Ken Arney does not expect Central Frontenac Township to pull out the large culvert that they put in to allow water from Dead Creek to pass under the Henderson Road a few metres from his home, just because the culvert and the rocks that are holding it in place are jutting onto his property.
He would like to get paid some compensation for the land that has effectively been taken by the township, and he would also like the township to re-install the fence that was pulled down in order to do the work. But mostly he would like some acknowledgement that the township should have shown him some more respect.
“I never heard anything from before they started, not until I began seeing equipment arriving in the last week of November. Then, I saw that the survey stake that marked the border between mine and my neighbours property had been buried, and that the fence marking the border between his property and the township property was gone. That’s when I started asking questions.”
“When I asked the workers what was going on, they told me that they would remove any of the material that was on my property,” said Arney, in an interview at this house this week.
Arney said that he called Central Frontenac Mayor Frances Smith the next day on Saturday, December 1st.
Frances Smith does not recall exactly what she told Arney on the phone on December 1st.
“I would have told him then what I told him when he came to council last month. If we did anything wrong, we will make it right,” she said in a phone interview this week.
The old culvert was removed and the new one installed a few days later, just before freeze up. By Friday, December 7, barely a week before arriving, construction crews were gone.
“What was left is a culvert that is wider and a lot longer than the one that was replaced. I have a copy of the permit they got from Quinte conservation, which says the new culvert will be 15 feet longer, but what is there is much longer than that. The permit also says that a sediment screen should be in place until the site has stabilised and there is no screening in place,” said Arney.
The construction took place after Greer Galloway, an engineering firm working for Central Frontenac, obtained a development permit from Quinte Conservation. The permit was granted on the basis of a report on the project prepared by Greer Galloway and submitted to Quinte Conservation, along with a “construction sequence and dewatering plan” that was submitted by Crains Construction.
The permit sets out six conditions, one being that a 27.5 metre long culvert will be replaced by a 31.5 metre long culvert. It also says that “sediment and erosion controls must be properly installed to isolate the work site from the watercourse and must remain in place until the site has stabilised.”
Quinte Conservation may or may not have visited the site before approving the permit. One of the notes attached to the permit says “Quinte Conservation inspects, some, but not all permits.”
When construction was complete, Ken Arney was not happy with the outcome. He called his local councillors, and eventually all members of council, and asked them to come look at the situation. He went before, and presented his concerns in February.
“They did not apologise. I got the feeling that they thought I was making trouble,” he said about the meeting.
He also said that while council is committed to buying the piece of land that they have effectively appropriated, they are not planning to build a new fence to replace the one that was removed.
He refers to a document he obtained from the public works department of the township, titled “notes on 2138 Henderson Road” which says, in part, “we can also investigate the possibilities of providing services in lieu of payment … (ie. repairing of fence or entrance improvements … )”
France Smith said that it is her understanding that Crains construction is going to replace the fence, and that a surveyor is going to be determining how much land is involved and the township will then purchase it.
“But none of this can happen in the winter,” she said. “We told him that. As I said, if we do anything wrong, we fix it.”
She also said that is it her understanding that Ken Arney was seeking a survey of his whole property as part of the resolution.
“We see no reason to do that, we will only survey what we need to survey,” she said.
Ken Arney is not quite ready to put the matter behind him.
“I think a lot of people messed up; Quinte, Greer Galloway, Crains and the township. Someone should look at this. The culvert is longer than they said it would be, and the sediment is leaching into the creek,” he said.
Addington Highlands Council approved a request to bend the rules on how waste is delivered to one of its waste sites at its regular meeting Tuesday afternoon in Flinton.
The request came from Jenelle and Joseph Rosenblath, who are renovating the 41 Stop business.
“We purchased the property in October, 2018, (and) are attempting to renovate it and open as soon as possible as the summer months approach us,” the Rosenblaths said in a letter to Council. “Our next step is to prepare the site so that above ground fuel tanks can be installed and we need o remove an old free standing garage and deck.
“We would like to take the material to the Vennachar waste site in four large truck loads versus 16 smaller trailer loads as it is simply more convenient and cost effective and likely easier to dump and handle at the waste site.”
Coun. David Miles said he’d be in favour of making an exception to the dump rules in this case.
“But you’d be opening a can of worms,” said Coun. Kirby Thompson. “If you open that up, it’s never going to go away.”
“One of the reasons we have the rules is to discourage that sort of dumping at our waste sites,” said roads/bridges supervisor Brett Reavie.
Mayor Henry Hogg said there would be an option for the Rosenblaths to rent a dumpster but “they’re not cheap.”
