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Feature Article - April 12, 2007

Letters to the Editor

Re road complaints & other issues

In response a number of letters which have appeared in the News I would like to say that the Township of Central Frontenac is well aware that a number of items such as roads, public works buildings and operations, recycling, landfill management and more need a great deal of attention. For that reason your new mayor and council together with staff are working on a number of projects. Some solutions are short term and obvious to almost everyone such as the immediate need for a new public works manager, more gravel and a new fire hall. On those issues responsible actions are being taken. A search for a new manager is underway, gravel has been ordered and the Mountain Grove Fire Hall will be tendered.

On the issue of the fire hall I understand the taxpayers’ concerns about the costs. Everyone, including Chief Mark MacDonald and the Mountain Grove Volunteers, who also pay taxes, has had this discussion. Something that people may not be aware of is that on completion this hall is expected to serve the needs of our community for the next 30 plus years and the new hall coupled with facilities for outdoor training will allow Central Frontenac to generate some revenue hosting training for other municipalities.


To address a number of the other highly important but not as emergent issues, council has committed to an organizational review. Almost 10 years have passed since amalgamation. Times have changed. Legislation and expectations have too. It’s time we make plans for successful future.

To the staff, who are putting in long hours plowing snow (in April), grading roads and writing work plans, to councillors, who are attending trainings, meetings and public events, and to the many volunteers like the Legion and the Lions who give of themselves every day I say thank you. Your efforts are not unnoticed. Your community is changing for the better. Initiatives like Building Inclusive Communities and the Northern Rural Youth Initiative weren’t taking place this time last year.

It generally takes a little longer for those people not involved with the work to recognize the changes. Please rest assured they are happening. It will take time and patience but together we will get there.


Janet Gutowski

Mayor, Central Frontenac

Re: uranium inaccuracies

In his letter to the editor, April 12, 2007, Mr. Feasby is badly misinformed on almost every count. His letter states that, “Natural Resources Canada is not a mine regulator and has no role in uranium mine development.” Among other things, NRCan regulates the use of explosives and therefore all hard-rock mines; as the custodian of mining and energy policy it also establishes the federal government's priorities in these areas. The independent agency, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission does not regulate very carefully all aspects of uranium mining in Canada, as Mr. Feasby states. It used to be that cores or bulk samples containing more than 20 KG uranium would require a licence, but that requirement has been removed. It is true that, “Uranium deposits in Ontario, Bancroft and Elliot Lake, are all less than 0.1% (not 1%). Uranium metal is indeed heavy, but in nature it is present as a lighter oxide. Common chemicals are used to extract it from rock in a milling process. Most of the radioactivity remains with the residue - the tailings.”. However, it's still not "light". 85% of the radioactivity is left in the tailings. There is indeed a sad history of spills - tailings, water, etc. at Elliot Lake. Most radiation-related cancers, whether from environmental or workplace exposure, take 15-20 years to develop. Why does the town promote itself as a retirement haven? There is still considerable stockpiled uranium; there is liable to be a shortage only when (and if) many more reactors are actually built - and if they don't turn to reprocessed fuel. And they still have nowhere to put the high-level fuel waste.

Jamie Kneen Mining Watch Canada

Re: Ardoch Algonquins finalize building plans

I'm writing about the Pine Lake boat launch development by the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation. (AAFN nee AAFNA: Ardoch Algonquin First Nation and Allies) (ref: Frontenac News April 12 2007: Ardoch Algonquins finalise building plans and Kingston Whig-Standard April 11 2007: Building Controversy.) When this whole controversy started, I supported the idea of Powwow grounds. I even came around to the community centre idea. Now we hear that there will also be a senior centre!?

I just don’t understand why, with all of the beautiful Land o’ Lakes area to pick from, why choose a location that will endanger participants andtourists and possibly waste all that development money?

The launch is at the foot of a hill on Ardoch Road. I have lived on Brown's Lane, near the top of that hill, for only four years, but I've seen and experienced some close calls, because one cannot see the bottom of the hill from the top of the hill. Pedestrians will be at risk.

