The cost of providing rides to seniors and others (for medical appointments, other appointments and shopping/entertainment) is very expensive, Frontenac Transportation Services administrator Gail Young told North Frontenac Council at its regular meeting last Friday in Plevna.
Young, along with Rural Frontenac Community Services director Louise Moody were there at Council’s request, which came at a previous Council meeting in Harlowe.
“Being raised in Henderson, I know the challenges,” Young said. “One of the big issues in this area is that the LHIN (Local Health Integration Network) will only pay for the time the client is in the car so we have to pay for getting drivers to the client.
“We’re working on keeping those costs down.”
“Our problem is geography,” said Moody. “It’s a long way to anywhere and we don’t have a hub like say Bancroft does.
“We’re trying a number of different programs (a Trillium application in 2016 was unsuccessful).”
The average ride in South Frontenac costs $30. The average ride in Central Frontenac costs $55 but the average ride in North Frontenac costs $91.
With 301 rides from April 1 to Dec. 31, North Frontenac accounted for 7 per cent of the ridership. However, at a cost of $41,033, it also accounted for 16 per cent of the total costs. Central Frontenac had 2,511 rides or 56 per cent and 56 per cent of the costs at $140,144. South Frontenac had 1,709 rides or 37 per cent for $68,918 or 28 per cent of the costs.
“It is expensive but I know at least two elderly ladies who are too proud to ask for a subsidy,” said Coun. Gerry Martin.
“We don’t like to call it a subsidy, we say ‘you pay half,’” said Young.
“If the LHIN’s goal is for seniors to age at home, then these programs have to be free,” said Moody.
Mayor Ron Higgins made a friendly amendment to a resolution to publicize the service and call for volunteer drivers.
He also suggested the County could become involved but “if we’re going to ask the County for money then we have to include all four Townships.”
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North Frontenac formally passed its 2018 budget which is now available on the Township website. North Frontenac is asking its ratepayers for 1.42 per cent more than it did in 2017 or $5,765,957. Property assessment increased by 2.48 per cent and while the education portion of the tax bill decreased by 2.82 per cent, the County portion increased by 4.19 per cent.
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This was the first meeting in the new Council Chambers. It’s certainly larger than the room over the fire garage with more room for spectators, a larger municipality style horseshoe arrangement for Council and surprisingly good acoustics.
Lilly Legacy-Zierer picked up the drumming bug playing the snare in her high school marching band. From there, she moved on to a Djembe troupe, the Fire Drums Festival and a host of other percussive pursuits.
And now, she’s the leader of the Frontenac Skies Community Drummers, a group of a dozen drummers ranging in age from 8-13.
“We’re currently rehearsing for the Frontenac’s Got Talent Show, Feb. 16,” she said while putting the kids through their paces at Rural Frontenac Community Services Child Centre in Sharbot Lake.
Armed with support from Blue Skies in the Community, a grant from Community Foundation of Kingston and Area and some buckets donated by Home Hardware in Sharbot Lake, Legacy-Zierer has embarked on a journey to bring world drumming styles together in the northern Frontenacs.
“I was assistant choir director for Young Choristers North when some bucket drummers came and I said ‘why aren’t we doing this?,’” she said. “I went to GREC and told them I’d do this on a volunteer basis and we had 28 students.
“But how can we make this sustainable?”
So, she partnered with Blue Skies in the Community and Rural Frontenac Community Services.
“The sole purpose of this is to have a performance-ready group to support community events, like the Heritage Festival and Santa Claus Parades,” she said.
And, it also gives kids the change to let off some steam.
“Drummers have a lot of energy,” she said. “And this is a way to channel it.
“This is something brand new and it’s based on the West African Dun Dun style of drumming so it’s not only drumming but movement too.”
She said they started off with rudimentary beats using recycled materials and gradually started adding world styles.
“Our bass drum is an old tire I had,” she said. “But it’s extremely rewarding.
“I regularly get parents thanking me.”
She said she’d like to build the program with an international drumming group of high school students and they’ll be holding open auditions for the current group in late February.
“We’ll likely bring in one or two more but that might be difficult because most of the kids say ‘I’m not leaving,’” she said. “My Grade 8 student, Draven Caddick, said he’s coming back to help when he gets to high school to get his volunteer hours.”