| May 21, 2009

Back to HomeFeature Article - May 21, 2009 South Frontenac Council – May 19/09  

South Frontenac weighs in on county governance By Jeff Green

As South Frontenac Council considered the question of Frontenac County governance at their meeting on Tuesday night, May 19, not only was Mayor Davison seeking direction, Frontenac Islands Mayor Jim Vanden Hoek was also an interested observer.

Any county governance proposal would need a so-called triple majority in order to be approved: the majority of current membership on county council, the majority of townships within the county, and the representatives of the majority of the people who live in the county.

With 58% of the county’s population living within its borders, South Frontenac Council would effectively have a veto over any proposal that is approved by county council.

South Frontenac CAO Gord Burns, in recommending a governance model to council, said, “I feel a bit awkward doing so because this is a political issue, but this is really based on what I heard at the meeting last Tuesday from members of all the councils in the county, and it is something that I believe would receive support from the other townships.”

Burns recommended a nine-member council consisting of the mayor and a second representative from each of the four member townships, and an extra member from South Frontenac in recognition of its share of the population. Each township would decide how to choose its own extra members on county council.

“Again I feel awkward because I am not a politician”, Burns said, “and by all means this is only a starting point.”

Councilor Ron Vandewal said he liked the idea of adding four new members, but said, “I don't agree with the third rep from South Frontenac. I think we should get 40% of the vote, and we can do that through a weighted voting system, where the South Frontenac members get two votes each.”

Councilors Alan MacPhail and David Hahn both said they could support either a third member from South Frontenac or a weighted voting system, but they both leaned towards the third representative.

“The important thing is the added number of people would create some diversity at the table, greater depth to the council, and a stronger connection with the member townships,” said MacPhail.

“I'm kind of inclined towards the third person from South Frontenac because weighted voting would create two classes of membership on the council,” said Hahn.

Mayor Davison said he was not sure where the debate at the county table would go (the matter is on the county agenda at their meeting this week) but “I will be looking for South Frontenac to have 40% of the vote under any new arrangement.”

In order to give Davison direction, council approved the CAO's recommendations, calling for a nine-member Council with three members from South Frontenac.

“We will keep you up to speed on where the debate goes this week,” Davison told council.

Frontenac County Council is currently a four-member council, made up of the mayors of its four constituent townships (South, Central and North Frontenac and Frontenac Islands).

Council Notes by Wilma Kenny

Public Works Manager Mark Segsworth reviewed some of the issues facing waste collection and disposal, in the light of Council's recent agreement to eliminate area rating effective January 1, 2010. The current system of issuing 100 bag tags to each dwelling is in effect until August 31, 2009. In order to save the estimated $12,000 expense of a separate township-wide mailing, any tags to cover the period of Sept-Dec '09 would need to go out with the final tax bill on June 1.  Accordingly,

Segsworth brought a recommendation to council from the Sustainability Committee that: "A user pay system for garbage collection be implemented by January 2010, (and that) as an interim measure, 30 tags will be available for pick-up at the Keeley Road office for each property that requires additional tags for the period Sept-Dec 2009."

After much discussion of the unresolved issues, including user pay and harmonizing waste disposal, council defeated the resolution recommended by the Sustainability Committee. However, just before the meeting ended, council passed a motion to provide all township properties that have been receiving bag tags with a further 30 tags to cover until the end of the year, to be included in the June tax mail-out.

There were no comments from the public concerning a proposed Zoning by-law

amendment application in the village of Harrowsmith that would permit a 2.3acre parcel of land on Road 38 just north of the village to be rezoned Special Urban Commercial. This would permit uses such as bakery, meat shop, etc. The resolution passed.

The Cataraqui Source Protection Committee will be hosting a public open house at the Township Hall, Sydenham, on Thursday May 21, 6:30-8:30pm, to share the initial findings of their study, and "seek local knowledge that may assist the source protection efforts for the water supply."

Councilor Robinson reported that the Harrowsmith S&A Club was findingthe cost of insurance for Canada Day celebrations to be prohibitive. CAOBurns said that although the township insurance could not cover a privateassociation such as the S&A Club, the issue could be resolved by having the Canada Day activities come under the umbrella of the Portland Recreation Committee, which, as a committee of council, is eligible for insurancecoverage under the township’s policy. The S&A would still provide their services as volunteers organizing the event. Burns said the S&A Club had agreed to this arrangement. 

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