The launch is in an area that could flood. If the beaver dam at the other end of the lake broke, or if Al Gore's movie 'An Inconvenient Truth'has any truth in it, there's a good chance the Manomin Heritage Centre will suffer water damage. Why risk it? Why build on the lowest point of land? And why pick a small spit of land like that? To guarantee no growth? I can't help thinking there's more to this than what we are being told. We're promised an environmental assessment, with an opportunity for public input, but the well is already drilled. This tells me that the environmental assessment is already in the bag or they don't care about the results or they don't care about wasting hard-earned community development money.

Speaking only for myself, I fear for this beautiful dream. It is surrounded by shadow.

- Jo-Anne D'Aoust

Lions' ClubKudos to the local Lions’ Club for instituting their Vision Screening Program. We've know for a long time that many vision (and hearing) problems go undetected in young children. When I was a kid growing up in Toronto back in the late ’50s, hearing and vision tests were done regularly in the schools. In 1980, an article based on information from the Canadian Association of Optometrists estimated that 1 in 20 preschoolers (and 25% of children entering Grade 1) have visual problems interfering with their ability to learn. In April 1999, the Toronto Star carried a story about a screening program being instituted by the Toronto District School Board, based on statistics from one school that 1 in 4 children entering Senior Kindergarten had vision problems and 1 in 5 had hearing problems. The article noted that part of the problem stemmed from the cutbacks in public health nurses which had occurred 15 years earlier. Unfortunately, this came as no surprise to me.

When I was the psychologist with the local Catholic school board, I had concerns about the vision of some of the children being referred to me for learning problems. At that time, there was no vision (or hearing) screening occurring in the schools. Even when parents had concerns and took their children to their family doctor, it was usually only the Snellen chart (the one with letters that you look at with one eye covered) that was used. I did some research and discovered that the Snellen eye chart only screens for problems with distance vision. It turns out that, because of the ways our eyes focus on close objects compared to objects farther away, children can pass this test even though they have serious problems with near vision, necessary for desk and book tasks. As well, the Snellen only examines for monocular (one eye) vision problems but not for problems with inocular vision. In fact, based on studies going back into the 1940's, it was known that the Snellen test identifies perhaps only 50% of visual problems.

This is a serious problem, because it is estimated that 80% of school tasks are based on vision. As a result, optometrists were recommending vision screening for all children under age 3 years, as well as for any school-age children academically performing in the lower third of their class. In response to this information, in 1992 I wrote to the Medical Officer of Health at the public health unit in Kingston, expressing my concern about this state of affairs, and wondering if it would be possible to refer children for vision screening. In due time, his office requested the literature I had accumulated on this issue, and later returned it with no comment and no suggestions. As far as I know, public health still does not offer vision or hearing screening in the schools, although we've known for at least 30 years that a substantial proportion of children have serious problems in these areas.

So, while again I give full and heartfelt credit to the Lions’ Club for their comprehensive visual screening initiative, I am disappointed that this important task is only now being accomplished through volunteer effort.

In this regard, I say shame on the provincial government and shame on the public health unit for ignoring and neglecting this critical work decade after decade. Parents and teachers seeking more information can find many useful articles on the website of the Canadian Association of Optometrists (www.opto.ca).

- Stephen Dukoff, Ph.D., Psychologist

I really fell for the article about the pool. I was particularly pleased to read that Norm had agreed to defer the Mountain Grove firehall. I thought "We’re finally looking at the good of the whole, instead of the good of the parts". I called Philip Smith and he didn't know whatI was talking about. Then he asked if it was the April 1st issue. We both had a good laugh. Then in the next issue, we had the letter from Norm, which started out in such an irate manner; as I read on, I realized it was a spoof. I've lived in Central Frontenac for 20 years, which I realize, doesn't make me a native, and the one thing I've learned is that the citizens are warm and friendly and share a very nice sense of humor.

Our roads do leave much to be desired; as I write this, I'm trapped. The Frontenac Road is not safe to drive--we have had snow and now it's raining, and it has not been plowed. They did try but the plow went off the road trying to get to us.

I have .8km of private road, upon which are living year-round taxpayers as well as several summer residents. I am responsible for the upkeep of this road.Last week, the potholes could bury you - we graded and filled and yesterday they were lovely. Guess what they will be like tomorrow?

I guess my message is: lighten up everyone. I don't like feeling trapped (I'm officially an elderly person and live alone) but all those other good things about living here make up fortimes like today.

- Marg Purtell

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