| Mar 27, 2008

Feature Article - March 27, 2008

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Feature Article - March 27, 2008 ICSP plan approved with amendment By Jeff Green

The framework for a Frontenac County integrated community sustainablitity plan was presented to a meeting of county council on Wednesday, March 19, by Don Grant from the consulting firm Jacques Whitford.

Two of the four muncipalities that make up Frontenac County, Central and North Frontenac, had passed motions requesting that the framework not be adopted until the two township councils had a chance to consider its implications.

Instead of putting a hold on the process, county council approved the draft framework, and in the approving motion they added an amendment, which called for a consultative process involving the townships more directly.

Later that evening, at a joint meeting of county and township councils. Don Grant of Jacques Whitford outlined how he envisions the integrated sustainablitly plan proceeding. He noted 12 areas where small committees could come together to advise the county as to where the citizenry would like to go. Among the 12 are such broad topics as water, energy, health, governance, transportation and waste management.

Jacques Whitford, whose job was complete as of the tabling of its framework report, recommended that the township invest $50,000 in developing a final plan. Don Grant said the county would be eligible for a $25,000 grant and could put $5,000 in in-kind contributions towads the process, so it would only cost $20,000 in county funds. This money would not come from county tax revenue; it could be taken from the gas tax rebate the county is receiving from the federal government.

The integrated community sustainablity plan is something that must be developed by recipients of gas tax funding, and one of the prime functions of the Frontenac County plan will be to determine which projects within the county gas tax money can be used to fund.

At a meeting of mayors and township councilors that followed the regular county council meeting last Wednesday, councilors were skeptical about the integrated sustainabilty plan, wondering how it is that 12 citizens’ committees, with representatives from each of the townships, would be able to get together.

“There is a concern that people get consulted out,” said one councilor.

Still others argued that gas tax rebate money should be spent entirely on road and bridge work.

“We need roads culverts and bridges, gas tax was made for roads, not spending it on all this foolishness,” said South Frontenac councilor John Filion.

Dianna Bratina, the Manager for Economic Development for the county, explained that in order for the county to spend these dollars on the infrastructure requirements that are the reponsibliity of the individual townships, there needs to be a planning structure. “Otherwise we can only spend the money on things like capacity building,” she said.

Gas tax money can be used on projects in the individual townships, such as salt sheds, or retrofitting township halls to be more energy efficient, or on waste management projects, for example, but there needs to be a county plan in place first, Bratina said.

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