| Apr 30, 2009

Back to HomeFeature Article - April 30, 2009 North Frontenac Council – April 23by Jeff Green

North Frontenac Council will be making a single application for funding under the new Federal Infrastructure Stimulus Fund and the Build Canada Funds.

The entire council agreed to apply for funding to rehabilitate sections of the Ardoch road, at a cost of $750,000, 2/3 which will be paid for by the Ontario and Canadian governments if the townships funding application is accepted.

According to the latest road and bridge study the township has done, the two bridge projects that are the highest priority are a bridge on Folgers road in the north end of the township, and a bridge on Robertsville road.

The two projects would cost in the neighborhood of $750,000 each, with the township being on the hook for $250,000.

Works manager John Ibey said there might be a cheaper repair possible for the Robertsville Road bridge, using culverts.

“The Folger road is rarely used,” said Ibey.

“The two bridges are small bridges with little real use, and our cost would be a half a million, which we might be stuck paying off over ten years. I don't see it,” said Mayor Ron Maguire.

While there was little appetite on council for the bridge projects, the same cannot be said for the Ompah fire hall.

Council has agreed in principle to building a new fire hall in Ompah, has purchased land in the village for a fire hall and put money aside each year towards a fire hall. However, the questions of how big the hall should be and whether the hall will include space for an ambulance base have not been resolved.

“To commit to the Ompah fire hall is committing to something we are not ready for,” said Maguire, “it is not the kind of shovel ready project that they want to see, and it would get us tied into something that is not really what we need. It requires further study. There's a consensus here for Ardoch road. There's no consensus for anything else.

A motion to apply for funding for a fire hall in Ompah was put forward, by Deputy Mayor Jim Beam.

The motion was defeated, with Jim Beam and Bob Olmstead being the only members of council who supported it. Councilor Lonnie Wadkins was absent from the meeting.

ATV proposal – Chris Murphy from the Ontario Federation of ATV clubs (OFATV), which has 21 member clubs, including the Ottawa Valley ATV club, made a presentation to Council. Aside from describing his organisation, Murphy asked that passes to use Crown Land roads in North Frontenac be folded into a province wide ATV trail pass that is administered by the OFATV.

“This is a really, big, really growing sport. We are trying to build a province wide trail system, with insured trails, proper signage and maintenance, everything. The snowmobile association is the model for what we are trying to create.”

“I have apprehensions about this,” said Deputy Mayor Beam, “our situation is unique.”

“Our crown land roads are not trails,” said Mayor Maguire, “and our roads are not ... our roads even. Any talk about maintaining those roads would have to involve the MNR [Ministry of Natural Resources]. We can't entertain that at all.”

MVFN on Climate Change - Howard Robinson, a resident of Clayton who has a cottage on Buckshot Lake, made a presentation to council on behalf of the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN), of which he is a member.

The MVFN held a two-day workshop in Almonte in 2007 on the potential impacts of climate change on the land and waters of the Mississippi, and have released a paper and web version of the report that came out of that workshop.

“From Impacts to Adaptation – Mississippi Watershed in a changing climate”. Based on data from the past 40 years, the report shows an increase in the average temperature in the region of 1 degree Celsius, which might not seem like that much, but it has already had an impact on the length of the growing season, adding 15 days. Climate change could continue on a slow track, which would see average temperatures rising by another degree by 2050, on a medium track, which would see a rise of 2 degrees in that same time-frame, or on an accelerated track, up 4 degrees by 2050.

The report talks about potential impacts on the water and water levels and the flora and fauna and on infrastructure in the region under these scenarios.

The impacts could be rather severe, but by taking certain measures such as maintaining forest cover in the vicinity of the Mississippi river, the impacts will be mitigated.

The report proposes that planning begin on a municipal level to adjust to the changes that are coming.

Out of the Almonte conference the following communiqué was adopted:

“Many important economic and social decisions are being made today on long term projects and activities in our watershed based on the assumption that past climate data are a reliable guide to the future. This is no longer a good assumption. We believe that all levels of government are key players in this issue and must raise awareness and incorporate climate change into planning, decision making and leadership”

The MVFN has forged a partnership with the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority (MVCA) of which North Frontenac is a member and a funding municipality.

“I'm the Council representative on the MVCA,” said Jim Beam, “and we are well aware of the report. We've talked about water temperature, which could have huge effect in this area, less trout and more pickerel for example.”

“Humans are good at adapting,” said Howard Robinson, “but we can do it in a planned rather than a relative way.”

As a first step, Robinson proposed that as the township’s official plan is reviewed this year, language about climate change adaptation be added, in line with what the City of Toronto has done.

“We will consider this as a submission to our Official Plan review process and work it in that way,” said Mayor Maguire.

Location of Plevna Library branch – Council has authorized staff member Cory Klatt to proceed with site preparation at the former MNR site on Buckshot Lake road for the establishment of a replacement for the Plevna branch of the Kingston Frontenac Public Library in a donated portable classroom.

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