| Dec 04, 2008

Dec 4/08 - SF Council

Back toHome

Feature Article - December 4, 2008 South Frontenac Council -Dec. 2/08By Wilma Kenny

Councillor Larry York was sworn in as deputy mayor for 2009, and in the absence of the mayor, York chaired the Dec 2 meeting.

Sydenham Water: Public Meeting Requested

Speaking on behalf of a delegation from the Sydenham Safe Water Association (SSWA), Bob Forbes asked Council to hold a public information meeting with Sydenham residents as soon as possible. Residents, he said, need to be informed of the presence of undesirable chemicals in their drinking water, the risks involved in drinking the water, and the estimated length of time before the chemicals in the water will be lowered to levels considered acceptable by Health Canada.

Not only has the Trihalomethane (THM) level been over 100 (Health Canada states the level should be below 100, and is lowering that to 80) for 2 years, but now another group of chemicals called haloacetic acids (HHA) has also been found in the water. Forbes spoke of studies which showed both chemical groups to be carcinogens.

Both Council and Forbes referred to a year-old letter from Dr Gemmil, the Medical Officer of Health, which stated that as long as THM levels were under 200, they were "not at a level that would lead to any health effects." Forbes noted that Gemmil didn’t make any reference to more vulnerable individuals such as pregnant women, babies, and adults in poor health, or with cancer. "We have no information about HHAs,’ said Forbes: "What’s their effect? Do they combine adversely with the THMs? Is it even safe to bathe in this water? Lack of information creates fears, rumours, discontent."

Forbes asked for a meeting by or before January 15, which would include Dr. Gemmil and representatives of the Ministry of the Environment, XCG (the consulting firm trying to address the problem) and Utilities Kingston.

In general, councilors agreed that the public should be informed, but several said they had no ‘new’ information. At several points in the discussion, councilors seemed to assume that as long as members of the SSWA were informed, all the rest of the village water users were also informed. Forbes pointed out that although some members of the SSWA were aware of the Health Unit letter, etc, many of the village residents were not, and added that if the MOH was not in agreement with Federal Health regulations, "We want to hear that directly from him." Acting Mayor York asked Forbes to bring Council copies of the studies that showed the dangers of the chemicals in question. Alastair Lamb said, "The problem is communication. Open communication is what we’re asking for, so residents can make informed decisions. Right now, many are ignorantly and innocently consuming (the treated water.)"

York agreed that a public information meeting about the water would be arranged as soon as possible.

Township Policies: Council was given a list of township policies, 50 in all, organized by department. CAO Burns offered to make copies of any that council wished to examine. Stowe said he didn’t see any policy addressing use of township vehicles: i.e. who could ride in them; when a vehicle could be taken home, etc. Burns said he didn’t think there was any written policy, & Stowe noted the policy list might be a way of identifying areas where written policies should be created.

Farmland Designation in Official Plan: Council passed an amended motion instructing staff to remove the Agricultural 2 designations from the proposed update to the SF Official Plan, but included an amendment: "However, any property owner who wishes to have their property included in the A2 designation may do so if they indicate their wish in writing to the Township."

Private Lane Upgrading Assistance for Bedford: Contained within the 2008 Bedford District Road Construction Budget was an amount of $20,000 for the purpose of subsidizing private lane improvements up to a maximum of 50% of any application received. The purpose was to improve access for emergency vehicles. Of the original 12 applicants, only 6 requests accompanied by receipts were received by the deadline. All were granted the full 50% subsidy, for a total of $10, 695. Public Works Manager Segsworth recommended the program be continued next year.

Predator Bounties: A letter was sent to the minister of Natural Resources asking that he re-examine the position on wolf/coyote bounties, in view of the economic hardship they pose to the farming community in this area.

Frontenac Arena: Councilor Vandewal brought a request from the North Frontenac Arena Board asking that the "North" be dropped from the arena name. Although a legal name-change would be time-consuming and expensive, all agreed there would be no problem with an informal name change to more appropriately represent the area served by the arena.

Support local
independant journalism by becoming a patron of the Frontenac News.