| Aug 09, 2007


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Feature Article - August 9, 2007

Transportation the only source of debate at quiet county meeting

by Jeff Green

Frontenac County Council held their only meeting of the summer last week, and aside from receiving a few reports, they had little to discuss.

Approval was given in short order to award a tender for a $135,000 roof repair to the Fairmount Home.

However, the terms of reference for a transportation study did give the councillors an opportunity to disagree.

A Request for Proposal for the $10,000 business plan, using funds that were held back from a one-time only grant to the Rural Routes Transportation Service, included wording that Central Frontenac Mayor Janet Gutowski feared would limit the study.

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The business plan will be limited to a transportation service “in the county to help those truly in need of getting to essential services or appointments for employment or health-related reasons,” according to the staff recommendation.

Gutowski said she favoured an amendment that would add accessing food, child care and youth services.

“We need to decide how deeply we want to get into this,” said South Frontenac Mayor Gary Davison, “I’m concerned about the potential cost to taxpayers.”

Janet Gutowski replied that limiting the service too much would make it less viable, “because of economies of scale and things like that.”

Deputy Warden Jim Vanden Hoek, who was chairing the meeting in the absence of Warden Ron Maguire from North Frontenac, asked if the request for proposal could be delayed until September when all four councillors would be in attendance.

“That would make it difficult to have the business plan completed this year,” said County CAO Elizabeth Fulton.

She then suggested that Mayor Gutowski’s concerns could be accommodated within the framework that staff had already developed.

“Accessing food could be considered an essential service, and child care can be seen as related to employment,” she said.

“If the minutes point to that out as direction to the staff, would that be enough for you?” VandenHoek asked Janet Gutowski.

She agreed.

The reluctance to enter into transportation services that has been expressed by Mayor Davison on this occasion, and Mayor Van denHoek earlier this year, contrasts with the attitude taken by Lanark County Council. In Lanark County a transportation program has been receiving municipal funding for several years, and a study has been commissioned to look into expanding the program into a full blown regional public transit system, that could be up and running as early as this fall.

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