Jeff Green | Jun 12, 2008
Editorial - June 12, 2008
Back toHomeEditorial - June 12, 2008 A shot across the bow from north FrontenacEditorial by Jeff GreenIt is no surprise the North Frontenac Council is dissatisfied with the County of Frontenac. As far as I can recall North Frontenac has always been unhappy with the County, even when Stan Johnston was the Mayor of North Frontenac.
But to go to the lengths of exploring secession is quite a leap.
First off, there is no reason to expect that the province, which has the ultimate authority over all municipal matters, will ever entertain a proposal for North Frontenac to pull out of the County.
This must be something that North Frontenac Mayor Ron Maguire is aware of. The decision to fund a feasibility study into secession is borne of his extreme frustration with the way County council, and the County itself, is run, and is poised to send as strong a message as Maguire can send that he is not going to County meetings and finding himself isolated as the other three Mayor continue to proceed with projects such as the Integrated Community Sustainability Plan, a County wide planning initiative, etc., while refusing requests for funding to projects that Maguire sees as important to the North, such as broadband, Pine Meadow Nursing Home, and transportation.
In the view of Maguire, and of North Frontenac, the divisions at the County are North-south Divisions, and he does not receive enough support from Central; Frontenac Mayor Janet Gutowski to feel he is anything but isolated.
Mayor Gutowski expresses support privately, but once we go to meetings, she votes with the others,” he said during a special Council meeting at the Plevna Fire hall last week.
North Frontenac is not alone in its dissatisfaction with the County. While none of the other townships have the same uniformity of discontent, and the Mayor’s of the other townships are, at least publicly, supportive, there are Councilors on each Council that accuse County staff of “empire building” at the expense of the local ratepayers.
While many of these Councilors in other townships have little sympathy for North Frontenac, they also dislike the County are not likely to spring to its defence.
That job will be left to the Mayors, and perhaps to senior County staff.
A word to the wise.
North Frontenac ratepayers are no more sympathetic to Frontenac County than are its Councilors, and in Barrie ward, the largest in North Frontenac, Frontenac County does not even run the ambulance and Pine Meadow Nursing home is a major employer.
Many people in Barrie ward never wanted to be part of North Frontenac in the first place, much less Frontenac County.
While Ron Maguire may make no headway with the Province with all this, he could easily lead a ratepayers revolt in his home township.
It could be a mistake for Frontenac County Council and senior staff to ignore this tangible expression of discontent from the north.