Jeff Green | Jun 04, 2009
Back to HomeFeature Article - June 4, 2009 North Frontenac Council - May 28/09By Jeff Green
Frustration with Frontenac County boils over again in North Frontenac
Months after the idea of secession from Frontenac County seemed to have receded from the political landscape, it came back into focus last week at a meeting of North Frontenac Township.
The catalysts were the inertia at Frontenac County Council over proposed changes to the makeup of county council, and the pending Integrated Community Sustainablity Plan (ICSP).
In both cases, representatives form North Frontenac Township say their suggestions and proposals have been ignored.
“In view of what's happening with governance, I wonder if we should participate in the launch of the ICSP,” said Councilor Fred Perry.
The ICSP has been in the works for a year. It includes sections on various aspects of environmental and economic initiatives for the county, and staff and members of North Frontenac Council participated in working groups in five categories: economic development and communication; land use planning and management; protection of natural areas; energy – waste water – transportation and infrastructure; and quality of life.
As the plan comes forward members of North Frontenac Council say the flavour of the discussions on the various committees were not reflected in the final report.
North Frontenac's clerk/planning coordinator Brenda DeFosse said that the idea of a county official plan was on the back burner at the ICSP’s land use planning and management committee meeting, but has been brought forward as a priority in the report.
“They are doing what they want to do, anyway,” said Councilor Wayne Good.
“On the quality of life committee, which is the one I worked on, it was pretty much the same thing,” said Councilor Elaine Gunsinger.
“To me northern issues are paid lip service at the county,” said Mayor Ron Maguire. “We were told that the county could not distribute its gas tax money without an official plan, but in its place there could be an ICSP. Although a lot of the townships wanted the county’s gas tax money distributed, it's kind of taken on a life of its own.”
Maguire went on to say that at the county council meeting on May 20, the discussion over governance “was really a slap in the face. The discussion started our pretty well, but clearly the warden threw cold water on the idea of expanding the council. It was almost more than I could take. I knew then that there was no hope. One of the township chief administrative officers asked me after, 'What's the plan now?” and I said 'It's finished'. It’s pretty deflating; that means that the debates cannot be broadened the way they should be.”
Most of the membership of North Frontenac Council travelled to the county offices in Glenburnie several times to participate in discussions about governance and the county ICSP.
“In terms of the ICSP, long-term care facilities, health, broadband, we're still nowhere,” said Maguire.
Councilor Fred Perry asked if it would be an idea for North Frontenac to endorse the plan put forward by South Frontenac Council for a nine-member council, as Central Frontenac Council has done.
“We could do that,” said Maguire, “but unless the county council changes its own direction, nothing will happen.”
Perry introduced a motion to endorse the South Frontenac Council proposal, and it was unanimously approved.
Swim club donation – In response to a request, Council approved a donation of $500 towards the Mazinaw Lake swim program.
Blue Imp in Ompah – The township will be applying for a grant under the Recreational Infrastructure Canada program to purchase playground equipment for Ompah. The playground structure that will be purchased if the grant is approved is produced by Blue Imp Playgound Equipment of Alberta and costs $31,349.72. The grant would cover 2/3 of the cost and the township would find its third from the ward 3 special parks reserve fund.
Plaque at Cloyne Pioneer Cemetery – Council agreed to authorize the cemetery’s task force to put up, in conjunction with the Land O' Lakes Garden Club, a plaque recognising people that are presumed to be buried there but were either not recorded or the record of burial has been lost. The names came from old Methodist church records. The committee intends to have the plaque installed before the end of July, in time for the Cloyne 150th Anniversary celebrations in August.