| May 15, 2008

Feature Article - May 15, 2008

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Feature Article - May 15, 2008 South Frontenac Committee of the WholeBy Wilma Kenny

A Second Building Inspector?

CAO Gord Burns introduced a report from Alan Revill, Chief Building Official, which recommended that council consider hiring a second full-time building inspector for the township. The duties of the building inspector have expanded to include playground inspection, the library expansion project, inspection, inventorying and maintenance of the various township buildings, and processing building permits. Councillor Stowe pointed out that with over 500 permits per year, the present ratio of staff to permits is much too high. Burns said the government’s focus on energy conservation is expected to lead to new programs and grant possibilities, and the building inspector will be the staff member responsible for preparing proposals, and supervising related programs.

For the past several years, the building department has used contract and part-time positions, but the present contract cannot be extended: "We must either eliminate the position, or move forward," stated Revill. During slower building periods, staff still has a backlog of over 1500 old files to be closed out.

Councillors Fillion and York both had concerns that the economy was slowing, and there would be less development in the township. Mayor Davison said he had seen no evidence of a slowdown in township growth, and Vandewal said that so far this year, there had been an increase in severances. Hahn said that if the township wanted to develop, it needed to offer prompt, efficient inspections. He reminded council that any costs, including staffing, were covered by the related fees. Burns reassured council that if there was insufficient work some time in the future, staff could be reassigned, or laid off. A straw vote showed support for the new full-time position, with only Fillion opposed, and Vandewal and Stowe refusing to participate in a straw vote.

The Future of Waste Management

"The Township of South Frontenac requires a long term strategy to effectively manage up to 250,000 tonnes of solid waste over the next 20 years." Public Works Manager Mark Segsworth introduced a draft Waste Management Plan Study directed by the Sustainability Committee and prepared by Guy LaPorte of Totten, Sims and Hubicki.

Primary objectives were to develop a plan that was: environmentally sound, compliant with regulations, feasible and easy to implement, cost effective and affordable.

Currently, waste management services in the township are area rated and the level of service in each district is different. The plan recommends that the current service, which is managed on a district level, should be changed to a township-wide system with a common level of service for all residents.

No one questioned the objectives of trying to divert 50% of the township’s waste stream from landfilling, or continuing to assess, monitor and manage landfill site impacts. However, the suggestion that all wastes generated in South Frontenac that could not be diverted from landfill (i.e. recycled or composted) should be landfilled in South Frontenac led to heated discussion over the pros and cons of paying to ship Storrington’s waste out of the township.

Deputy Mayor Robinson agreed with Councillor Vandewal’s statement that if all the other township landfill sites were filled, Portland would then be willing, perhaps obligated, to accept garbage from the rest of the township.

LaPorte noted that landfill capacity could be extended by more efficient compaction and covering. Another idea that generated discussion was the possibility of introducing a ‘pay as you throw’ system which would replace the present garbage fee with a charge for bag tags: residents would buy only as many tags as they needed.

Councillor Fillion stunned the room by pronouncing that he thought the report was excellent.

In conclusion, council agreed that the Sustainability Committee should proceed to prepare for public meetings to get input from residents. The resulting revised plan can then come back to Council for discussion and decision.

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