| Sep 18, 2008

Sept 18/08 - NF Council

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Feature Article - September 18, 2008 North Frontenac Council -Sept 11/08By Jeff Green

Reprieve for Ardoch Chicken Farm

Chuck Johnston and Scott Cooper will not have to remove their 40 chickens right away, or their 2 sheep and 2 goats, or any other animals in their menagerie.

Their seven-acre hobby farm in Ardoch was found to contravene a bylaw banning livestock from properties that are located within identified hamlets in the township.

According to Edward Kennedy of the Frontenac Landowners Association, and Jack McLaren of the Ontario Landowners Association, who represented the two men at a meeting of North Frontenac Council, they were facing a maximum $25,000 fine if the chickens were not gone by the next day, and $10,000 a day for every day that they were still on the property.

While Council did not waive the bylaw on the spot, they did say that Johnston and Cooper could work with township staff to seek a zoning bylaw amendment to keep animals on their property, which has been farmed continuously since 1931. The bylaw will not be enforced for the next two months while a zoning amendment is being pursued.

Edward Kennedy told Council that the location of barns on the property exceeded all setback requirements, and that the property had been zoned as agricultural when the two men bought it, which happened to be 9 days after the township zoning bylaw came into effect in 2004. “I would ask council to set aside this penalty, set aside this order, and quash this hearing right now,” he said, adding, “There are three ways to do things: the right way, the wrong way, and the Canadian way, which is to delay.”

Council chose the Canadian way.

Deputy Mayor Jim Beam said, “I'm very sympathetic to Scott and the situation. Mr. Gilpin [the township bylaw officer] responded based on a complaint. It was a complaint that came into the office. He responded to a complaint the same as he would respond to any other complaint. It is in contravention of the bylaw. I suggest you work quickly with the township to apply for an exemption to the bylaw. There will be no decision on this tonight”.

Councilor Wayne Good agreed. “I think people should be able to raise chickens, but I won't vote for it tonight. I will agree to an extension, however.”

A motion to grant an extension while relief is being pursued was unanimously approved.

A quick scan of the township bylaw maps revealed there are a large number of hamlet zones in the township that are sparsely populated, including Robertsville, Donaldson, and some shoreline on major lakes.

Review of Council Portfolios – Mayor Maguire presented the draft of a new structure for council committees, with each councilor having a different set of responsibilities, in line with their experience and Council’s stated intention of leaving Frontenac County and becoming a single-tier municipality.

“My position on these portfolios is that if we are going to maintain any position of being a single-tier municipality then we need to start operating as such; we need to start acting as one. I have juggled things from last time, and these will enhance your own individual experiences, whether or not you run again next time. Are there any comments?” he asked.

Councillor Elaine Gunsinger, attending her first meeting after being appointed to Council after Wayne Cole resigned, was given the social services portfolio, and will be representing the township on the Pine Meadow Nursing Home board, among other things.

“I don't think it’s too heavy a load,” she said. “In fact I've made come inquiries already, and I attended the AGM of Community Living – North Frontenac last week.”

Councilor Fred Perry will be responsible for health, and will form a communications and economic development committee with Deputy Mayor Jim Beam. He will also sit on a three member personnel and audit committee.

“It's going to be a heavy load, but those are areas that I think I can help the township,” he said.

Councilor Bob Olmstead will have the environment portfolio, which included liaison roles with various agencies, monitoring local uranium issues, and sitting on The Lanark and Mazinaw Forest Management Committee.

Councilor Wayne Good will also sit on the personnel and audit committee and was given responsibility for planning matters.

Councilor Lonnie Watkins will have responsibility for youth and recreation matters, including liaison with local schools.

Deputy Mayor Jim Beam was asked to sit on the personnel and audit committee as well as communications and economic development. It was also proposed that he be replaced on the Board of Directors of Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority (MVC) by Bob Olmstead

Beam said, “I specifically stated that I want to remain on the MVC and I still say that. I also think that councilors are being asked to go to an almost full time role, for part time compensation, and mileage payments only for travel outside the township. These new responsibilities are premised on your statements about us becoming a single-tier municipality. This is fine to say but we have done little to move forward. I would like to wait until the feasibility study for single tier comes through and at that time the matter of compensation could be looked at”.

Maguire responded by saying mileage can be looked at “at any time, even at our next meeting. Even if we are not a single tier, we still need to mature as a municipality. As far as you staying as a member of MVC, I don’t have a problem with that. If you insist on that, I'm not going to stand in your way.”

The new portfolios were approved, with no dissenting votes.

Recycling, health care initiatives – Township Clerk/Planner Brenda deFosse attended a meeting in Renfrew in early August along with representatives from nine other townships that are considering a joint venture involving the purchase of the Beauman recycling centre for their collective use. Currently North Frontenac is hauling its own recycling to a centre in Belleville.

Councilor Fred Perry has attended a meeting of the Addington Highlands Healthcare Committee, which was established this summer and was given a presentation by the Community Health Centre in Tweed. The committee will be considering applying to the province for a family heath team in the future.

Portable for library – To deal with the ongoing lack of library services in the hamlet of Plevna the township is considering the possibility of purchasing or leasing a portable to house the library until the Clar-Mill Hall situation is resolved.

Infrastructure money lacking – Mayor Maguire reported that the province has announced infrastructure funding for municipalities.

“Unfortunately, as has happened so many times in the past, the money is being allocated on a per capita basis instead of the number of taxpayers. North Frontenac has 77% seasonal population and we get no funding for those people, who still need services,” he said.

“On a more encouraging note, our warden, Jim Vanden Hoek, has been appointed to the AMO [Association of Municipalities of Ontario] Board of Directors. I will be congratulating the warden and advising him that I'm looking forward to working with him on promoting small municipalities to AMO.

Cowardly editorial: Councilor Fred Perry took exception to a letter to the editorial that was written by Deputy Mayor Jim Beam in response to an editorial in the Frontenac News about the recent selection of a replacement councilor.

“If there was an issue, it should have been dealt with here, not in a letter like that,” said Perry.

Mayor Maguire said he thought the problem stemmed from the article in the paper itself. “The editorial itself was cowardly; it was half baked and it ignored the fact that I said to the candidates that each of them was qualified,” Maguire said. “The writer wasn't even at the meeting, but goaded us into a response which you [Jim Beam] took up.”

Tappin’s Bay dock “on probation” – Arndt Kruger from the Mazinaw Lake Property Owners’ Association (MPOA) appeared before Council. At their previous meeting Council had revoked their approval for a proposed floating dock extension to the Tappin’s Bay dock because they had approved a single dock at an earlier meeting and MPOA sought and received approval from the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority for a three piece, L shaped dock just three days later.

Kruger wrote a letter to the township in which he said “I want to send some sort of apology to Council because at the time of my presentation I was not fully briefed on the size of the floating docks.”

Kruger went on to say that the proposal as it stands is still safe and meets environmental standards. Several councillors raised concerns, but in the end the floating dock was approved for one year, at which time it will be reviewed.

MPOA will have to provide their own insurance, however.

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