“We want to be accommodating to our small businesses but we have to abide by the rules,” said Coun. Helen Yanch.
“We do make exceptions to bylaws on occasion,” said Clerk Christine Reed. “For example, we make exceptions to the noise bylaw.”
“Yes, but the noise goes away eventually, garbage is forever,” said Yanch.
In a recorded vote, Council defeated a motion to deny the request with Yanch and Thompson voting for.
“So, what do we do now?” said Hogg.
The answer was another motion, this time to approve the request. Again, it was a recorded vote and only Yanch voted against.
Council passed bylaws appointing David Twiddy as both Chief Building Official and Municipal Law Enforcement Officer.
Council denied a request from the Skootamatta District Ratepayers Association for $1,000 to test the water quality on Skootamatta Lake.
“I think all lake associations do water testing as part of their raison d’etre,” said Mayor Henry Hogg. “But if we do it for one, we’d have to do it for all.”
“I don’t think we can go down that road,” said Coun. Helen Yanch.
Council passed a motion to receive the request and refer the lake association to Quinte Conservation for assistance.
OPWA rejected as well
A request from the Ontario Public Works Association to proclaim a Public Works Week and hold a “Truck Roadeo” was turned down by Council.
“I don’t think we make proclamations,” said Mayor Henry Hogg.
“Never have,” said Coun. Helen Yanch.
“Unless Brett (roads/bridges supervisor Reavie) wants to do a demonstration of snowplowing,” said Hogg.
Quinte Conservation and the Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority have both declared a level 3 water conditions.
The Quinte declaration includes the Salmon River, which runs from south of Cloyne, through Arden to the Depot Lakes and Stone Mills Township, and eventually into Lake Ontario.
“This is the most severe low water level that Quinte declares. We have received approximately 35% of average rainfall across the watershed in July. This means that some lake and river levels are visibly lower than they would normally be for this time of year. Flows in the Moira, Napa and nee and Salmon Rivers continue to be extremely low and we need a significant amount of rain to change that,” said Quinte Conservation Water Resources Manager, Christine McClure.
A level 3 condition indicates a failure of the water supply to meet demands. It can result in restrictions on water use in municipalities that supply water to their residents, and residents on private wells are asked to voluntarily curtail their water usage in order to keep more water in the system and to keep wells from running dry.
Quinte reports that water levels have become “dangerously low” on the Skootamatta, Black, Salmon, and Napanee rivers. For that reason, Quinte has released water from a number of upstream dams.
“We are attempting to maintain a minimal flow in the rivers to support local ecosystems. These dams have been identified as low flow augmentation structures and are being operated according to their individual operation plans. Residents above the dams we are operating will notice a decline in their water levels,” said McClure.
The dams that have been activated include the Deer Rock Lake Dam, the Upper Arden Dam, the Second and Third Depot Lake Dams, and the 13 Island Lake Dam. Water has not yet been released through the Skootamatta Lake Dam but Quinte says it might do so if “conditions warrant”.
Residents and businesses located along the Salmon River watershed that experience dry wells or other water-related issues are asked to call Quinte at 613-968-3434 or 613-354-3312, ext. 129. Tips for conserving water are available at Quinteconservation.ca
On Wednesday morning (August 10) The Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority (CRCA) followed Quinte's lead and made a level 3 declaration. CRCA covers lakes ans streams in the eastern and Central part of South Frontenac, including Dog, Collins, Loughborough and Sydenham Lakes as well as the Cataraqui River.
Teh CRCA explained the circumstnces which led to the declaration in a release on Wednesday, which poined ominously towards low water levels through the summer and fall seasons.
"The last four months (April through July) were some of the driest ever recorded in the Kingston area. Only 10 mm of rain fell, on average, across the CRCA in the last 30 days (average is ~70 mm) and there has been essentially no rain yet in August, 1/3 of the way through the month. Stream flows are now exceptionally low, close to the lowest ever recorded, with some streams having dried up entirely. Lake levels across the CRCA, and eastern Ontario, have been falling due to evaporation (as much as 2.5 cm each day), and are as much as 20 cm below normal for this time of year. These low levels will be potentially exposing hazards that are normally irrelevant. Recreational users (swimmers, boaters, etc.) should exercise caution. These low levels are expected to persist into winter conditions."
