Jeff Green | Oct 06, 2011
AH Council to tackle tricky roads issue, later –
Periodically, requests come into Addington Highlands Council to provide some sort of maintenance, ranging from minimal grading to major repairs, on roads that are owned but no longer maintained by the township.
There is usually some memory, either on the part of the resident or a long-time member of township staff, of a time when the road was maintained, but at some point either no one was living on the road or the use was reduced to a couple of weeks in the summer or hunting season, and the road fell off the summer and winter maintenance schedule.
Council is currently faced with a number of requests for limited maintenance on “un-maintained township roads” and Reeve Henry Hogg brought the matter to council’s attention at their meeting on October 3.
“We have no money right now. The first thing we need to do is let people know that there is nothing in our budget this year. A short ‘no’ is better than a long ‘maybe’. After that we can look at a policy for next year and at our 2012 budget,” said Reeve Hogg.
“Maybe this year we can work on a policy, and accept applications in future years,” said Councillor Adam Snider.
“I think it’s high time we do this. We have to start somewhere and this is a good place to start,” said Councillor Helen Yanch. “People have to have a road to get to their property.”
Roads Superintendent Royce Rosenblath said he did not think that he had the time or the expertise to come up with a policy.
“It’s going to be a legal document,” he said. “We might need a consultant to help us with this.”
Council does have a roads committee, which has not been meeting on a regular basis, but they will be able to look at the broad issues, and the engineering firm that the township uses for road and bridge construction and biennial roads need studies, Jewel Engineering, will be approached to provide input to the committee.
Clerk Treasurer Jack Pauhl pointed out for council’s benefit that according to Rusty Russel, the author of “Russel on Roads”, which is the most renowned text on the legalities surrounding municipal roads, a township is within its rights to pass a bylaw to eliminate its responsibility for roads without closing the roads.
“Nobody has actually attempted to do this to my knowledge,” Pauhl added.
Pauhl will contact everyone who has requested maintenance on this class of roads to inform them that there will be no work done in 2011, and Royce Rosenblath will be contacting Jewell Engineering.
Lake association to look at Official Plan – James Oborne attended as a delegation to Council. Oborne has recently taken over as president of the Skootamatta and District Ratepayers Association (SDRA), and he appeared before council for two purposes. One was to calm some ruffled feathers after the association’s Annual General Meeting in August.
“At the AGM there were some statements made that the township is fixing up roads for loggers. We can assure you that has never happened. But to hear those statements from the president of the association makes me not want to attend next year’s meeting,” said Henry Hogg.
“I apologise for that statement,” said James Oborne, “it does not reflect the views of the current executive.”
Oborne also talked about some of the issues that have led to delays in the development of a lake plan for Skootamatta, Sheldrake and Pringle Lakes, which are part of the SDRA territory.
Health issues among active members of the association, along with starting up a side project on the history of the lake are two of the major factors causing the delay, he said.
This brought him to the second purpose of his visit.
“As a lakeside community, we are asking for permission from council to start a dialogue with Mr. John Uhliana of the IBI group, the consultants who are working on the update to the Addington Highlands Official Plan,” said Oborne. “There are a number of issues we would like to address.”
Financial statements - At the close of his 30-minute discussion of township finances, including capital costs, reserve funds, pension responsibilities, etc., Martin Secker, of the firm Secker, Ross and Perry, pointed out that “with a payroll of $1.1 million, the township itself is the largest employer in Addington Highlands, and even though not all of the other million spent by the township in goods is spent locally, the township is definitely a very large player in the local economy.”
Garbage burning complaint - Council debated how to deal with complaints about garbage that was being burned in the village of Flinton, leading to calls for a ban on outdoor burning in villages or even a township-wide ban of burn barrels, which has happened elsewhere. Fire Chief Casey Cuddy said that people should contact him at the burn permit number, 613-336-1850, with their complaints.
Loader/backhoe and fire hall roof – A new JCB Loader/backhoe, which is replacing an 18-year-old machine, will be purchased from Joha Equipment.
The roof at the Denbigh Hall is being replaced, but the contractor’s price to buy and install a new fan was higher than the budgeted amount, and one will not be purchased at this time.