| Apr 30, 2009

Back to HomeFeature Article - April 30, 2009 Central Frontenac Councilby Jeff Green

CF Council gets “the vision thing”

For several months Central Frontenac Councilors have been talking about setting some time aside at a meeting for a ‘visioning session’ and this week they spent an hour talking about where they would like to see the township go in the next few years.

The conversation focussed on potential large scale recreation facilities, whether the township should abandon some older facilities, and then shifted to a debate about the merits of a proposal to build a multi-use township office/railway museum/library in Sharbot Lake.

There was nothing approaching a consensus after an hour, when it was decided that a public visioning session should be held on June 10th at 7:30 at the Olden Hall.

Long time Councilor Bob Harvey began the debate by asking a question about recreation.

Do you put rinks in every hamlet, or do you build one rink, one good facility? Should we find a central spot put a really good facility there?” he asked.

“I think we need to look at neighbourhoods, rather than a central facility,” said Councilor John Purdon.

“Maybe a curling rink would be an idea for this region,” said Mayor Gutowski.

It was all too much for Councilor Frances Smith.

“I’m thinking we just went through a rough budget where we didn’t have enough money to do what we needed to do.

Smith added that she was troubled about talk of new facilities when “we have two major issues. We have an office that is overflowing, and we have a railroad museum that’s been before us for two years. Why should we look at a bunch of new visions when we didn’t have the will to deal with our existing ideas.”

Mayor Gutowski said she did not think that the proposed site for a railway museum/township office is large enough.

“I don’t think we can fit a septic system or parking in there, but we need to study it in order to find out,” she said, “and certainly the public needs to be part of the process.”

The items mentioned in the session will be summarised by staff and brought to the public session on June 10th.

Addition to township office – Faced with a pressing need for space, CAO John Duchene proposed last month that a 1,400 square foot addition be built to the existing township office on the east side of the building next to the library branch.

“It does not impinge on any long term plans the township has” Duchene said at the time, “but it will bring relief to an urgent problem.”

The public works and building departments are currently located in portables in the office parking lot.

Duchene’s proposal, which has been costed at $200,000, made its way into one of two options for an infrastructure grant application that needs to be submitted by the end of the week.

Before the decision was made about the grant application, however, Frances Smith made a motion that the extension be built regardless.

“We can decide if we want to apply for the grant, or use money we’ve set aside for that purpose [$150,000] but we need to decide if we are in favour of expanding the office,” she said.

“I don’t think, in hard times, that people want to see money spent on staff or council,” said Gary Smith. “I would be against trying to rush this forward.”

“I support this, said Mayor Gutowski. “I know the public does not like elaborate buildings, but this is basic office space.”

In a recorded vote, Councilors Frances Smith, Bob Harvey, Jeff Matson, Philip Smith, and Mayor Gutowski supported the motion. Deputy Mayor Gary Smith and Councilor John Purdon voted against it. Bill Snyder and Norm Guntensperger were absent.

Grant application – In the category of ‘go big or go home CAO Duchene proposed that Council apply for $2.7 million in public works projects to the Federal Infrastructure Stimulus Program. If successful, the township will have two years to complete the projects, and will have to pay 1/3 of the cost, or $900,000, which Duchene said could be done using reserve funds and perhaps a bank loan.

Proposed projects include: a salt dome at the Olden Garage, the municipal office expansion project that Council had just approved, 17 km of paving on Long Lake road, 4 km of paving on the Westport Road, 2.6 kilometres on the Mountain Grove road, and 2 kilometres on the Piccadilly road, paving on the Wagner road, the Arena Boundary Road, and previously approved paving on the Oak Flats Road. Also included is major gravel rehabilitation and ditching on 50 kilometres of gravel roads, and work on the busy waste site roads. In addition, two bridges will be repaired if the township receives the grant.

The proposal was accepted. Only councillor Philip Smith voted against it.

Another federal granting program, this one for recreation facilities, has a deadline this week, and Central Frontenac will be applying for $42,000 for playground equipment for the Oso beach. If successful, it will cost the township $14,000.

Planning costs revealed – At an earlier meeting, Councilor Guntensperger had asked for a report on how much the township pays each year to planning consultant Glenn Tunnock.

In 2007, the township paid Tunnock Consulting $6,300 and in 2008 $4,350. Projected costs this year are higher, at $16,460, mainly because it will cost $10,000 for Tunnock Consulting to prepare a new comprehensive zoning bylaw for the township. In case any one is worried that Glenn Tunnock is not making enough money by working for Central Frontenac, not to worry, he made $15,000 from the township in 2007, and $30,000 in 2008. Most of the money is charged to property developers for projects that Tunnock works on.

Senior's Housing - Complications could slow senior’s housing project The North Frontenac Non Profit Housing Corporation has submitted an application for funding to the City of Kingston to build a five unit seniors complex on Clement Road, where the corporation owns six acres of land.

The corporation already owns a multi-residential building on the site, and was hoping no zoning changes would be required. It turns out that the existing units, which were built in 1992, were in what is called ‘a rural multi-residential zone’ at the time, but under Central Frontenac’s laws the zoning categories have changed.

While the existing building is legal, it is only so because it was already up when the Central Frontenac Zoning Bylaw took effect some ten years later. It is called a ‘legal-non conforming use’.

The upshot is that in order to build the new complex, not only will the property need to be re - zoned, an Official Plan amendment will also be required, because there is no such a thing as a ‘rural multi-residential zone’ in the current Central Frontenac Official Plan.

In a bid to hurry the process along, Council asked Planning Co-ordinator Cathy MacMunn to initiate the Official Plan amendment and re-zoning at the same time, which she said she could do.

“The municipality can show leadership by embarking immediately on an Official Plan amendment,” said CAO John Duchene. Hopefully the funders will see that the municipality is 100% behind the project.”

The Housing Corporation had hoped to build the units this year, but that timeframe is now in doubt.

(Publisher/Editors note: Jeff Green sits as a member of the Board Of Directors of North Frontenac Not-for-Profit Housing Corporation where he serves as Treasurer. It is an unpaid position.)

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