| Mar 19, 2009

Back to HomeFeature Article - March 19, 2009 North Frontenac Council – Mar 12/09by Jeff Green

Remember when summer ended on Labour Day?

The possibility that the Limestone District School Board will call students back to class before Labour Day this year has tourist operators nervous.

Steve Smart, of Smart's Marina on Mazinaw Lake north of Cloyne, brought his concerns forward to a meeting of North Frontenac Council last week, after hearing that one eastern Ontario school board has decided to start their school year before Labour Day this coming fall.

“We have summer students who work for us every year, and we depend on them working at least part way through labour day weekend. That won't happen if school starts the week before. It will also change peoples' vacation plans. As a community, we stand to lose one of the top weekends of the year,” Smart said. “It is something that as a business community we need to address.”

The Trillium Lakeland School Board in Haliburton and Muskoka has decided to begin classes on September 1st (the Tuesday before Labour Day) and give students a 4 day Labour day weekend by closing on Friday and Monday.

While none of the Boards in our region have decided, the Prince Edward-Hastings District School Board will be considering a staff recommendation to use the same model as Trillium Lakeland at their next meeting, which is scheduled for March 23rd.

If Prince Edwards Hastings' Board accepts the recommendation, it could have implications for the Limestone and Algonquin Lakeshore Catholic Boards because the three share a bussing service, Tri-Board transportation and have always started school on the same day, the Tuesday after Labour Day, since Tri-Board Transportation was set up a number of years ago.

The motivation to break with tradition and start school before Labour Day comes because Labour Day falls on September 7 this year, making it a stretch for Boards to fit in the requisite 194 day schedule, excluding professional days and holidays, before the end of June 2010.

While starting school before Labour Day is not unusual in other provinces, it has never been done in Ontario.

Business meetings – Deputy Mayor Jim Beam reported to Council that three meetings have taken place, in different locations throughout the township, with members of the business community. The intention behind the informal meetings has been to work towards a business group, or chamber of commerce, which can work on economic development in the township and vicinity.

“We are still getting our feet wet,” said Jim Beam, “still trying to get people involved.”

Councillor Fred Perry, who has been working with Jim Beam on economic development, said “new people have been coming to every meeting, although some have dropped out, but we are building awareness I think.

The concern was raised, by Steve Smart that, “some businesses said they do not want to get too heavily involved because it is so much associated with Council. We want it to be a business group that works closely with Council. People may not want to come out and share their opinion with Council at present.”

Jim Beam said that although Fred Perry and himself have chaired the meetings this far it is only with a view to getting the group started.

“We wanted to make it perfectly clear that this is not a Council driven thing; we want to be a partner, but we do not want to be seen as driving this forward.”

Mayor Maguire said he is very encouraged that the lead of this fledgling business group is changing hands.

After the meeting Jim Beam said he did not see this as an exclusively North Frontenac based venture.

“Business does not draw lines on Highway 41, or 7, or 509. I see this as a more regional thing.”

The next meeting is scheduled for April 14 at 9am (see Ompah column for more details)

Fan to be replaced at Clar/Mil Hall - Ed Schlievert appeared before Council on behalf of the Clarendon and Miller Volunteers to talk about a problem with the fan in the kitchen at the Clar/Mil Hall.

“The fan that is there was meant for a bathroom. It vents into the attic and it is clogged. So, when there is a dinner at the hall the kitchen gets filled with smoke.”

While it would cost thousands for a proper kitchen fan and venting system, the volunteers felt that simply by fitting the kitchen with a vent that allows air to flow outside the problem will be alleviated. They made a request for $700 plus tax for a vent, and Shlievert said there were volunteers that were willing to put the vent in.

“You probably know that Council is considering what to do with the Hall,” Mayor Maguire said.

“Drop a match,” Shlievert suggested in jest. “We took a wild guess and figured it would be 5 or more years before a new hall is built.”

“I think $700 for this is not out of line,” said Councillor Wayne Good.

“We said we wouldn't do anything to the hall until we made long term decisions, except for health and safety issues,” said Councillor Fred Perry.

“At the pancake breakfast a couple of weeks ago you couldn't breathe in there,” said Shlievert.

“So, it's a health and safety issue. I have no problem with that,” said Perry.

The $700 expenditure was approved.

Budget meeting delayed, set for next week – Council has met several times to discuss the 2009 budget, and a session, to make some final decisions that had been set for March 11th was put off, due to illness, until next week. The budget will likely come to Council for approval in early April.

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