| Oct 18, 2007

Feature Article - October 18, 2007 Feature Article - October 18, 2007

Proposed Boat Launch Sparks Lively Debateby Wilma Kenny

An apparently simple proposal to construct a public boat launch on Bob’s Lake adjacent to Buck Creek bridge revealed strong differences of opinion. Councillor Hahn opened the discussion by saying that this project was supported by the Bedford Recreation Committee, which had set aside funding for it two years ago.

The township already owned an access point to the lake which would not be as steep as the private launch site presently in use. The primary purpose of the proposal was to give cottagers on the lakes safe access, and save each cottage having to build its own launch site. Hahn questioned whether a council vote was anything other than a courtesy, as the recreation committees are not amalgamated, and each has its own budget.

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Deputy Mayor Stowe then said he had been approached by some lake residents who had concerns about a public boat launch, and asked that a decision be postponed until all sides of the issue could be heard. Councillors Robinson and York agreed, adding that this was a poor time of year to get feed-back, as most of the summer cottagers had left .

Taro Alps, speaking on behalf of the Bob’s and Crow Lake Association, listed a number of concerns, many around the likelihood of increased public use of the lake if access were improved: parking, over fishing, the need for monitoring and maintenance of the site, fear of an escalation of cottage break-ins, etc. He concluded by saying the lake association was opposed to the launch site, and was disappointed that they had not been included in the recreation committee’s planning.

Resident Randy McCullough who lives beside the proposed site, and who presently has a boat launch site on his property, gave an impassioned plea for development. He had measured out space for 18 trucks and trailers, and disputed the Lake Association’s claim that the area was prone to accidents. He detailed several years of planning that had gone into the project, and added that the fees for using private launch sites on the lake make the use of the lakes very expensive for local residents who do not own cottages.

Former Councillor Jack Barr attacked the two Bedford council representatives for "trying to push this through" by using Bedford’s recreation surplus "windfall," before the township’s recreation committees become amalgamated.

Council voted to defer a decision until next spring, when the summer residents will be back. Meanwhile, signs will be posted on the site of the proposed boat launch, to inform the public of its location.

Fire Department Realizes Benefits of AmalgamationIn an apparently win-win situation, the township has decided to enter into an agreement with Leavitt Safety Supply equipment to purchase a hydrostatic testing machine for $27,000 using township reserve funds. Leavitt uses this machine to test air cylinders and fire extinguishers. (Presently this essential service is costing the township $60. per bottle and down time, as the bottles have to be shipped away for servicing.) Under the new arrangement, Leavitt will sign a three-year contract to rent space in the Storrington firehall for $800 per month, agree to service all township equipment at no cost, and pay the township 35% of all business generated. In addition, Leavitt will hire two part-time firefighters. The rental fees will pay for the machine in three years, and the machine is expected to be a source of ongoing revenue for the township.

Blue Box RebateThe township received its second 2007 quarterly payment from Waste Diversion Ontario of $23,265. These payments are industry’s share of the net costs of the residential Blue Box program, and reflect the degree to which residents recycle household waste.

Outdoor Wood Burning FurnacesCouncil plans to discuss some of the concerns and complaints about the effects of these furnaces on air quality at a committee of the whole meeting.

Garbage TagsCAO Burns reported that local real estate lawyers had been informed that garbage bag tags should be considered part of a real estate transaction, just as fuel tank contents are.

Should Sydenham Sell Water?Councillor Vandewal asked whether it might be feasible to try to recover some operating costs by selling water from the Sydenham water treatment system: CAO gord Burns agreed to get information for further discussion, noting that a meter for water sales would cost at least $8,000.

Trailers Out by 2010Vandewal noted that it is important to remind residents that all trailers will have to be removed from the township by 2010. Information will be included in the township newsletter.

Mitchell Creek FootbridgeMitchell Creek area residents have expressed disappointment that they were not informed ahead of time that there would not be a temporary footbridge across the creek during bridge construction. (Regulations demanded a footbridge that would have cost $30,000-$40,000, putting it out of reach of the project.)

Public MeetingA public meeting has been called for Wednesday October 24, 7-9pm at the township hall, Sydenham, regarding the proposed Household Hazardous Waste site at the Keeley Road yard.

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