| Jun 18, 2009

Back to HomeFeature Article - June 11, 2009 North Frontenac Council, June 11/09By Jeff Green

North Frontenac Council looks to the future, and doesn't really like what it sees

At the start of their council meeting on June 11 at the Harlowe Hall, Mayor Ron Maguire drew council's attention to a report that was included with the agenda package.

Entitled The Federal Role in Rural Development, the report from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities outlines some of the difficulties facing rural communities throughout the country.

The report says, “Rural Canada is in a crisis. It is a quiet crisis but one that, if left unattended, will leave rural Canada increasingly weakened and unable to play its essential role in Canada's economy and national life.”

Although the report acknowledges that, “Some believe that rural Canada is a drag on the national economy and on the urban areas”, it argues against this position.

It points out that resources drawn from rural Canada (energy, agricultural products, lumber and minerals) make up 50% of Canada's exports but do not generate wealth for the communities where they are extracted.

The report argues that, “As long as natural resources remain critical to our national economy, a chronically weak and underperforming rural Canada is not good for those who live there, or for the national economy, or for urban Canada. Balance is needed in economic development, which calls for public policies that can accommodate both rural and urban areas.”

It marks a difference between rural areas that are close to urban centres, which have seen population increases and comparative wealth in recent years, as opposed to more remote regions, which are suffering.

In the end, it makes three major recommendations: that rural Canada needs a champion at the federal cabinet table; that rural communities need a “long term plan” from the federal government; and that “a one size fits all approach to rural policy making will not work. Solutions must be tailored for and responsive to the diversity of rural Canada.”

In taking about the report and its conclusions, Mayor Maguire said, “I think that we can't passively sit by and just let the status quo continue; this arguing for a federal role in rural Canada is fine, but that will take years. I think this report is the backdrop for moves we should be making as a council.”

Funding for Northbrook Medical Centre’s 25th anniversary – In response to a request to support the 25th anniversary celebrations at the Northbrook Medical Centre, council agreed to pay 1/3 of the projected $2,500 cost of the event.

Later in the meeting, Councilor Fred Perry updated council on some of the changes proposed for the medical centre, which is in the midst of adjusting its care model to bring it in line with the requirements for establishing a multi-disciplinary Family Health Team.

“I was talking to Doctor Tobia today,” Perry said, “and he would like to set up a satellite clinic in North Frontenac, probably in or near Plevna. He wants about a 1200 square foot building, to house a nurse practitioner and staff. He already has a small satellite clinic in Denbigh.”

The four tenders – They might not sing like angels, but the following four companies submitted the winning bids for township tenders.

Francis Truck Centre, $119,523 for a new tandem cab and chassis

Gemmill Sand and Gravel, $42,940 gravel crushing

Greenwood Paving, $259,031 for a variety of paving jobs

Jason Lemke, $31,500 for winter sand.

Ambulance base proposal – Councilor Fred Perry suggested that the township offer Frontenac County three possible locations for an ambulance base.

“We need to give them some options, because if not they will move the base to 509 and Ardoch Road in Central Frontenac,” said Perry.

Council thought it was premature to make any offer, since the ambulance report has not been debated thus far. 

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