| Oct 16, 2008

Oct 16/08 - NF Council

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Feature Article - October 16, 2008 North Frontenac CouncilBy Jeff Greenr

Standardised fees for North Frontenac halls

A community hall task force has been working for a couple of years to determine how to best manage the five community halls in the Township of North Frontenac.

The five halls: Barrie, Harlowe, Ompah, Plevna, and Snow Road, have their own unique histories, but with township amalgamation in 1998 they became the property, and responsibility, of the Township of North Frontenac.

The task force looked at the conditions of the halls, and found they all needed some work, ranging from minor issues to major. A list of immediate health and safety repairs on all five halls is included in the report, and this work was scheduled and budgeted for in 2008.

As has been reported before, there is an ongoing drainage problem at the Clar-Mill hall in Plevna for which no solution has been found. Council will consider whether to build a new hall when they begin 2009 budget deliberations in the coming weeks.

Among the long-term work recommended for the four other halls, the Barrie hall will need the step at the back of the building removed and the exit closed off. At the Ompah hall it is recommended that the fire hall be removed to another location, and the space that is freed up can be used for an expanded library. The Snow Road hall will need its soffits replaced or repaired and the exterior of the building will need to be painted or re-sided. The Harlowe hall does not need any major work over the next five years.

As far as booking the halls, and day-to-day maintenance, the task force has concluded that local committees should continue to handle those things, with the township reverting to a back seat role.

However, a standardised fee system is to be established, with the receipts going to the township to help cover maintenance costs for the halls.

The fee structure, which will be initiated on January 1, 2009, includes a fee of $15 for community groups holding events that last 4 hours or less. Church groups and funeral lunches will be able to pay for the halls by donation.

The regular half-day fee will be $35, and the full-day fee will be $70. For licensed events, the fee will be $150, and the applicant must provide for their own liquor permit and insurance.

Not everyone is pleased with the changes.

Marie White has been involved with the Harlowe hall committee for years, which organizes licensed dances at the hall on a monthly basis. The committee does not pay rental on the hall, and that won’t change, nor will the $75 special occasion liquor permit that is required. The committee has never paid insurance, however, which Marie said will cost about $225.

“We can’t afford that,” she said.

According to Cory Klatt, Recreation Co-ordinator for North Frontenac, the insurance has always been a legal requirement, but has never been paid. “The township cannot allow a licensed event to take place in one of its halls without insurance; it would not be legal for us to do that,” he said. “The township cannot purchase the insurance, only the event organiser can do that. We do have insurance to cover for liability for non-licensed events, but not licensed events.”

It’s a bitter pill for Marie White to swallow, as the Harlowe hall has been managed by its own committee over the years without incident.

“We’ve never had any troubles before now, until the township decided to stick its nose into our business. It’s communism as far as I’m concerned,” she said.

Local committee members include:

Barrie Hall – Cloyne – Doug Tocher and Larry Potyok

Clar- Mill Hall – Plevna – Richard Barre, Ed Schlievert, Lonnie Watkins

Harlowe Hall – Terry Good, Dave Cuddy, Pat Cuddy, Marie White, George White, Jane Hawley

Ompah Hall – Edith Beaulieu, Betty Kelford, Marily Seitz, Marily Dunham.

Snow Road Hall – Olive Allen, Harriet Riddell, Helen Raeburn, Ruth Jackson, Sally Gibson, Bud Frechette, Bob Olmstead, Colonial St. Pierre, Geri Frechette.

Beam confirmed as deputy mayor in North Frontenac

The rookie North Frontenac councillor from Palmerston ward in the east end of the township was elected as deputy mayor in a contested vote against Councilor Fred Perry from Barrrie ward two years ago in the first meeting after the municipal election in 2006. The practice in North Frontenac is to reconsider the deputy mayor position at the halfway point in the term. This time around the post was not contested and Beam was reaffirmed in his role through a simple motion of Council.

The responsibilities of North Frontenac councilors were recently altered at the request of Mayor Ron Maguire, and along with his role as deputy mayor, Jim Beam has also taken on the Economic Development portfolio.

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