| Feb 07, 2008

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Feature Article - February 4, 2008 North Frontenac Council - Jan 31/08 By Jeff Green

Library, township still at odds over Plevna branch

North Frontenac Council and the Kingston Frontenac Library Board don't seem to be able to communicate very well.

A letter from Library Board Chair Claudette Richardson, dated December 17, provoked an unhappy response at a North Frontenac Council meeting last week (January 31).

The letter outlines why the library is not planning to re-open the Plevna branch any time soon, based on a site visit by library staff.

“In early November our staff noted that the humidity was around 50% (outside it would have been around 30%) and there were a small number of pockets of mould growing on one wall ... The books have been removed and cleaned, but the libary would need to have the township HEPA vaccum all surfaces in the library, and replace the carpet. More importantly they need to confirm the removal of the debris in the crawl space, and have some plan to address the water intrusion of the basement and crawl space. Certainly the library would require new air testing to determine the health and safety status of the building before the Plevna branch could be re-opened.”

The letter provoked an angry reponse from North Frontenac Deputy Mayor Jim Beam. “They seem to be changing the rules. What do they mean when they say it 'appears' there are problems, the humidity was 'around' 50%? Did they test the humidity? Was it 40%, 45%? It's unclear. I'm very disappointed with this letter,” Beam said.

“It seems the library is telling us when the libary can be opened. The fact that they are telling us what we can do with this building, when we've done everyhthing we can, is not reasonable,” said Mayor Ron Maguire. “Did they contact us when they came to visit?”

“Our staff wasn't involved,” said Chief Admininstrative Officer Cheryl Robson.

The Plevna branch was closed a year ago when problems were discovered at the Clarendon and Miller Hall, where the branch is located. In November, the books were removed for cleaning.

The township ordered a Humidex system for the hall last year, but it has yet to be installed. A representative from Humidex contacted township staff on January 16, and said they will look into the delays.

A township task force has been looking into the state of the township halls, and will be recommending further work on the Clar/Mill Hall for the 2008 township budget.

“I suggest we just send the library a quick note saying we are still working on the building,” said Councilor Fred Perry once other members of council had finished expressing their feelings about the library board.

Pine Meadow funding overshadows Warden's visit:

Jim Vanden Hoek, Mayor of the Frontenac Islands and this year's Frontenac County warden, attended the meeting to present his ideas about the future of the county, but a recent decision of county council dominated the questions North Frontenac council asked him.

At a January 23rd county budget meeting, Vanden Hoek, along with South Frontenac Mayor Gary Davison, voted down a proposal by North Frontenac Mayor Ron Maguire that the county support Pine Meadow Nursing with a $250,000 donation over 10 years to help with required upgrades to the facility.

“I don't understand the vision of the county,” said Councilor Wayne Cole, “when 84% of Pine Meadow residents come from Central Frontenac, North Frontenac and Addington Highlands.”

“All I can say to you, and I know this will not make you happy, is that I think it would be worth stepping back and deciding if the county should get into this kind of business as a matter of policy before simply writing a cheque,” said Vanden Hoek.

No new signage for Cloyne – Community signs have been erected throughout North Frontenac Township, but have not been erected in Cloyne for two reasons. Highway 41, which runs through the village, is a provincial highway, so replacing the old Cloyne Village signs with new ones requires contacting the Ministry of Transportation and perhaps paying a fee. The second complication deals with the fact that only half of Cloyne is located in North Frontenac. The west half is in Addington Highlands, so a North Frontenac sign would only apply east of Hwy. 41. Council considered mounting a sign on the Barrie Hall, which is set back a little from the highway, but decided not to do so at this time.

Trails committee appointment – Councilor Bob Olmstead will be North Frontenac's representative to a Frontenac County committee studying the K&P and Trans Canada trails.

“The trail plans don't involve North Frontenac at this point, but we should have a presence there,” said Mayor Maguire in thanking Olmstead for taking on the responsibility.

Frontenac Centre project coming back – A plan to attract an investor to build an arts centre/resort somewhere in the northern part of Frontenac County, long shelved, may be coming back. Dianna Bratina, Manager of Economic Development for Frontenac County, will be attending a North Frontenac council meeting in late February to talk about the proposal. The plan was developed by Brian Ritchie, the first Economic Development Co-ordinator for Frontenac County, in the spring of 2002.

Of the current members of council, only Mayor Maguire was part of council the last time the Frontenac Centre was discussed.

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