Board of the Kingston Frontenac Public Library, informing them that the library would temporarily removing its collection from the Plevna site.

“Once they take all the books out, I doubt if they plan on ever bringing them back,” said Councilor Wayne Good.

The decision to remove the materials comes after the branch has been closed for 10 months because of a mould problem in the Clarendon and Miller Hall, where the branch is located.

Injunction _served

“The Plevna branch has been closed since January 2007 and it appears the required building maintenance has not occurred. Exposure to mould and dampness continues to undermine the condition of this portion of the library collection as well as pose a significant health risk to our staff,” Richardson's letter goes on to say.

“I just saw that letter, saying we have not done any remedial work. We have an engineering study saying the library is safe, and yet the library board says we have not taken any remedial measures,” said North Frontenac Mayor Ron Maguire at council. “Quite frankly when I looked at the letter I was shocked.”

“Perhaps [NF Recreation Manager] Cory Klatt and I should have a meeting with the library staff, where we can sit down with all of the reports and go over them,” suggested Township Chief Administrative Officer Cheryl Robson.

Mould problems at the Clar/Mill Hall surfaced at the beginning of this year, leading the township to do some remediation in the basement of the hall. However, the library board has not re-opened the Plevna branch, because of lingering mould problems in the branch itself. Since July the township and library staff have not been able to communicate about what must be done before the branch can re-open.

When contacted by the News this week, Library CEO Deborah Defoe confirmed that, “The mould problem in the Plevna branch persists. Library staff did a site visit within the last two weeks, and observed mould growing up the walls. Some of the books in the children’s section are certainly beyond repair. We’ve contracted Service Master to remove the books, dispose of the ones that are beyond repair, and treat the others. We wanted to inform the township that this was happening so people would not be surprised when they see a van coming up and taking the books.”

Rural Librarian Pam Harris has taken pains to reassure the township that the library board remains interested in re-opening a branch in Plevna.

In an email to the township, she wrote “Once, [the Plevna branch] is certified as clear and safe, we would be delighted to move back in and have staff and public in the building. Meanwhile, in the interests of protecting our collections and resources, all of our library materials will be moved out, some of it will be ‘deep cleaned’ and relocated or returned to Plevna, with the remainder of the materials being disposed of … we want to hear the options andlearn what the plans and future are for this building.”

The future of the Clar/Mill Hall itself will be dealt with as part of a review of township facilities that is currently underway, but at last week’s meeting, councilors were saying that it could take six months or a year for a comprehensive strategy to emerge.

The Ompah branch will continue to have extended hours until the Plevna branch can find a new home.

COMRIF 4 – Mississippi bridge again?

A fourth round of the COMRIF (Canada Ontario Rural Infrastructure Investment Fund) has been announced and was discussed briefly at North Frontenac Council. The township is one of the few in the region to have not received funding in any of the first three rounds, when they applied for help to expand the Mississippi Bridge to two lanes.

One of the suspected reasons that the bridge has not received funding the past is the fact that the bridge is in good repair and traffic counts may not be sufficient in the minds of funders to justify an expansion.

“We should have a higher count now, with all the OPP cars passing back and forth,” said Councilor Fred Perry, referring to the police presence since late June on Highway 509 in response to the occupation of the Robertsville mine.

Robertsville – Councilor Lonnie Watkins asked if there has been any response to the notices that were sent out to the leadership of the Ardoch Algonqiun First Nation concerning the buildings and trailer that are located on the road allowance on the side of Road 509.

“I have received nothing and [bylaw officer] Ken Gilpin has received nothing,” said CAO Cheryl Robson.

“There aren't many people there, just a mess. It looks like hell. We should get them out of there,” said Councilor Bob Olmstead.

“We have received a letter from our lawyers. It says we've done due diligence,” said Councilor Wayne Good.

“I don't see that we have anything to gain by forcing the issue, especially since we've covered ourselves. There's nothing to be gained by forcing the issue. If they've got a mediation process going, it doesn't make any sense for us to jump into that,” said Mayor Ron Maguire.

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