| Feb 12, 2009

Back to HomeFeature Article - February 12, 2009 Central Frontenac Council - Feb. 9/09By Jeff Green

Old Road Battles Die Hard

A discussion at Council over a five-year road capital investment plan has led to the calling of a public meeting. But not before councillors had a chance to revisit some old sore spots.

The capital plan, brought forward by Public Works Manager John Simcock, is based on an extensive analysis of the current state of the township’s roads. It placed roads into categories (A, B, C, D) based on traffic counts and the number of properties located on the roads. The state of repair of the roads was then determined and a priority for repair list created.

The plan sets out three options for dealing with needed investments: a basic option (cost - $920,000 per year for five years), a sustaining level (cost 1.4 million per year) and an improving level ($2.1 million per year).

Mayor Gutowski pointed out that all of these figures do not include the normal maintenance of township roads.

“Capital investment is about improvement,” Gutowski said. “It is not about basic maintenance. There is a dedicated supervisor with a crew that will be maintaining the roads: ditching, grading, culvert replacement etc. This is over and above that.”

“It is a way to fix roads, in segments. It gives options, and it eliminates the political sense, in that it gives you a whole set of roads data to work with, instead of just debating each year whose roads' turn it is to be done,” said John Simcock.

But when Gutowski asked Council to have a look at the plan, the old debates resurfaced.

“I think the Oak Flats road should be rated as a B road and not a C road,” said Councilor Bill Snyder.

“How many thousands have we spent on the Oak Flats road?” asked Councilor Frances Smith.

“How much did we spend on the Zealand Road, the Fall River Road, 509?” Snyder shot back. “Why are you picking on my road?”

Councilor John Purdon expressed the concern that the traffic counts used to categorize roads may not be based on enough information.

“The information we have used has been gathered over time, but there is tweaking to be done. The point is it provides data,” Simcock said putting his hand on the document. “If you want to disregard the data and fight over whose road is more important, you can do that,” he said, pushing the document across the table.

Councilors Gary Smith and John Purdon then expressed support for the plan. “There are a lot of people who have been saying we need a road plan. Here it is,” Smith said.

A public meeting to discuss the plan will be scheduled for March 4, at either the Kennebec or the Olden Hall.

As it stands now, under the basic option, work would be done on Garret and Elizabeth Streets in Sharbot Lake this year, as well as on the Mountain Grove Road. Work is also earmarked for sections of 15 gravel roads within the township, including Queen, Legion, Bridge, Piccadilly, Clement, Wagner, Cannon, Price, Big Gull, St. Georges Lake, Bakers Valley, Village Woods, Shibley, Thompson and Arena Boundary.

Gravel tender – In approving the terms of the township’s gravel tender for 2009, Council received a primer from quality control technologist Kathy Chevrier on the specifications for the kinds of gravel the township needs, and works manager Simcock pointed out some of the provincially mandated standards gravel crushers must adhere to. The crushing contract will include trucking to various township sites as well.

Councilors Purdon, Guntensperger and Gary Smith all asked Simcock if local contractors would have an opportunity to bid on the contract.

“Certainly, but anyone who wants to bid will have to satisfy the legal requirements. It's the law after all,” Simcock replied.

Two local contractors who were present at the meeting, expressed a concern that if the specific trucking requirements were not included in the tender, it would be difficult for them to calculate costs.

No parking changes on Elizabeth Street for now – Don Nielsen, the Executive Director of Community Living – North Frontenac appeared before Council in response to a letter from Duncan McGregor, a resident on Elizabeth Street in Sharbot Lake, concerning congestion and visibility problems on or around the intersection of Elizabeth and Garret streets during business hours. The Community Living office is located in the vicinity and Nielsen argued that the bylaw permitting his staff five spots at the side of the road should not be changed because they are not the cause of the problem, which he attributed to snow build up and the location of a tree.

Public Works Manager Simcock said he went to the location during a busy winter day, and found that there is indeed a problem, both in terms of visibility and congestion. He said Council could consider banning parking on Elizabeth Street next to the Community Living Building.

Council did not take this action, citing difficulties enforcing a no parking zone, and saying that the entire parking and congestion issue in Sharbot Lake needs to be looked at.

No action will be taken at this time.

Right back to you, OMB – In a lingering dispute over zoning, the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) asked the township to consider further information from David Daszkiewicz. He has filed an appeal to the OMB regarding an Official Plan amendment that permits Thousand Islands Concrete to establish a transfer station on Highway 7 near Arden.

In short order, Council passed a resolution saying they have all read the new information that Mr. Daszkiewicz brought forward, and re-confirmed their amendment. The matter will now return to the OMB for a ruling.

Circle Square crossing – Frank Domen, from Circle Square Ranch, located across from Big Clear Lake near Arden, appeared before Council to ask permission for the installation of a crossing light for summer campers, who cross the road to access the lake each day in the summer as part of the camp schedule. Domen said that the camp's insurer has brought forward a concern over the crossing as a “risk management” issue. Domen said Circle Square would cover all the costs.

Council accepted the request and referred Domen to the Public Works Department.

Lighting contract – A quotation from Wylie Electric of Kingston for new lighting and electrical work at the Hinchinbrooke garage was approved. The contract is for $11,500.

Rental fee waived for dirty hall – Upon receipt of a letter complaining about the condition of the hall on Christmas Day from the organizers of a Christmas Community Dinner at the Oso Hall, Council decided to reimburse the group for the hall rental fee. The letter complained of ice outside the hall, buckets in the kitchen, salt and dirt in the sinks, and an odour emanating from the bathroom.

Acting township CAO Cathy MacMunn said she was aware of the buckets and the icing problem, but had no information about the other concerns.

“The hall should be kept clean,” said Councilor Frances Smith “this has been brought to our attention before.” 

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