| Oct 29, 2009

Back to HomeFeature Article - October 29, 2009 North Frontenac  CouncilBy Jeff Green

North Frontenac Crown roads to be accessed by ATV tourists

It's a matter of third time lucky for the Eastern Ontario Trails Association (EOTA).

The ATV tourism association based in Tweed has developed an extensive trail network in Eastern Ontario. It has approached North Frontenac Township at least twice before, seeking to include a series of roads and trails that the township manages for the Ministry of Natural Resources, without success.

The roads and trails are located on Crown land but are managed by the township under an agreement with the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR), called the Crown Land Stewardship Program (CLSP). The township sells permits to use the roads, which access waterfront properties and wilderness campgrounds, and in 2008 raised almost $24,000 through the sale of permits.

This money, in addition to some small grants from the MNR, was used for maintenance on those roads, but the township has never been able to raise enough money to adequately maintain the roads and trails, leading to complaints from ratepayers who use them to access their properties.

In the past North Frontenac has been concerned about lost income if the EOTA passes were accepted in place of the township’s own road permits, and about the wear and tear that increased ATV tourism might bring to the often muddy trails and roads.

A change in the township’s position came in September, when Deputy Mayor Jim Beam and Corey Klatt, the staff member who supervises the Crown land roads for the township, met with Cindy Cassidy of the Eastern Ontario Trails Alliance.

As the result of that meeting, EOTA has offered to pay $14,000 as a one-time grant to cover repairs the township made to one of the Crown land roads this year, and going forward, EOTA will guarantee the $24,000 annually that the township currently receives from selling passes.

In his report to council regarding the proposal, Cory Klatt noted several potential benefits to the scheme, including: inclusion of the North Frontenac trails in the EOTA trail map which is “extensively circulated throughout Ontario”; increased income; improved signage; enhanced OPP monitoring; and economic development opportunities for local businesses due to an increase in the use of local trails.

Klatt proposed that the township enter into an agreement with EOTA, which would be subject to review at the end of next year, and each year after that.

Council accepted the proposal at their meeting last week (October 22). Corey Klatt will represent the township on the EOTA Board of Directors.

NEW PLEVNA LIBRARY BRANCH TAKING SHAPE – limited space available for archives.

Ever since mould was found in the Clarendon and Miller Hall in Plevna almost two years ago, there has been no library branch in the central part of North Frontenac Township.

As time passed and the situation in the hall was finally determined to be irresolvable, it became apparent an alternate location would have to be found. A portable classroom became available and the township transferred it to a property that was formerly occupied by the Ministry of Natural Resources. It was hoped that the building would also be able to provide increased space for the Clarendon and Miller Community Archives, which occupied a closet in the old building.

The township has done extensive work preparing the building for use, including the construction of a handicapped accessible washroom. In addition, two extra computer stations were added to the branch as public high-speed internet stations, which will also take up space.

The Kingston Frontenac Public Library operates the branch, which is linked to 14 other branches in the library system. The library board has invested $30,000 in flooring, shelving, computer desks and furniture for the building. They will also be supplying materials to the branch, as well staffing it and paying internet costs.

The township will pay for staffing for increased time in the building so the public can access the extra computers, in accordance with a commitment the township has made under the Rural Connections Broadband Program.

With the large (90 square foot) bathroom, the branch will only have 623 square feet of usable space, almost all of which is required for library use, and in a report to council, township staff recommended that only a limited amount of space be devoted to the Clarendon and Miller Community Archives, in the hopes that a larger space can be found to house the archives in the future.

The report was accepted by council.

Other notes from NF Council:

There is a surplus of more than $20,000 in the township’s wildfire budget this year. Because of an unusually wet summer, only $514 was spent out of the $20,600 budget.

Township Fire Chief Steve Riddell recommended that $15,000 of the $20,000 left over be spent on new pumps for township fire crews. The current pumps take 10 minutes to fill the township’s tanker trucks. The new pumps, which have a capacity of 550 gallons a minute, will be able to do the job in half the time.

“It's very frustrating for an incident commander to be able to see water, but not be able to access it because they don’t have the right equipment,” Riddell said in support of this request.

He also pointed out that the township put $25,000 aside to reimburse the Ministry of Natural Resources for any possible use of their resources to fight wildfires this year, and none of that money was used, so the township’s wildfire reserve fund will still see a healthy increase due to the wet summer even if the pumps are purchased.

Council granted Riddell's request.

Robertsville culvert project – Council gave staff leave to open a tender document for the reconstruction project, and installation of a large culvert on Robertsville Road. The project, which is supported by a $300,000 infrastructure stimulus grant, needs to be completed before the onset of winter. The tender, which will be opened on October 29, will be granted by the CAO in conjunction with the project manager. 

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