| Oct 15, 2009

Back to HomeFeature Article - October 16, 2009 North Frontenac CouncilBy Jeff Green

Shrinking Broadband Budget

North Frontenac Township is still in negotiations with Omniglobe Corporation over the delivery of broadband internet service in North Frontenac Township, the News has learned.

Maureen O'Higgins from Actionable Intelligence, the consultants that are handling the project for the township, has been in negotiations with Omniglobe.

Originally, towers were planned for the Village of Ompah and Gull Lake as well as repeater towers at Canonto, Mosque and Shabomeka Lakes, in addition to an upgrade to the service provided for the village of Cloyne.

“Omniglobe is trying to downscale the project from what it was originally planned to be,” said North Frontenac Deputy Mayor Jim Beam in a telephone interview on Tuesday. “With the economy being what it is they have not had the uptake from seasonal residents that they had originally foreseen.”

The issue was discussed at an in camera council meeting in late September.

There are no details available as to which regions Omniglobe is still interested in and which regions they want to avoid.

Deputy Mayor Beam did say that a CRTC ruling in September might lead Bell Canada to reconsider its rural broadband service and begin to add service in communities such as Ompah within the next year.

“The situation is still in flux,” Beam said, “we are relying on Maureen O'Higgins to work this out with Omniglobe and we will go from there.” 

Ragged Chutes Road joins the queue

Beverley Elliott, who has a seasonal residence at 1460 Ragged Chutes Lane, appeared before North Frontenac Council last week (October 8), seeking “grading once a year and gravelling of surface and repair of washouts, etc. as required.”

The township provides maintenance on Ragged Chutes Road, but, as a road sign indicates, when Ragged Chutes Road ends and Ragged Chutes Lane begins, the township trucks turn around.

A previous written request by Beverley and Murray Mitchell in 2008 yielded the following explanation: “ ... Ragged Chutes Road and Ragged Chutes Lane is a municipal road allowance, however the reason for the 'split' is the 'Road section' is maintained and always has been and the 'Lane Section' is not and never has been maintained.”

However, according to Beverley Elliott, the Lane section was maintained up until 2002, when that maintenance stopped. “According to Courtland Kelford, who was working for the municipality, that road was maintained before amalgamation and for four years afterwards. He said it was not graded as often as the other part, but he did grade it once a year. Now we are left with .8 kilometre of road to maintain, and a lot of people use that road to get to the Ragged Chutes.”

“We have no record of maintenance on that section,” said Public Works Manager John Ibey. “That doesn't mean none was ever done, but we have no record of any work.”

There was a washout on Ragged Chutes Lane, and when the Mitchells requested that the township repair it, the request was denied.

“I don't feel that the Elliott family should maintain .8 kilometres of that road going into the Ragged Chutes,” said Councilor Bob Olmstead. “People go in there and have picnics; they camp in there. Why should the Elliotts be responsible?”

“It falls in the same category as private lanes,” said Councilor Wayne Good. “We've had a lot of people come here asking for help in Private Lanes. It would break us if we started to maintain these roads.”

“It is not a private lane, it is a township road allowance and it was maintained until 2002,” Beverley Elliott reiterated.

“There were things going on in the first two or three years of amalgamation that I wasn't aware of,” said John Ibey.

Deputy Mayor Jim Beam, who was chairing the meeting in the absence of Mayor Maguire, said he would like to see something in writing from Courtland Kelford confirming that the road was at one time a township maintained road.

“I don't think it matters if someone maintained the road,” said Wayne Good. “He may have taken it on himself, but we need to see if there was any direction from council”.

“Still, I'd like to keep this request on file until we see something in writing from Kelford,” said Jim Beam.

“Patriot missile” letter misses the mark with Council 

Council did not look kindly at a letter that they received from Dave Winney. The satirical letter, entitled “Patriot Missiles in North Frontenac”, contains a suggestion that anti-personnel mines be used to prevent bears from accessing township dumpsites, and that patriot missiles be used on turkey vultures. It goes on to complain about the clear garbage bag rule that is now in place at all township dump sites. Mr. Winney writes that he has purchased boxes containing hundreds of green garbage bags he can no longer use because the new rule was brought in too quickly.

Council did not find the letter amusing.

“The letter is offensive and threatening and does not deserve a response,” said Deputy Mayor Beam.

“Maybe it should be passed to the OPP because it is a threatening letter,” said Councilor Wayne Good.

(Note: the Winney letter was submitted to the Frontenac News several weeks ago, but was not published, primarily because of its length. (Click here to read letter)

Pandemic Plan - North Frontenac has completed a Pandemic plan. Jenny Duhamel, who prepared the plan, will be meeting with all members of township staff to go over the protocol that will be in place should the H1N1 flu strain become a major problem in the township. (North Frontenac is the only jurisdiction in Frontenac County to have a plan in place thus far)

County – In response to a questionnaire on Frontenac County Governance, North Frontenac Council decided to re-state its position endorsing a nine-vote council as an alternative to the current four-vote council.

Deputy Mayor Beam reported that the matter may be discussed at a county meeting on October 21, but no vote can be taken because South Frontenac Mayor Davison will not be at the meeting.

“One member of council is going away so the council can't discuss something; that's exactly why they need to make a change,” said Councilor Lonnie Watkins.

“I think they are just delaying,” said Councilor Wayne Good. “The mayors don't want to forfeit some of their power.”

Task forces disbanded – Now that a long-term waste management plan has been completed, the waste management task force has been disbanded. Another task force, which has been dealing with roads, has completed a report, but it has not come to council because it must first be vetted by the township’s solicitor. Nonetheless, its work now completed, the roads task force has also been disbanded.

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