Jeff Green | Oct 16, 2008
Oct 16/08 - CF Council
Back toHomeFeature Article - October 16, 2008 Central Frontenac Council -Oct 14/08By Jeff Greenr
Don’t assume what you can unassume – Public Works Manager John Simcock brought what he called “a pretty hot topic for four or five people in the township” to Council’s attention during his public works report to Central Frontenac Council on Tuesday night.
The Bobby Road, which connects Long Lake Road to Frontenac Road near the hamlet of Mountain Grove, contains no dwellings and is used “mostly as a shortcut”. The Public Works department has put “unassumed road” signs at both ends of the road.
Simcock reported that “There is a divot of about 11 metres, the road is unstable, and a culvert has to be replaced. We have to look at some of these roads and decide which roads we can afford to keep up. It would cost $9,000, which is not in our roads budget, to repair this road. Instead we can keep it passable in the summer, grade it twice a year, stop plowing it in the winter, and call it an unassumed road”.
“In the process of stepping back from established roads, I think we need to go to a public meeting. We shouldn’t make a decision arbitrarily,” said Councilor Normand Guntensperger.
“That’s my recommendation to Council. It should be posted ‘unassumed’ until a decision is made about how to proceed,” said Simcock.
“I can’t accept that we are going to make this an unassumed road. It is used by people,” said Councilor Philip Smith.
A proposal came forward that the road receive a temporary fix, and any further decision be deferred to the discussion of a comprehensive Road Capital Improvement plan later this fall.
“We can keep filling the hole in the road,” said John Simcock, “but I’m against that kind of practice”.
The signs will come down.
New ploughing routes – As he promised when he came to his first meeting as Public Works Manager, John Simcock has put together a new snow clearing system for the coming winter.
The plan includes setting up 10 fixed snow clearing routes and increasing the number of small “finger roads” that will be handled by contractors instead of township employees. However, the most unexpected proposal was to put out a tender contract for the winter maintenance of Road 38.
“My recommendation is that it will be for the township to tender this out,” said Simcock.
“This was done a long time ago, and the prices went up and up and eventually the township decided to buy a vehicle and take it over again,” said Councilor Frances Smith.
“By tendering it out we can see if it is possible for us to save money for our ratepayers. We are not necessarily going to accept the tenders. If we don’t get the right bid we can continue to do it ourselves,” said Mayor Janet Gutowski.
Several councilors had questions about the rest of Simcock’s proposals, including the details about the snow clearing routes.
“I see that sometimes smaller roads are being cleared before more travelled roads,” said Councilor John Purdon.
“I can guarantee you that under this program you won’t be waiting as long as you waited last year for your roads to be cleared. I can guarantee that,” said Simcock.
“From my perspective this is the first time we have seen these ploughing routes, and we can bring this back to the next meeting, but I warn Council that we might be getting close to micro-managing here,” said Mayor Gutowski.
The winter maintenance plan will be brought back to the next meeting, and a meeting in November will be devoted to the township’s comprehensive capital road plan.
Water regulations – The Public Health Unit did an inspection of the township halls on October 6, and informed Township Chief Administrative Office Mark Hall that the signs posed at the township halls saying the water may not be potable, which were put up in order to comply with Ontario water regulation 170, contravene another Ontario regulation, number 562.
As Hall explained in his report, the township is left with the option of closing the kitchen and food preparation facilities in the halls, or removing the signs and entering into a bi-weekly water testing regime for bacteria, at a cost of $2,000 to $3,000 for the balance of 2008.
Hall said he did not recommend purchasing any filtration systems until the province clarifies the regulations, which is expected to happen in December.
Council accepted the recommendation to begin testing the water, and keep the kitchens open in township halls.
School bus drivers concerned – Council received a letter from Mimi Antoine, who expressed concerns that have also been expressed by smaller bus companies in North Frontenac about a new provincial request for a proposal procurement process. The process would see them bidding for the school bus routes they have been covering for years, and which have always been passed along as older drivers retire and sell their buses to younger drivers.
Drivers fear that large operators such as Laidlaw Incorporated would bid on entire regions and put them out of business
“The RFP process will render my operation of NO VALUE. There are other small operators in the same position and this market place will be flooded with depreciated vehicles,” Antoine wrote.