| Aug 27, 2009

Back to HomeFeature Article - August 27, 2009 Central Frontenac Council - Aug 25/09By Jeff Green

Official Plan amendment approved for seniors’ housing complex

A proposal to amend the Official Plan of Central Frontenac Township to create a rural multi-residential zone in order to permit the North Frontenac Not-For-Profit Housing Corporation to build a five-unit seniors’ complex, was approved by council this week.

The proposal was set for consideration at a council meeting on August 10, but township Planning Consultant Glenn Tunnock said that some information about water quality and quantity at the proposed site had not been received, and the proposal was deferred.

At this week's meeting (August 25) Tunnock said, “That now has been done: the water supply has been secured based on pumping; treatment will be required because of sodium and other mineral content, but the proposed filtration system is sufficient.”

In recommending that Council approve the amendment, Tunnock described it as “smart planning, which meets the requirements of the Official Plan.”

Before Glenn Tunnock spoke, Susan Irwin addressed council. She talked about a group that she was involved in forming last year in response to a request from then Sharbot Lake/Parham/Maberly United Church Minister Patsy Henry to look at seniors’ housing. “There is a real need for seniors’ housing,” Irwin said, “this is the tip of the iceberg. I don’t want to get into the specifics of this project, but I want to talk about the need. There is a need for multiple types of projects.”

Mary McIntyre, the Housing Programs Administrator with the City of Kingston, then outlined the characteristics and timelines of the funding programs that are being accessed by the project. “I think they [North Frontenac Not For Profit Housing] provided a great plan. The building will be on one floor, fully accessible, perfect for seniors,” she said.

While the project was originally approved under one funding program, McIntyre now recommends that it be done using a federal economic stimulus program, for which the timelines are very tight. “We are planning to submit this for the September 30 deadline for those funds,” she said, “but we cannot do that if the planning process is not substantially completed.”

When asked by Councilor Gary Smith about timelines, McIntyre said it would take a minimum of 60 days for the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing to approve the Official Plan amendment.

“What about an appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board?” Smith then asked.

“If there is any chance that there will be an appeal, we can't take a chance on applying for the funds,” McIntyre said.

Council approved the Official Plan amendment.

An appeal to the Municipal Board has already been promised, which may delay the project from its projected start date late this year.

A letter entitled an “Open Letter to Residents of Clement and Wagner Roads” which was released to the media, includes the following text: “...we are planning to appeal this well-meaning but ill advised project to the Ontario Municipal Board.”

The two-page letter, which is not signed but includes as contacts the phone numbers of Michelle Greenstreet and Roy or Shelley Sepa, was circulated by Roy Sepa at the council meeting. It said, “We are not against seniors housing, or the project’s environmentally friendly design. ... But after investigating the project's design and the process followed, we were all unanimously against the process and the project's siting.” 

Snowmobile club – lake association told to work it out themselves

A proposal to permit a township road allowance onto Horseshoe Lake (near Arden) to be used by the Ridge Runnners Snowmobile Club, was defeated by Central Frontenac Council at their meeting on August 25 in Sharbot Lake.

The proposal had the support of township staff, but at least two members of council said they voted against it in order to encourage the Ridge Runners and the Horseshoe Lake Association to work out an agreement for the use of a larger privately held boat launch onto the lake.

Don Fenwick appeared before Council representing the Ridge Runners, and Bob Stinson, a Horseshoe Lake resident who owns property on both sides of the road allowance, represented the lake association.

Stinson reported, as did Councilor Gary Smith (a Horseshoe Lake Association member himself), that at the association’s AGM, the use of the boat launch by the club received majority support, while the road allowance option was rejected.

The problem, as both Stinson and Fenwick (who just happen to be 4th cousins) acknowledged, is that the ownership of the boat launch is unclear.

“It might be the property of the developer who established all the building lots on the lake,” said Stinson, “but we don't know who that person is.”

“The road allowance is preferable, because we can’t sign an agreement if we don’t know who owns the land,” Fenwick said.

Mr. Stinson then said, “I should point out to council that if the road allowance is approved as a snowmobile trail I will be seeking a reduction in my taxes because my lot will no longer be suitable for a year-round residency, and I will also change my plans, which now are to build a year-round residence on my property. So there will be a cost to the township in reduced tax revenue because the new house will not be built.”

In a recorded vote, six members of council voted against the proposal to allow the Ridge Runners access to the road allowance, and three voted in favour (including Councilors Bill Snyder and Jeff Matson and Mayor Janet Gutowski)

“I voted no to this because I would like to see you guys work this out by yourselves, using the boat launch,” said Councilor Frances Smith. ”If this comes back again I will probably vote for it, but I would like to see a private solution.”

“I feel the same way,” said Councilor Gary Smith.

FINANCIAL STATEMENTS – After going through some of the detail regarding the township’s 2008 financial statements, Vicky Leakey, of the auditing company KPMG, said she could see no “material weakness in the information provided, and no fraud or possibility of fraud was found.”

PAY YOUR TAXES – The council approved borrowing that may be necessary to cover the costs of almost $3 million in public works projects that are to be 2/3 funded by federal and provincial stimulus funds. Among the projects are road upgrades and construction, the township office extension and a salt storage dome. There may be a delay in receiving federal funding for the projects, although prompt payment is being promised.

“Can we borrow from some of our reserve funds?” asked Councilor Norm Guntensperger.

Treasurer Judy Gray explained that the reserve funds are not necessarily money in the bank, since the township always has tax revenue that is outstanding.

“So if everybody paid their taxes then we could borrow from ourselves,” said Judy Gray.

“You hear that councilors? We all need to pay up!” said the mayor.

Gray added that the township is in a positive position at the moment, and borrowing may not be necessary before the grant money comes in.

GRAVEL CONTRACT TO CRAINS’ – With a bid of $522,775, Crains’ Construction was awarded a tender for supply and application of gravel under one of the stimulus grant programs. Crains’ bid was not the lowest, but after looking at the offers more closely it was determined that the lowest bidder had used different calculations, and in accounting for that it was determined that Crains’ was indeed lower by about $20,000. The contract is within the budget that was prepared by township staff member Steve Reynolds.

NEW HIGH SPEED GRANT COULD HELP ARDEN, BUT NOT NOW – Mayor Gutowski reported that Eastern Ontario has been the recipient of a large portion of the provincial grant money for rural broadband, and that the money is intended to beef up the internet backbone.

“As people use more and more streaming video and other internet applications, the capacity to deliver more information will be important. It's comparable to having a party line and a private line,” Gutowski said of the project, which will be moving forward to the request for proposal stage next month.

“I would say places where it is well known there is fiber in the ground might become attractive. I think in the long run this might be a positive thing for places like Arden, but nothing will happen immediately,” she said.

KUDOS TO SWIM PROGRAM: “I'd like to thank you for another great program and a very professional report,” said Councilor Norm Guntensperger to instructors Aleris Cronk and Kristin Hawley on receipt of their swim program final report. One hundred and forty-five students enrolled in the program this year, a significant increase, and the vast majority successfully obtained their goals.

The instructors recommended some improvements to the fundraising swim-a-thon for next year and pointed out other minor changes they would like to see. 

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