Jeff Green | Aug 07, 2008
Feature Article - August 7, 2008
Back toHomeFeature Article - August 7, 2008 South Frontenac Township Council Aug 5, 2008By Wilma Kenny
BEDFORD BLOW-UP: An already edgy South Frontenac Council meeting erupted into disarray when council defeated a motion to "not withdraw from the Automatic Aid Agreement with Rideau Lakes Township to service a portion of Bedford District."
Fifteen Bedford residents stormed to their feet when this happened, ignoring Mayor Gary Davison’s reminder that this was not a public meeting. They demanded that their concerns be heard, either immediately or at a public meeting. Their unofficial spokesperson, Marty Humphrey, asked what had become of a petition with 150 signatures demanding that the agreement be maintained, and insisted that at no time had council held an open meeting so residents could express their concerns to all councilors.
The issue of concern is that at present the Rideau Lakes fire department has an agreement to respond to South Frontenac’s emergency calls along that portion of Bedford Road closest to Westport.
The arrangement is unusual, in that it amounts to a purchase of service, whereby the fire hall in Westport is the first responder for calls in a portion of Bedford, and South Frontenac pays a fee each year of a few thousand dollars.
The agreement differs from standard mutual aid agreements where fire departments along municipal borders help each other out for free.
Council had discussed withdrawing from the agreement at a Comiteee of the Whole meeting in June but at Councilor Hahn’s recommendation, the issue was referred to the fire marshall and the township fire committee for further discussion.
In his notes to council, CAO Burns stated that the Committee of the Whole had recommended that council not withdraw from the agreement at this time.
However, on Tuesday night, Councilors Hahn, McPhail, and Stowe, and Mayor Robinson voted not to withdraw from the agreement while Councilors Fillion, Hicks, York and Deputy Mayor Robinson voted "no; they voted not to not withdraw. Councilor Ron Vandewal abstained, as he had been on the fire committee and in these kinds of votes an abstention is equivalent to a no vote.
Councilor Hahn vociferously questioned the legality of reducing a service on what he interpreted as a tie vote on a negative option and he asked that the township seek their solicitor’s opinion on the wording of the motion.
Bedford Councillor Del Stowe noted that Bedford’s complement of firefighters is low: down from 30 to only 13. Councilor Ron Vandewal said that the Bedford firefighters have complained to him about never having any firefighting to do.
Mayor Davison assured the Bedford residents that council would revisit the issue at a Committee of the Whole meeting, though he could not promise a public meeting. He said that the present agreement will remain in place for several months yet. The Bedford residents thanked their two representatives and expressed their unhappiness with the rest of council before leaving the meeting.
PROPOSED WASTE MANAGEMENT PLAN
Public Works Manager Mark Segsworth brought a proposal that council approve the Sustainability Committee’s recommendation to "accept the Public Information Program (developed by Totten Sims Hubicki), with the inclusion of the $2.00/bag household garbage user pay charge and the remaining costs funded from the general tax rate effective September 1, 2009 for presentation to the public."
In support of this, Segsworth stated: "We have an inconsistent program: six active waste sites are too many for a township this size, blue box requirements vary from district to district, and Bedford’s waste disposal leaves much to be desired. South Frontenac is managing solid waste in four different ways. A standardized system would be in the township’s best interests."
He noted that a user-pay system could finance up to half of the waste disposal system, thus reducing taxes, while also providing a strong incentive to divert more solid waste by recycling.
Councilor John Fillion said "I wasn’t at the last committee meeting: you see what happens when the cat’s away." Fillion disagrees with the user-pay system, and he outlined a scenario whereby ditches would be filling with garbage, farm dumps would re-open, and seasonal residents would not be contributing their share to the costs of running the township.
Councilor Ron Vandewal noted that the Sustainability Committee’s vote on bag tags had not been close and Fillion’s opposition would not have changed the outcome.
Deputy Mayor Bill Robinson expressed concerns that a more amalgamated waste management program might mean the rest of the township would use the Portland waste site, and Portland might lose their hard-earned reserves.
Mayor Davison commented, "Last week you seemed very willing to pump water out of Sydenham, but this week you’re not willing to share waste disposal resources."
Mark Segsworth assured Robinson that this was a 20-year plan, which would be brought into effect in stages.
David Hahn said this was a big report that addressed complex issues. He noted that the Sustainability Committee had three engineers on it, and a community member who worked for Kingston Area Recycling, as well as council and community representatives.
The motion to accept the proposal passed, supported by Hahn, McPhail, Stowe, Vandewal and Davison.
Public information centres will be :Bedford District Community Hall (Glendower)- 9:00 am Saturday, August 23Storrington Centre, Sunbury - 7:00 pm, Tuesday Sept 9Lions Hall, Verona -7:00 pm Wed, Sept 10Town Hall, Sydenham - 7:00 pm, Sept 11
Coyote kills up, housing starts down
Eight coyote kills of cattle were recorded in July, at a total cost of just over $3,000 to the province. Construction starts in the township have been somewhat lower for the first half of 2008, compared to last year. There is no indication this latter fact is in any way connected to coyote predation.
Library Advisory Committee
Council established a committee to advise on plans for a new library and enlarged municipal office space. Public representatives are: Stephanie Hook, Steve Lapp, John McDougall and Wilma Kenny; Council representatives are: Fillion, Vandewal, Hahn and Robinson.
Township employees praised for excellent work
Lorrie Ann Lane of Verona wrote to thank Assistant Clerk Angela Maddox "for going above and beyond the call of duty" to assist in finding a temporary replacement for crossing guard at Prince Charles School during a time of family illness. "Residents should know there are still good people in the world we live in."
Ron Maguire, Mayor of North Frontenac, thanked the mayor and council for sharing South Frontenac’s Chief Building Officer, Alan Revill, on a part-time temporary basis, until a replacement could be found. "We could not have been better cared for. Courteous, knowledgeable and professional, he has provided guidance and assistance to every one of us here in North Frontenac."