| May 03, 2007

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Feature Article - May 3, 2007


by Wilma Kenny

Federal Response re Mitchell Creek Bridge

The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Transport, in a response to Mayor Davison’s letter of December 6, reconfirmed his ministry’s requirements for the project. Frequently referring to the Navigable Waters Protection Act (NWPA), he made the following points:

a) navigable water is defined as any body of water capable of being navigated by any type of floating vessel for the purposes of transportation, recreation or commerce;

b) because the present bridge is over 70 years old and not a lawful work under the NWPA, it is not a legally approved bridge, and therefore must be brought up to standard. Anything less would "compromise the safety of the boating public;"


c) approval has already been given for clearances below those stipulated by the Navigable Waters Protection Program, which states that minimum safe clearances for small, unpowered vessels should be 1.5 metres vertically and 3 metres horizontally. Because of its design, the Mitchell Creek bridge will be 1.5 metres vertically but only 2 metres horizontally.

d) COMRIF funding, which will provide 2/3 of the cost of the bridge building, requires full compliance with NWPA regulations.

Cannon’s letter also said that the environmental assessment, which examines potential impacts on local species such as adverse living conditions for Northern Map and Stinkpot turtles, has recommended specific (unspecified) mitigation measures and on-going monitoring. "Environment Canada has indicated that implementing mitigation measures is in fact expected to enhance the turtles’ existing habitat, which may in turn increase the local populations of these species," states the Honourable Lawrence Cannon.

Fortunately, two weeks ago the South Frontenac Environmental committee outlined their plans to order several ‘turtle crossing’ signs for the Township.

(see response from Mitchell Creek Association below)

Township Commissions Waste Management Study

Council agreed to adopt the recommendation of the Sustainability Committee that the Public Works Manager be asked to develop terms of reference for a township waste management study, to be carried out by the firm presently reviewing the landfill sites (Totten, Sims & Hubicki). All but Councilors Robinson and Hicks were in favour.

To Spray or Not to Spray?

Last fall, council passed a resolution asking Hydro One not to spray herbicide on township property. Mayor Davison suggested that they might wish to revisit that stand in view of the recent information brought to Committee of the Whole by Hydro One last week. Council agreed to discuss the issue at the next Committee of the Whole (May 8). Councillor Hahn reported that the required separation distance from an organic farm for the type of hand spraying done by Hydro is 8 metres. However, he expressed concern that there was no requirement to notify a farmer of any herbicide treatment on adjoining properties.

Food Down the Road

Kim Perry, chair of the Frontenac Farmers’ Market, and Andrew McCann of the National Farmers Union made a brief presentation about the local food movement, which is a part of the increasing interest in supporting local family farms. Kim Perry described the enthusiastic reception of the first three Feast of the Fields events, which have showcased local foods and farms. All have been sold out ahead of time. A recently published directory, "Eating Close to Home" lists farms which sell locally, and what they sell. The NFU is planning a local food summit this fall, and McCann invited councillors to come to the final of four "Food Down the Road" seminars on May 10, 7:30 pm at the Memorial Hall, Kingston City Hall, when Lori Stahlbrand and Wayne Roberts will discuss the structures that support local food development. Perry also reminded council of the Farmers Market every Saturday morning at the Verona Lions’ hall, a lively place to come for breakfast, sociability and an opportunity to buy directly from a variety of local producers. Both speakers asked council to support the local farmers by keeping in touch and staying informed.

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