| Oct 29, 2009

Back to HomeFeature Article - October 29, 2009 Frontenac County Council – Oct. 27/09By Jeff Green

In the absence of South Frontenac Mayor Gary Davison, who was on his honeymoon, the other three members of Frontenac County Council held off on deciding major matters at their October meeting.

The meeting almost didn’t happen at all, because Frontenac Islands Mayor Jim Vanden Hoek has been away much of the month of October, fulfilling his duties as county caucus chair with the Association of Municipalities of Ontario.

County Council composition debate deferred

The 18-month-old discussion about the future composition of Frontenac County Council was deferred, at which time Frontenac County Council will be under pressure to make a final decision.

“I feel there is a lot of urgency to this,” said North Frontenac Deputy Mayor Jim Beam, the interim representative for North Frontenac on the four-member Council. “There needs to be a public meeting if we decide to make a change, and the four lower-tier municipalities will need to ratify it. That doesn't leave a lot of time before the end of the year. Back in the spring Mayor Vanden Hoek said there was ‘no fire under this’, well now there is.”

Before the matter was deferred Jim Vanden Hoek asked a question about comments that have come back from the four municipalities on council composition.

“My understanding is that three of the municipalities would like to see eight or nine members on council and South Frontenac five, but I am unclear if the second representative from the townships will be a four-year appointment or if we will see new people every year,” he asked

“My understanding is that the second person will be appointed for four years,” said Jim Beam. “Similarly, even though the municipalities did not like the idea of a four-year warden, they felt that should be left up to county council to decide.”

The matter of county council composition was then deferred.

TRAILS: Council did agree, however, to accept the County Trails Master and Implementation Plans, after receiving assurances that neither document ties the county to any funding commitment.

Mayor Vanden Hoek was concerned that the trail not become a county-run program, and sought wording to the effect that a managing partner for the project be sought at the outset.

“I’m trying to separate the county from the activity of the trail. My fear is that if we don’t do this now, it becomes a very large thing that the politicians can’t cut off and move on its own,” he said.

Speaking for the trails development committee, South Frontenac Councilor Alan McPhail said, “The only thing that staff is doing now is putting the implementation plan together, with a new trails advisory committee. Finding a management group for the trail cannot come until we make some basic decisions about the kind of trail we are going to develop.”

The trails implementation committee will now begin its work

Money released for transportation – Frontenac County set aside $80,000 in the 2009 budget for transportation under the heading “Grants to Service Providers”, but the money was held back, pending receipt of a business plan from the fledgling Frontenac Transportation Collaborative.

Rural Routes, which offers transportation service in North and Central Frontenac, and Southern Frontenac Community Services, which does the same in South Frontenac, have been working together to develop a business plan.

That plan was delivered to the county earlier this month. With Mayor Davison absent from the meeting, Mayor Vanden Hoek insisted that the county simply receive the document for information and release the 2009 money to the two agencies involved.

Jane Drew from Rural Routes and Deborah Andrews from Southern Frontenac Community Services expressed relief that the 2009 money will finally be flowing, because their agencies had been stretched to the limit covering the shortfall.

The business plan, which calls for annualized funding from the county in the amount $80,000, will be considered on November 18 at the next county meeting. 

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