Conservation is the only means that residents can employ to stretch the dwindling water resource. the CRCA published a chart outlining how household water use breaks down to help South Frontenac residenst controltheir usage. Toilet flushing accounts for 24% of water use, showers and faucets both account for about 20%, clothes washers 17%, leaks 12%, baths 4% and dishwashers 1%. So, plugging leaks, using low water flushing techniques, and following the old hippy adage (if its yellow let it mellow, if its brown flush it down) might be the best advice going in the coming months.
Full fire bans are in place in South, Central and North Frontenac, Addington Highlands and the City of Kingston. Small campfires are still permitted in Lanark County, and there are fire restrictions at provincial campgrounds. Check with the campgrounds for details.
As the weather continues its hot and dry pattern, local conservation authorities are sounding the alarm bells.
The Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority issued a statement this week, on Monday, June 20.
The statement said the Mississippi River is in a minor drought condition, but that the tributaries are now experiencing a moderate to severe drought. Flows in the river are at 25% of the norm and in the tributaries the flows are at 10% of the norm. While lake water levels remain at the summer average, they are starting to drop.
“Water conservation is recommended for everyone within the watershed,” said the statement.
Quinte Region Conservation issued a level 1 low water warning in early June, and has requested that homes and businesses reduce water consumption by 10%.
Both the Cataraqui Region Conservation (CRCA) and Rideau Valley Conservation Authorities (RVCA) issued slightly more optimistic statements just after some heavy rains in early June. On June 7, the CRCA said it was maintaining its minor drought level even though 20-50 mm of rain had fallen on the watershed in the two previous days. On June 9, citing the same rains, the RVCA downgraded its warning to minor. With little rain since then except for heavy but spotty thunderstorms on Monday, the next statements from both the CRCA and RVCA will likely be more dire.
Residents in all districts are advised to check for fire bans before lighting any fires, as bans have been issued in different jurisdictions at different times over the past month (see editorial).
On April 20, close to 70 enthusiastic volunteers gathered at the boat launch at Deerock Lake near Flinton, armed with gloves and bags, eager to clean up the mess that careless campers left behind over the years.
The lake, which is located in the Elzevir Peatlands Conservations Reserve, is protected under the Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves Act and receives the same kind of protection that the local provincial parks do.
The area attracts campers and fishers, and offers 28 picturesque campsites. Most of them are located on small islands, and are free to visitors on a first-come-first-serve basis.
Unfortunately, campers have failed to heed the sign on the road leading to the boat launch that reads: “Please, take nothing but pictures; leave nothing but foot prints.”
The cleanup was initiated by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) and was also supported by Quinte Conservation, who owns the 60-70 acre parcel of land in and around the boat launch.
They were joined by numerous local groups and organizations, including members of the Conservationists of Frontenac Addington (COFA); the Frontenac Addington Trappers Council; the Township of Addington Highlands as well as staff and students from North Addington Education Centre; and employees from the Milestone Funeral Center in Northbrook.
The event demonstrated how cooperation between like-minded groups can positively impact the natural environment they share. The event was headed up by Justin Punchard, a partnership specialist with the MNRF, who works for the Peterborough district at the Kingston field office.
Punchard instructed and organized the volunteers, who met at the boat launch at 9am and were supplied with a map of the lake, rubber gloves and plastic bags. They then took to their boats and headed out to their designated locations on the lake.
“The goal here today is to clean up all of the campsites and surrounding shoreline to ensure the sustainable use of the site for the future, and to return it back to its natural state,” Punchard said. He said that the group would be collecting mostly household recyclables, like pop cans and pop bottles, but also numerous lawn chairs that were left behind to rot.
Addington Highlands Township provided a large bin and a tri-axle dump truck, the former to collect recyclables and the latter to collect garbage. Both delivered the waste to the Kaladar dumpsite later that day. Toxic materials were also separated and hauled off. Those planning to visit the site this year will no doubt notice a big change.
Terry Murphy, manager of Quinte Conservation, said that the area is a very popular fishing place. “We are hoping that by cleaning up the islands and doing a good public relations job, we'll be able to convince users to keep the lake and the islands clean so we can keep the access to the lake open to the public. We want people to be able to use the area, but we also want people to respect it”, Murphy said.
Wilf Deline, president of the Frontenac Addington Trappers Council, had the same motivation for taking part. “This is our backyard and where we live, so it's important for us to be here today to help, and we just hope that people down the road keep it clean.”
Punchard thanked staff from Quinte Conservation, who he said are key stakeholders, and also thanked all the volunteers and other local resource groups who made the event so successful.
Visitors to the area are required to pay $10 for parking in the summer months, which will be managed by local students, who will also be responsible for educating the public about keeping the area clean. Murphy said that this event is the first massive cleanup of the area and he hopes it won't have to happen again.
