| Sep 13, 2007


Feature Article - September 13, 2007

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Feature Article - September 13, 2007

Central Frontenac Councilby Jeff Green

Construction update and Sharbot Lake Ball-field

An update on the progress of a variety of construction projects in the township was presented to council. Many projects are proceeding as planned, but some are on hold because the price that came in from tendering was “considerably over budget” in the estimation of township staff. These include tenders for septic system replacements for the Olden Community Centre, and the Kennebec Community Centre, and a new rink pad for the Mountain Grove rink. Staff will be reassessing these projects and will then solicit new bids.

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Among projects that are under way, the company doing the renovations at the Sharbot Lake Medical Centre have found “structural deficiencies and mold” within the existing walls, which has resulted in extra costs. The project is essentially being funded through a leasing agreement with the Ministry of Health but it is unclear how cost overruns will be handled. The project is now four weeks behind schedule.

The Arden Road construction project has been completed. The road has not been brought up to current design standards, but a staff report concluded that this was never the intention of the project. The project “was seen as an improvement of the existing road base to meet the current condition of the remainder of this hard-topped road.”

Missing from the list of construction projects was the Sharbot Lake Ball field. Oso district Councillor Frances Smith asked about this, wondering why the existing bleachers at the ball field, which have been condemned, are still in place.

Acting Township CAO John DuChene said that staff had proposed purchasing removable bleachers in the spring, and council rejected that proposal. “The bleachers are still to be removed this year,” he said. There are no plans in place to put in new bleachers, however.

“As long as something happens to the ball field before the next ball season,” Frances Smith said.

“We were caught short this year, for a number of reasons, but there is no question we need to get that situation dealt with before the next ball season,” said Mayor Janet Gutowski.

Construction recovers from 2006 mini-slump

Township construction figures for 2007 are back to the heady levels of 2005, which was a record year. The number of permits for new homes stands at 35 for the first nine months of 2007, compared with 24 at the same point last year, and 36 at this point in 2005.

Total construction value has reached $7.3 million. Even if the $1.2 million medical centre project is excluded, the year-to-date total for 2007 is still $1.3 million higher than 2006, and is about par with 2005.

Councillor likes swim program report, wonders about OPP reports

Councillor Norm Guntensperger echoed the comments of other members of council in response to the final report about this summer’s swim program that was submitted by instructor Alaris Cronk. The report included a summary of this year’s results, and proposed some improvements for next year, including a possible canoeing program for next June.

But Guntensperger added a dig towards another contractor who works for the township, at a considerably higher cost than the swimming instructors. “If the swimming instructors can produce a report like this, maybe the OPP could as well,” he said.

Meetings not moving Councillor Philip Smith brought the idea of moving the monthly evening council meeting to other locations in the township, such as the Piccadilly or Kennebec Halls. All of the councilors expressed their views, some supporting the idea and some expressing doubts. In the end, Mayor Gutowski said “I don’t see a consensus on this, so I think we will leave it for now.”

Deputy Mayor Bill Snyder may be preparing a formal motion on the matter for discussion at a future meeting.

Outdoor BurningA discussion about a staff update concerning where council is on the outdoor burning debate moved quickly to the issue of enforcement.

Councillors Guntensperger and Matson, who are both long-serving volunteer firefighters in the township, said they have seen infractions to the existing burning bylaws in carrying out their firefighter duties, but that other than giving a warning, there is not much they can do because the bylaw officer is not available.

“If deputy fire chiefs could charge people, then we might have a better deterrent,” Matson said.

Laying charges could be expensive for the township, however. Councillor Frances Smith said that it can cost the township $1,500 or $2,000 in lawyers’ fees to bring these charges to court, and the judge then fines the person $50.

Mayor Gutowski said, “Education is a key. If people know what they can and cannot burn, they are more likely to burn safely.”

“It is really only paper and untreated wood that can be burned,” said Councillor Matson.

Outdoor burning will discussed by the Waste Management Committee and the fire departments.

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