| Mar 19, 2009

Back to HomeLetters - March 19, 2009Letters: March 19

Letter to Bell Canada, Jim Beam

Re: Proposed Bylaw to Regulate Open Air Burning, Peter May

Letter to Bell Canada

I am the Deputy Mayor of a small rural municipality located roughly 11/2 hours East of Peterborough, 11/2 hours West of Ottawa and 1 hour North of Kingston within the 613 area code.

We have an aging population in this area, are unable to get ANY provider to install cell phone towers and are subject to frequent power outages. Some of the power outages last many hours and sometimes even days!

My concern is related to what happens after a power outage of several hours; the telephone system run by battery back-up power goes dead. When the phone service is gone, we have no way of contacting emergency services such as fire and ambulance. With an aging population there is no way for some of these house-bound seniors to make contact with anyone should they need assistance. This is extremely acute during winter months when travel in rural areas is difficult at the best of times.

We fortunately have a number of volunteer firefighters who take it upon themselves to check in on with seniors during these times but they don't/aren't able to check on all residents. Any one of us is subject to a fall or attack of some kind and without access to telephone serious injury or death may result.

I am pleading with Bell Canada on behalf of all rural residents, not only in our Township but throughout rural Ontario to do something to ensure that there is continuous, uninterrupted telephone service during extended power outages. It truly could be a matter of life and death. Driving 30 minutes to the nearest phone or area where cell service is available is not a viable option.

Jim Beam, Deputy MayorTownship of North Frontenac

Re: Proposed Bylaw to Regulate Open Air Burning

It's ironic that the burning bylaw comes up when one half the voters and taxpayers are not even in the township. In fact I would say most taxpayers are not even aware of this proposal. As a taxpayer that lives in the community year round this is the first I have heard about this proposed bylaw.

I understand the need to prevent the burning of garbage and synthetic or painted products due to the toxic fumes and chemicals they produce. The fact is this type of burning is taking place daily and not only in these burn barrels but in wood stoves and outdoor furnaces where people are disposing of their garbage.

Is this township going to supply a free service to determine whether or not my wood is dry enough to burn or will someone come and pull a log out of my fire pit and say it is too wet to burn. Come on..

There is smoke everywhere in the township coming from fire places, outdoor furnaces, provincial parks, house fires etc. Are we now going to fill our precious resources like the dump with blown down branches that may be to wet to burn? After all the dumps are filling up and then we will need to find places for new ones. After a wind storm, which seem to be very common these days, the citizens need to be able to clean up. Being in a rural community a lot of our yards are very large.

The fact is just one forest fire will create more smoke than all the burning we could do in the Frontenacs combined. Just one house fire will create more toxic chemicals and fumes than all the burning in the community combined, never mind toxic water run off from trying to put it out.

If the bylaw is going to address burning then address it all and not just part. Remember, a lot of people heat with wood, which creates smoke. Some people use outdoor furnaces that create smoke and both of these can cause just as much if not more nuisance smoke than an occasional fire by a residence.

Are the volunteer fire departments now going to spy on the neighbors or is their part in this going to be limited to complaints only?

Where do the people living near the provincial parks complain about the smoke and toxic fumes that come out of there at all hours of the day? Is this bylaw for all or just some?

Let’s not rush this bylaw as in the end all taxpayers and voters will have to live with it. If you want a bylaw, create one that will prohibit the burning of synthetic, painted and plastics as these are a health hazard to all. But it must be strictly enforced.

Burning has gone on in this community for centuries and one more season to get it right will not hurt.

Peter May, Sharbot Lake

Support local
independant journalism by becoming a patron of the Frontenac News.