Conservation authorities throughout the region were posting and updating flood advisories early this week as the higher than average winter runoff combined with the latest in a series of spring rains caused floods along the Mississippi, Rideau, Quinte and Cataraqui Conservation area watersheds. Among the hardest hit areas in the Frontenac News' region were places in the vicinity of Arden in the Salmon River watershed and Verona in the Salmon and Napanee River watersheds, both of which are watched over by Quinte Conservation.
Bryon Keene, the water resources manager for Quinte Conservation, said on Tuesday that, “Overnight rainfall Monday and the present downpour are contributing to rising levels in the headwater areas and this water still has to pass downstream.”
Among the water flow monitors that Quinte has in place is one at Depot Creek at Bellrock Road. The flow rate at that location was high last week, and then dropped over the weekend but has since jumped up with the Monday night rains. On Tuesday morning the flow rate was 18.9 metres per second, 3.5 times the average flow for that location, and by 7 pm the rate had risen to 19.7 metres.
Keene said he expects that rate to continue to rise, and even after it peaks it will not likely start to decline for a number of days. Low-lying areas in Verona have been affected, including some businesses along Verona Main Street.
“We only have one way of controlling the water flowing through the Napanee River watershed, and that is by storing water in the Depot lakes. At this point the lakes are full so we don't really have anything we can do.”
The Salmon River has overflowed its banks as it rushes south through a culvert on Highway 7 at the Arden exit, flooding a park along the highway as well as a small section of the Arden road.
The situation is more dire for a number of residents living on the Elm Tree Road, which is downstream from Big Clear Lake before it feeds into the Salmon River.
Several back and front yards are under several feet of water, and one home is surrounded by water.
A few houses over, Rob Woodcock's woodpile and picnic table are under water and he is concerned that a holding tank he put in last year will be ruined by the flood waters. “The water level was high over the weekend but last night it went up another two feet,” he said.
Mississippi Valley Conservation has issued a flood warning for Dalhousie Lake and further downstream towards Carleton Place, and also along the Fall River. The already high waters of Sharbot and Bennett Lakes are expected to rise by 5-10 centimetres in the coming days.
Cataraqui Region Conservation is maintaining a flood warning for a number of lakes, including Sydenham, Loughborough and Buck. A number of creeks that were going down last week and are not considered in the flood warning area, have risen as the result of rains this week but are expected to start dropping back by the end of the work week. These include Wilton Creek, Millhaven Creek, Collins Creek, Little Cataraqui Creek, Lyn Creek, and Buells Creek.
Bobs Lake is a key reservoir lake for the Rideau watershed, and Rideau Valley Conservation reports that it has risen by over a metre since mid-March. As of early this week it had gone above its upper limit at 163 metres; therefore water will be released at the Bolingbroke dam, relieving flood concerns at Bobs Lake but creating more concern downstream towards the City of Ottawa.
Conservation authority officials point out that they are responsible for monitoring water levels and exercising control where they can; however, it is the local townships that are responsible for dealing with flooding if it affects residents. In most cases, the main concern of the local townships has been the effect of high water levels on local roads, and crews have been busy repairing culverts and some washed out roads.
In Central Frontenac a family living in a rented dwelling at the far end of Burke Settlement Road has been forced to leave because their road has been washed out twice, and is not being repaired by a contractor. Alan Kehoe reports that he was forced to leave on Tuesday, April 8, when his washed out road was so filled with water that fire crews had to come in and take his girlfriend and their newborn child out in a boat. They are now staying with family, as is his father, a dialysis patient who lives on the same property.
Alan Kehoe is not pleased with how the road issues were dealt with by the township. “At one point [public works manager] Mike Richardson told me I should park my car on the other side of the road and carry my child across. But the water was high and there was a current and it wasn't safe. Later when he was here I heard him say to one of his workers that he did not realise the water was so high.”
For his part Mike Richardson acknowledged he suggested Kehoe carry his child across. “But at that point the water was only 2 or 3 inches deep. It became a more serious situation a few days later when the water kept coming even after we had replaced culverts and even cut a hole in the road to let water run off. That's when we needed the fire crew to get them out.”
The Kehoes did return home on Saturday night (April 12), but were forced to leave again on Monday morning (April 14) after more rain came.
Speaking on Tuesday, Mike Richardson said it will be another two days, at least, before the Crains' Construction crews will have the road repair complete.
Meanwhile road crews in all local townships are busy trying to keep all the roads open and drivers are being warned to exercise caution on the roads.