| Jul 30, 2009

Back to HomeFeature Article - July 30, 2009 Central Frontenac Council - Jul 28/09by Jeff Green

Neighbours like green seniors’ complex, but not the location

At a public meeting of Central Frontenac Council on July 28, concerning an application for Official Plan (OP) and Zoning Bylaw amendments to permit a five-unit, not-for-profit seniors’ building to be built on Clement Road, several adjacent homeowners expressed the opinion that Clement Road is the absolutely wrong location for a complex they said they would normally support.

The Official Plan amendment is required because the proposed five-unit (each at 800 sq. feet) building requires a rural, multi-residential zone, which does not exist under the Central Frontenac Official Plan. Once the special zone is created, a zoning amendment will be required to apply it to the property.

North Frontenac Not-For-Profit Housing, the agency that proposes to build the complex using provincial grant money administered by the City of Kingston, has a four-unit townhouse on the 2.89 hectare property, and is seeking a severance to create a new lot for the seniors’ complex.

Township planning consultant Dave Sappleton of Tunnock Consulting said, “The proposed seniors’ complex is an important addition to the supply of affordable housing for a specific age cohort. The subject lands are suitable for the location ... the proposed development is compatible with the surrounding land uses and its energy-efficient design will minimize the environmental impacts on the natural environment.”

Cam Allen, from Alltech Consulting, the project manager for the proposed build, expanded at length about the project design, which he described as ground-breaking. “This will be the first LEED platinum public building in all of Canada,” he said.

LEED, (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a well-established green building rating system that includes an independent third party certification program. LEED points are awarded for various aspects of design and construction, and based on those points buildings can attain several levels of LEED certification.

According to Allen, the K-Rock Centre and the new police headquarters in Kingston both attained LEED silver rating. “Our goal for this project is to surpass LEED silver and LEED gold, and produce a LEED platinum building.”

To do that, the proposed building will have an overall footprint that is 125% of the building’s size, will make use of passive solar energy by virtue of the location of windows, etc., will have an advanced ventilation system, a modern version of a cistern for rain water retention, modular construction using concrete, an air-heated pad, and an advanced septic system.

“It will cost between $25 and $40 per month for light, heat, and hydro for the tenants in these units,” he said.

Allen, who writes a column for Sun Media called “Greentech”, said he will be writing a six-part series about this project, and he and the CBC are planning a documentary on the project as well.

One neighbour, Rick Greenstreet, responded to Sappleton and Allen's presentation by saying, “The project sounds interesting but the property has insufficient road frontage; the entrance is on a blind corner that will make a safety hazard even worse; the population density is high, because of your existing multi-residential home, as well as two group homes and other single family dwellings, which are all located on a ridge that lies between a wetland and a beaver pond.”

Several others, including Roy Sepa, expressed similar concerns. Sepa said he did not want to go into all of the detail that is included in a long, written submission he has made opposing the project, but said “A lot of people from the immediate area have looked carefully at this location, and have serious concerns about this. This location has not been shown to be appropriate by anything I have heard today.”

“Has our planning department considered any alternative locations for this?” asked Councilor Norm Guntensperger.

Jane Drew, the property manager for North Frontenac Not-for-Profit Housing, said, “This was the only potential building lot that our corporation owns, and when we applied for funding, points were awarded for not having to purchase land.”

“We should have a bank of land available for projects that come up,” said Councilor Bob Harvey.

Mayor Janet Gutowski said, “There is a great, immediate need for seniors’ housing in this township, which has been taken up by North Frontenac Not-For-Profit Housing. This will be brought to our next council meeting on August 10. We will consider all submissions.” 

NEW POLICEMEN COME CALLING: Inspector Ray Westgarth, who is replacing Lanark Detachment Commander Gerry Salisbury while he is on assignment to the 2010 G8 summit, along with Inspector Derek Needham (Lanark Detachment) and Sergeant Jim Birch, newly assigned community sergeant for Sharbot Lake, replacing Jeff McCann, all paid a visit to Central Frontenac Council this week.

“I brought with me a sample of the statistics we can provide to you quarterly,” Inspector Westgarth said, “and I want to encourage you to contact us as soon as problems develop so we can act on them rather than being surprised to hear concerns several months after they have occurred.”

In terms of crime, Westgarth said that the incidents of property crime, “not just break and enters but thefts and mischief as well, are up throughout Lanark.”

The township will be considering setting up a policing advisory committee to improve communication with the detachment.

ENERGY FIT PROPOSAL – Glen Moase appeared before council to talk about the possibility of a solar power installation on one of the township buildings that could take advantage of the provincial “feed in tariff” program, which pays 80 cents per kw to subscribers who feed power back into the grid from small systems.

Moase proposed hearing a submission from a professional concerning a suitable project.

Mayor Gutowski said that renewable energy is one of the major components of the Frontenac County Integrated Community Sustainability Plan. “I suggest there is an opportunity to work collectively on this, and seek funding for start up costs,” she said.

“It's been talk, talk, talk about energy for a long time around here. I have problems with waiting for others to act,” said Councilor Frances Smith.

Council agreed to hear a presentation. Moase said the presentation is free by the company he knows about (and he disclosed that he has invested in) but that it might cost $5,000 for engineering a project if council sees fit to do so.

CROW LAKE – A delegation from the Crow Lake Community Association brought an update to council on the activities at the Crow Lake Schoolhouse. Ludwig Ratzinger, the association’s president, said the committee has retired a $9,000 deficit from the hall's rehabilitation project, has installed new fans, and will be installing new siding next month. Events at the schoolhouse have been well attended. He asked that the township put up new signs at either end of the village, and Mayor Gutowski said she would bring this up to the Economic Development Committee.

ROADSIDE MOWING – Councilors were questioning their own decision to do roadside mowing this summer using township equipment and employees, rather than contracting the job out, as was the case last year.

“It's not working; it's very bad this year,” said Councilor Frances Smith, “my car is covered in seeds after driving on the Burke Settlement Road.”

Chief Administrative Officer John Duchene said he has received “a number of complaints”.

“At the start of it, you need someone on the mower who knows what a mowing machine is. You bought a sickle mower when you should have bought a flail mower, and the operator doesn't know how to mow in the first place. It's just a disgrace. I knew it was going to happen, and it's a waste of taxpayers’ money,” said Councilor Bill Snyder.

“There's a lot of sweet clover this year,” said Councilor Jeff Matson, “that's what's growing over the road, but Bill is right about the mower. It should have been a flail mower.”

TRAILS COMMITTEE MEMBERS TO RETURN? Deputy Mayor Gary Smith recently resigned from the Frontenac County Trails Committee over the actions of county staff along with Deputy Mayor Jim Beam from North Frontenac and Councilor Dennis Doyle from Frontenac Islands.

He hinted that a rapprochement was in the works, telling Mayor Gutowski that she will be receiving a letter from Doyle in the near future after county council made a gesture towards the three members at their most recent meeting by rescinding a contentious motion.

“Does that mean you will be rejoining the committee?” asked Councilor John Purdon.

Smith just smiled. 

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