| Sep 04, 2008

Sept 4, 2008 - SF Council

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Feature Article - September 4, 2008 South Frontenac CouncilBy Jeff Green

Sydenham water bylaw approved – bills to be sent out

South Frontenac Council has approved a bylaw which will enable the township to send out bills to ratepayers in Sydenham village for their share of the Sydenham water system.

The township had been on the verge of passing such a bylaw back in July, but at the last minute council decided that estimates about the amount of money that it can reasonably expect to raise through expansion of the water system was too low at $385,000.

The new bylaw is based on the assumption that the township will be able to gain an extra $258,000 in addition to the estimated $385,000 by charging fees for new housing units in the vicinity of the village to hook up to the system. This is based on revised estimates of the projected water use by Sydenham residents in relation to the capacity of the system.

In the end, the residents of Sydenham will collectively pay $1.39 million towards the water system. The total cost to build the system was $7.76 million, but the cost to the villagers was mitigated by provincial and federal grants of about $2.5 million, by $700,000 from the Limestone School Board for the two schools in the village, by the $643,000 in projected growth-related revenues and by $125,000 in costs for road repairs that was assumed by the township.

Council debated about what kinds of rules would be set out for future development, but did agree that each new house that comes into the system will pay $6,000.

The bills to cover the $1.39 million, divided up according to a formula based on road frontage and the dwelling size, will be in the mail shortly.

Burns to retire in '09 - “I don't like the content of this report,” said Mayor Davison in reference to a letter to Council from Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Gord Burns, which said he intends to retire in July of next year.

The letter was written at this time for two reasons, Davison said. “There has been talk of when Gord will retire, so this puts that to rest”. As well, it will give plenty of time for an orderly transition to a new individual in the job.

“I thought it only fair to provide this information to council so that they can give consideration to the process of selecting my replacement while there are still several months before my actual retirement,” said Burns.

The township intends to provide some overlap between the start date for the new CAO and Burns' retirement date. Gord Burns has been the CAO of South Frontenac since December of 2001.

$500 to Biosphere reserve – The township has renewed their membership in the Frontenac Arch Biosphere Reserve with a donation of $500. As well, the township is joining with a regional trail initiative being undertaken by the reserve.

$300,000 rescue vehicle – In line with the 2008 budget, Council approved the purchase of a new fire rescue vehicle for station 5 (Loughborough) at a cost of $265,000 from Fort Garry Fire Trucks. Once the truck is fitted with extrication equipment and a communication radio, the total cost will be over $297,000, which is still within the amount budgeted for it.

Buck Bay bridge – The tender for the rehabilitation of the Buck Bay bridge off of Westport Road has been awarded to Baltimore Development Services for $45,000. Along with the costs for engineering, which was awarded to McIntosh Perry for about $8,000, the total cost of the project is around $53,000, well under the $85,000 that was budgeted for the project.

“We had the same company do work on Rutlege Road, I was concerned that they were new to us when we awarded that tender, but they did a great job on that project, so I'm very comfortable with them now. And they were the lowest bid,” said Councillor Ron Vandewal

Building permits down – The number and value of building permits taken out in the first 7 months of 2008 are down in the township, as compared to 2007, which was the strongest year of the past five. This year 196 permits, including 44 for new houses, were taken out between January and the end of July, for a total construction value of $13.4 million. Last year, 26 more permits were taken out in the same period, including 58 for new houses, for a construction value of almost $18.5 million.

2008 figures are higher than those in 2006, when the value was $12.8 million for the same period. In 2005 the figure was $14.9 million.

Chief Building Officer Alan Revill said, in a written report, that the building department remains busy in spite of the slowdown. “At this time, I see no difficulty in fully utilising all department staff,” he wrote.

Controversy over road closing – Council received a letter from Flora Svendsen and Pam Freeman expressing concerns about the concert planned for Sydenham village on September 13 and its impact on traffic flow, business interruption, and the potential safety hazards that may result.

“We will be much more satisfied if the township will agree in writing to accept all reponsibility for crowd control and any liability arising from their permit for a public performance in the village business district especially as it will likely attract a crowd of undetermined size and responsibility,” they wrote.

Public Works Manager Mark Segsworth said that he has talked to all of the business owners involved, and the area had be configured to try to ensure that all businesses will remain accessible during the event.

“We are going to try to work with everyone,” said Mark Segsworth.

“It kind of sickens me to hear these complaints because everything is going to charity and it will raise the profile of the village,” said Mayor Davison.

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