| Dec 11, 2008

Dec 11/08 - SF Council

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Feature Article - December 11, 2008 South Frontenac Committee of the WholeBy Wilma Kenny

2009 Roads Plan Draft

Public Works Manager Mark Segsworth presented Council with a proposal for the 2009 roads capital budget, based on last February’s 5-year plan, with updated cost estimates. Segsworth emphasised that this was a draft proposal based on need and available funding, and included not only resurfacing but also drainage, platform (road base) and guide rail requirements, as well as bridges and culverts. The proposed roads budget of just over $4.5 million was based on a 3% increase in money raised by taxes, which would still leave a shortfall of $1.8 million to be covered by ‘funding from other sources.’ This latter category would include grants, reserves, development charges and, if necessary, reductions in the proposed programs.

Council debated the pros and cons of a 3% increase in the roads budget, but deferred their decision to next week’s Council meeting. Councillor Robinson asked whether requests for road work that he gets from local residents would be taken into account: Segsworth said the pavement management program was based on information from those responsible for maintaining the roads, and statistics on traffic volume, etc. However, final approval lay with Council. Mayor Davison reminded Council that the 5-year road plan was a living document. Several councillors congratulated Segsworth on a well-written, comprehensive proposal.

Waste Management Recommendations

The public, Council and the township’s Sustainability Committee have all agreed that the three most significant issues of the Waste Management Plan Study are: 1) Extending collection into Bedford, 2)Waste generated within the Township is disposed of within the Township, including managing each waste disposal site as a Township wide asset, and: 3) $2. tag for each bag of garbage. At Council’s request, Segsworth presented the Committee of the Whole with further information, analysis and recommendations in regard to each of these issues. He opened with the observation that perhaps more thought should have been given to looking at "how might we roll all this out over the next 5-10 years," prior to the pubic meetings.

Some highlights from Segsworth’s presentation: there are six active waste sites in South Frontenac, serving an equivalent population (ie, counting in short periods of residency by seasonal residents) of 15,000 residents. In addition, an equivalent population of 6,000 have their garbage disposed of externally. This present situation for a population of 21,000 is not cost efficient or effective solid waste management. None of the landfills operate consistently in compliance with the conditions of their Certificates of Approval. This cannot continue, even though managing in a more sound environmental manner will lead to higher operating costs at each site. In 5-10 years, we should be operating 50% fewer waste disposal sites within the Township. However, rather than close sites which still have approved capacity, while at the same time paying to export Storrington’s waste, it would be possible to treat Storrington’s waste as an asset. Storrington’s annual disposal fees, which are considerable, could be kept withing the Township and their waste could go to maximizing the capacity of whatever waste sites are slated to be closed. As waste sites in Bedford close, the areas they served may well want the convenience of pick-up. Because one of the more significant challenges for collection is the number of households located on private lanes, the Township needs accurate inventories and assessments of these lanes. This could be done in cooperation with the fire department.

User pay has been proven to be the most effective way to reduce waste. The neighbouring townships to the East and West have successfully instituted user pay, and find it works well. However, because of a number of issues and misunderstandings related to bag tags, a compromise solution might be to phase the program in by allowing one bag per household per week, any other bags to be tagged with purchased bag tags. Although illegal dumping is, and always will be an issue, neighbouring pick-up staff report that over 90% of residents are willing to comply with user pay.

Less controversial waste-related issues that are in the process of being addressed include: bale-wrap, recycling schedules, yard waste disposal, hazardous waste, and communal bins.

Councillor Robinson spoke at length of his opposition to the report and the recommendations therein. After considerable discussion, Mayor Davison called for straw votes on the most controversial issues. Council agreed to receive the sustainability report in principle, to work toward reducing the total number of waste disposal sites by 50%, to allow one bag per week, any other bags to be tagged with purchased tags, and to issue universal dump cards to township residents, because anyone bringing waste directly to a site would have to pay the Township’s agreed-upon disposal fees. They did not agree to support extending household collection to cover areas where local landfills were closed, or to manage all township waste within the township. However, Councillor Vandewal said that if the latter wording were changed from "within the township" to "by the township’, he would support the proposal, which had been defeated by one vote.

Segsworth remained calm in the face of the extended arguments, summarizing his reaction to the negative votes with the comment, "I think you’re wrong, but I’m not offended." He continued, "I just don’t want you leaving this meeting wondering where I stand on this. You’re paying me fairly good money to manage the roads and waste programs, and it’s up to me to give you, based on my experience and training, what I feel is the best route to follow. But it’s up to you to decide. That’s the democratic process."

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