Jeff Green | Nov 06, 2008
Nov 6/08 - NF Council
Back toHomeFeature Article - November 6, 2008 North Frontenac Council – Oct 26, 2008By Jeff Green
Ardoch’s chicken question still unanswered.
Council received a letter from Edward Kennedy of the Lanark Frontenac Landowners Association on behalf of Scott Cooper and Charles Johnston of Ardoch, who were informed this past summer that the animals they keep on their seven acre hobby farm put them in contravention of a township bylaw and must be removed.
Kennedy appeared on their behalf in September, and at that time a motion deferring enforcement until November 4 was passed to allow for an application for an exemption to be completed.
The issue stems from the fact that the Johnston/Cooper property is located within a defined “hamlet” and agricultural uses are forbidden in hamlets unless they are “pre-existing agricultural uses”.
Township staff sought the advice of planner Glenn Tunnock, in whose opinion that is not the case for this property, because “animals were introduced on the property after July of 2004 and the barn was only recently constructed”.
Several councilors said they had no problem with the chickens.
“Ardoch has always been a farming community,” said Councilor Lonnie Watkins. “We need to look at our definition of hamlets.”
Scott Cooper asked for leave to address council, which was granted. He said that the property has been in agricultural use since 1860, and although there were no animals for a time before the property was purchased in 2004, “just nine days after the bylaw came into effect, it has never stopped having an agricultural use. The fields were always used for crops.”
The township is in the midst of reviewing its Official Plan and will be considering its Comprehensive Zoning Bylaw. Township clerk/planning coordinator Brenda De Fosse said the designation of hamlets could be on the table. They were taken from the designations in mapping provided by the pre-amalgamation townships and were not looked at when the zoning bylaw was approved in 2004.
But it could take a year or more to sort out zoning, and the question of how to deal with the Cooper/Johnston matter in the interim was facing Council.
Council agreed to extend the deferral of bylaw enforcement until the township’s planner is available to come to a meeting.
Maintenance request refused: Murray and Beverly Elliott of 1460 Ragged Chutes Lane asked that Council consider providing grading and plowing on their road. The township maintains Ragged Chutes Road up to a point that is 1.6 kilometres from their house, to the Sproule farm, but no further.
“If we accept this, we would have to provide maintenance on all private lanes” said Works Manager John Ibey.
The request was denied.
Winter maintenance refused, but will be studied further: A request from Terry and Karin Reynolds, who have been permanent residents on the Crotch Lake access road for four years and would like the township to plow their road in the winter, was refused by Council on the grounds that the road is an “unmaintained road”
In their letter of request the Reynolds had made the point that Crotch Lake Access road is a township owned road. They noted that in 2004 Council had accepted a similar request from the Killam family in the East Bay Road on Buckshot Lake. The letter also said the cost would be minimal since they live less than 100 metres down the access road.
Public Works Manager John Ibey said, “If we run a plow in there...we would have to physically turn in there; you can't back a 50,000 lb. truck onto a busy road like the Ardoch Road,” he said.
The township would need an agreement to turn around on private property, on land that Ibey said is owned by the Fergusons, Karin Reynolds parents.
“I misunderstood the situation,” said Deputy Mayor Jim Beam, “I think we should reconsider this. I thought it was an unmaintained road.”
“If we get into turnarounds on private property, there will be all kinds of other requests,” said Councilor Wayne Good, “I don't think we should do this.”
“We've voted,” said Mayor Maguire, “let's move on.”
Later in the meeting, Councilor Lonnie Watkins raised the issue again. “We have a young family that is committed to living in our township and we won't provide service on a township road. I don't see it,” he said. “We should revisit this.”
“We went the extra mile for Killams because they are permanent residents,” said Mayor Maguire. “But we need more information before we do this. How many more situations like this are there?”
Township staff was left with the task of reporting back on the number of seasonally maintained roads in the township.
Immigration to North Frontenac: Mayor Ron Maguire drew Council's attention to an initiative on the role of municipalities in attracting immigrants, which came from the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO).
“I know rural municipalities are not the focus of this, but we are not excluded,” said Mayor Maguire. “We are finding ourselves at a point where we are struggling with keeping the facilities we have. Unless we do something tangible, it’s going to be inevitable that we lose them.”
Councilor Councilor Elaine Gunsinger wondered how North Frontenac could attract people when there are few jobs to be had in the township. “If we don't grow, we die,” she said.
Council agreed to write to AMO expressing interest in the initiative.
Secession quietly recedes to the back burner: A standing agenda item “Draft Request for Proposal to investigate the feasibility of separation from the County – update” was apparently left on the agenda by mistake and is to be removed from upcoming council agendas.