| Mar 22, 2007

Feature Article - March 15, 2007

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Feature Article - March 15, 2007

Break, enter and theft unit credited with lowering incidents in South Frontenacby Jeff Green

In presenting a Policing for Results community survey and the 2007 business plan for the Frontenac Detachment to South Frontenac Council, Staff Sgt. Glenn Fowler brought news of the success the detachment has had in recent years in the number one commitment made under their plan: reducing the incidence of break and enters in the township.

“The incidence of break and enter committed in South Frontenac has declined in recent years,” Fowler said.

There were 134 break-ins in 2002, 183 in 2003, 136 in 2004, 83 in 2005, and 50 in 2006. “We have a dedicated B and E unit that aggressively pursues suspects and makes arrests as quickly as possible. This means that one or two thefts take place by a group that begins engaging in this activity, instead of 15 or 20,” Fowler told council.

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There are five other commitments in the detachment’s business plan. The second is to take action against drinking and driving or operating snowmobiles, ATVs or boats. Impaired driving charges have remained relatively constant in the township over the past five years. The third commitment is to enhance safe travel on Hwys. 15 and 401 through patrolling. The fourth is to portray a positive image to the public and the fifth is to enforce rules against speeding and aggressive driving on major roads in the township, such as Road 38, Battersea Road, and Perth Road. The sixth commitment is to advise victims of crime of the outcome of police investigation within 30 days of the crime taking place.

Sergeant Fowler said that the detachment tweaks its business plan each year, but most of the commitments are ongoing. Council seemed to like what Sgt. Fowler had to tell them, commending the Frontenac Detachment for their continuing efforts.

Water treatment plant report – Engineers from Utililties Kingston presented their first annual report on the quality of water being pumped out of the Sydenham Water treatment plant. While there have been so-called “background” issues related to the plant getting up and running, the report concluded that “water of good quality which is safe to drink was produced by the treatment plant during this reporting period.”

Spurned Dog Lake cottage owner to go to OMB – Ruth Dubin, who owns a small 558 sq. ft. cottage that has no plumbing or septic system and is about 25 feet from the high water mark on Dog Lake, has made a second application for approval to build a 350 sq. ft. extension to the rear of her cottage. Her plan is to put in a septic system, an indoor bathroom and a kitchen as part of the renovation.

A report by township planner Lindsay Mills recommended rejecting the application, on the grounds that the township’s Official Plan stipulates that new construction be located at least 30 metres (98.4 ft.) from the high water mark of township lakes.

While buildings that were already in place when the Official Plan was brought into force five years ago are exempted from this provision, additions or new construction must conform. Mills said that in this case the property owner has another alternative:, to build an entirely new cottage on a six-foot ridge at the back of her property.

Dubin’s representative Ray Essiambre told council that building on the ridge would produce a structure visible from across the lake, which the Official Plan does not favour, and said that she has no intention of tearing down her existing dwelling, which in spite of some problems is still in good repair.

“I think it is narrow minded of council to say the existing situation is legal, when there is only a privy, and no water system at all, at the same time rejecting a proposal which would see an approved septic system put into place,” Essiambre said. “We will go to the OMB [Ontario Municipal Board], which will cost the township and ourselves a lot of money, if council rejects this.”

Ruth Dubin addressed council briefly, saying that the proposal that she build in the ridge would have more environmental impacts than renovating her existing cottage, because of the impacts on turtle nesting grounds and black rat snake nesting grounds.

Councilor David Hahn said he found the case made by Mr. Essiambre convincing, and the case made by township planner Lindsay Mills convincing as well. “Every similar case that has come to the committee of adjustment over the past five years has been rejected, so I think we need to reject this one as well.”

A bylaw which would have approved the zoning amendment that Ruth Dubin was seeking was defeated when it came before council later in the meeting.

Fire budget up $30,000 – Fire Chief Rick Cheseborough brought the 2007 fire budget to council for approval. Of the $30,000 increase in the budget, which equals 2.73%, $15,000 comes from an increase to the vehicle replacement budget that was approved by the previous council. Another $3,000 comes from an increase in capital requirements, and the rest comes from increased gas, diesel, safety equipment and equipment maintenance costs.

The 2006 operating budget generated a sizeable surplus, but Cheseborough recommended putting $91,000 into a reserve fund as a hedge against a busy fire year causing the wage budget to be inadequate.

“It’s good to have a wage reserve,” said Councilor Ron Vandewal, “and if we start seeing that reserve growing to $180,000 or something, we can make changes to the budget next year.” Council gave approval in principle to the fire budget.

Salt containment study – A salt containment study has been granted to Jewel and Associates. The study will look at the five salt containment sites in the township, find any deficiencies, and recommend remediation. It will be funded through the Federal Gas tax rebate.

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