| Jul 23, 2009

Back to HomeFeature Article - July 23, 2009 North Frontenac Council -Jul 16/09By Jeff Green

North Frontenac pushing broadband project

At their meeting last week (July 16), North Frontenac Council did what it could to fast track its project to bring broadband to portions of the township now that a $335,000 grant from the provincial government has been announced.

Even before the grant was received, the township put out a request for proposal for a provider to build the necessary infrastructure for wireless broadband service in the township, and has decided to work with Omniglobe, the same company that has provided limited service from towers located at the schools in Plevna and Cloyne.

At the meeting, they passed a bylaw entering into an agreement with Actionable Intelligence to oversee the project. Actionable Intelligence is the same consulting company that both the township and Frontenac County have employed over the past year in their bids to receive broadband grants from the province.

While the details are still being worked out with Omniglobe, the rough sketch of where the main towers and repeater towers are planned to be located has been completed.

New towers are planned for the village of Ompah and Gull Lake, and repeater towers for Canonto, Mosque, and Shabomeka Lakes. The TVO tower, a 250-foot tower located north of Cloyne, is slated to be upgraded and have new equipment installed to expand upon the service already offered in Cloyne by Omniglobe from the tower at North Addington Education Centre.

Both Cory Klatt from the North Frontenac Township office, and Maureen O'Higgins from Actionable Intelligence were quick to point out in telephone interviews this week, that the precise locations of the towers have yet to be determined, and will require proximity to hydro, and agreements with landowners if located on private land.

A planned launch meeting for the project, which was slated for August 15, has been pushed back to the fall. O'Higgins said that before going to the general public, “We will be consulting with the lake associations concerning any of the lakeside tower locations.”

O'Higgins said she is hoping that more than one suitable location can be found for most of the towers, to give more options before a final location is chosen.

The decision to approach lake associations first is, in part, a response to the public reaction that Maureen O'Higgins was subject to at a public meeting in Central Frontenac Township in June.

In that case, another provider, Barret Xplore Inc., was planning to construct a tower near Big Clear Lake in Arden, and a delegation of Big Clear Lake residents, including the lake association’s president, showed up to complain that the chosen location was unacceptable to people on the lake who did not want the tower in the western sky.

As a result of the objections, and upon realising that two other planned towers in Central Frontenac, one in Parham and one in Crow Lake, would be providing broadband service where it is already provided by North Frontenac Telephone Company, Barret Xplore's plans for the northern end of Central Frontenac were put on hold.

This week, Frontenac County and Barrett Xplore issued a joint press release announcing that service will be coming to under-served areas north of Verona and south of Parham, such as Oak Flats, Piccadilly, Cole Lake, Glendower, Bedford Mills and Perth Road.

There is no direct mention of the Arden or Mountain Grove area, with the exception of the following statement: “To ensure high speed internet is available to all interested Frontenac residents and businesses regardless of their location, Xplore will also offer affordable satellite packages for more remote areas of the County.”

Until now, satellite internet has not been of sufficient speed and reliability to be considered high speed, according to the parameters of the provincial government grant that the county received for Central and South Frontenac townships.

Maureen O'Higgins said this week that it might take time, “but we will find a viable solution for Arden.”

In the meantime, North Frontenac is finalising its contract with Omniglobe and will be actively seeking locations for towers over the summer.

They are hoping to begin constructing towers before the end of the year.

The crucial question of who will and who won't be able to access service through the new towers will not be answered until after the towers are constructed and the equipment installed. 

North Frontenac Waste Management Plan

Guy Laporte, from AECOM Engineering, presented a township-wide waste management plan that has been in the works for over a year to a North Frontenac council meeting on July 16.

AECOM has been working under the direction of council’s Waste Management Committee, and has brought periodic updates to council. Some of those updates have already been acted upon, so the final plan is more of a description of an ongoing process than a prescription for change.

For example, this past spring Laporte recommended the purchase of a compactor to extend waste site life, and council approved the purchase of a used compactor in this year’s budget.

There are 35 recommendations in the plan, all intended to accomplish three overall goals: 1) to endeavour to divert 50% of the waste stream from landfill; 2) that waste generated in North Frontenac should be land filled in North Frontenac; and 3) that ongoing efforts to assess, monitor and manage landfills should continue.

Highlights of the recommendations include: continuing the practice of requiring residents to purchase bag tags; continuing to “incentivise” recycling by allowing one free bag of garbage with one container of recycling, and offering backyard composters at subsidized prices; not initiating curb side pick up; continuing to offer household hazardous waste pickup at one site in each district; investigating new recycling opportunities and ways to divert bulky waste from sites; and continuing the ongoing monitoring program of landfill site impacts.

The plan concludes that the township has 21 years of landfill life at current fill rates, but by following some of the practices that are already underway or contemplated it can extend this timeline.

One site, the Mississippi site, can possibly be enlarged if necessary, but it is not recommended that this be contemplated in the near future.

Public comments following the presentation focussed on the difficulties that commercial businesses have in adhering to recycling policies that are often designed for private homeowners, and Mayor Maguire said, “That is an important point. We need to design systems that work for our tourist businesses and lodges.”

POSITIVE NOISES OVER EMERGENCY SERVICES – Chief Administrative Officer Cheryl Robson made a verbal report to council concerning a meeting she attended with Fire Chief Steve Riddell and Paul Charbonneau and Dave Gemmill from Frontenac County Emergency Services.

“The meeting was very positive,” she said, “and covered a lot of ground.”

Among the items covered were the rural defibrillator program, which is on track to be completed by the end of August so that defibrillators will be available at halls throughout the township and perhaps at Bon Echo Park during the summer months.

Frontenac Paramedics will be participating in the Cloyne 150th Anniversary celebrations.

On the issue of the recent report on rural ambulance service in the county, which has caused much concern in North Frontenac, Robson reported that meetings have begun between Frontenac County and Lennox and Addington County on the cross-border service issue, which is crucial to any solution for service in the northern regions of the two counties.

She said that Paul Charbonneau, the County Emergency Services manager, intends to prepare a response to the ambulance report in the coming months, and if he gets approval from the county’s chief administrative officer, will come to North Frontenac Council to consult before bringing his report to Frontenac County Council.

“It was a great meeting, very co-operative,” Robson said, “and they did not object to our ideas about co-locating an ambulance base with a fire hall.”

BEARS – In the event of an incident where there is potential danger from bears on township property and the MNR or OPP are not able to respond in a timely manner, the township has appointed employees John Ibey, Greg Wise, and Steve Riddell “to deal with aggressive bears” using their own weapons if necessary.

Council also endorsed a motion calling on the province to reinstate the Spring Bear Hunt.

LAND CLAIM MEETING – Mayor Maguire reported that he has received a communication from Michael Johnston, community liaison for the Algonquin Land Claim, which said there would be a meeting to update municipal officials on the progress of talks “sometime soon.”

OMI MEETING – Mayor Maguire also reported that a developer has expressed interest in a commercial venture related to the One Metre Initiative, a planned observatory at Mallory Hill in the Vennachar area. He said a meeting has taken place with local Algonquins, who “have said they do not want the land claims process to be an impediment to economic development”.

PINE LAKE CUTTING – Councilor Lonnie Watkins told council that some trees have been removed in the vicinity of the Pine Lake boat launch, the site chosen by the Ardoch Algonquins for a Pow Wow grounds and band office. This is the first activity at the site in a couple of years. 

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