| Nov 09, 2016

Sale of Road Allowance puts an end to years of debate

It is not often that the ghost of the founder of Flinton, the legendary Senator and business man Billa Flint, is brought up in the context of a decision by a contemporary council. But that is what happened on Monday (November 7) in the context of a decision to sell a 32 by 40 foot parcel of land behind the former United Church in Flinton to the Orser family.

The Orsers purchased the church 5 years ago and have been struggling ever since to obtain the necessary approvals to put in a septic system behind the building. The solution that came to Council for final approval on Monday was for them to sell part of the road allowance to the adjacent Skootamatta River to the Orsers.

Three delegations came forward to comment on the proposed sale. One, James Wood, merely sought clarification. Another, June Phillips and Caol Lessard from the Addington Highlands Public Library, which has a branch next door to the former church, objected to the sale on the grounds that it will impinge on their ability to run outdoor children programs next to the library. They noted as well, in their written submission, that “the neighbour looking to purchase the property has caused many access issues. If he is able to purchase any part of the property we feel these problems will grow.”

The most vociferous opponent to the proposal was Flinton resident Bruce Hasler. He asked council if they considered themselves wiser than all of those who have served on council “for the last 157 years since the road allowance was established by Bella Flint and surveyed by John Emerson in 1859.”

He said, “I would think that you would have to have the ego of Trump to put yourselves above all those smart people and stop and sell this property after all this time.”

He added that “any councilor who votes for this bylaw is guilty of ignoring the rights of taxpayers, and should resign.”

Councilors Tony Fritsch, Kirby Thompson, and Deputy Reeve Helen Yanch all briefly engaged in back and forth comments with Hasler, saying they looked at all of the issues before coming to the decision and that the right of way will still be in place, though it will be narrowed for a 40 foot stretch.

Later in the meeting, after the opponents and the Orser family had left the meeting, the sale came up for approval. Councilor's Thompson and Fritsch both said that they would like to see a low fence constructed to mark off the edge of the road allowance and the new boundary of the Orser property.

Council agreed that the township should pay for the fence because it is for the townships benefit that it is being constructed. The Orsers need only agree to its construction in order for the sale to be approved at the next meeting.

A discussion about whether it was possible to prohibit the Orsers from parking in front of the library fizzled when council realised that their only option was to prohibit all parking in that location, which would not help anyone.

“The Orsers should just be encouraged to park on their own property,” said Helen Yanch.

Police report

Napanee Detachment Commander Pat Finnegan made his quarterly visit to council, outlining the activities of the OPP in Addington Highlands over the summer months.

He paid particular attention to a letter that the township forwarded to his office that came from Robert Taylor, who operates a fruit and vegetable stand in front of his property on Hwy. 41 in Northbrook. In his letter, Taylor said that traffic travels at high speed in that part of Northbrook, and dangerous driving is rampant. He said that the police presence in Northbrook has gone down in recent years and that had made the problem worse.

Finnegan said that he appreciates the letter, and thanked Council for forwarding it, and added that “we responded by taking a closer look at that is going on there and at our activities. We need to determine, in these cases, if there is major problem or just the perception of a major problem.”

While Finnegan said it is true that many northbound summer drivers start speeding up in Northbrook well before they reach the 80 km zone, there has been no spike in incidents in that location.

He also said that the detachment is less likely to park a police car with a radar gun in a fixed location these days “because it has been shown to be ineffective. People slow down when they see the police and when they get out of sight they just speed up again.”

Instead, he said they often use unmarked cars with mobile radar and other techniques to patrol the roadways.

All told, 700 motor vehicle charges have been laid in Addington Highlands this year, 588 between June 1 and September 30th. Most of those have been provincial offences such as speeding, seat belt infractions, cell phone use by drivers, etc. That figure includes patrols along Hwy. 7 in the the township as well as on Hwy. 41 and other arterial and back roads.

Finnegan also said that the OPP is investigating vandalism at the former Northbrook fire hall. It was broken into, covered in graffiti, some of it anti-police, and some furniture that was stored in the building was destroyed. Finnegan indicated that he expects the investigation will turn up the culprits eventually.

The hall has since been emptied and the doors secured.

Kaladar Comunity Hall

Council received a letter from Penny Hinchey, the secretary of the Kaladar Community Club, regarding the future of the Kaladar hall. The letter outlined the difficulty the club as encountered keeping the hall in operation, which has recently become more acute when the Land O'Lakes Tourist Association stopped renting office space in the hall.

“So my question to you is, rather than shutting the hall down, which would be a huge loss to the community, is it possible for the township to basically take over the hall?” Hinchey said in her letter.

Hinchey added that she believes this has been done with the Cloyne, Harlowe and Denbigh Halls, and concluded her letter by saying, “hoping to hear back from you before we have to take some drastic decisions.”

Reeve Hogg said first that the Cloyne and Harlowe Halls are not in the township.

The township does, however, maintain the Flinton Recreation Centre, the Family Health Team Building in Northbrook and both the Denbigh Hall and the Denbigh Recreation Centre.

“I think we should ask them for a financial statement to see what we are looking at here,” said Councilor Tony Fritsch.

Denbigh Recreation Centre

Council received the engineering plans for renovating the kitchen at the Denbigh Recreation Centre but will not take on the project unless a grant can be found to help pay the cost.

Flinton Recreation Centre.

A $24,000 contract was awarded to Hook's for the supply and installation of new flooring in the Flinton Recreation Centre. The top floor will be done in 2016 and the bottom in early 2017 in order to spread the cost over two budget years.

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