| Aug 14, 2019

“I’ve never had an information report defeated before, I guess it’s non-information,” Mayor Frances Smith said at Central Frontenac Council’s regular meeting Tuesday night at Oso Hall in Sharbot Lake.

The report in question came from Fire Chief and Director of Emergency Services Greg Robinson.

Staff department heads in all townships regularly give monthly reports and they’re almost exclusively rubber-stamped by councils.

But not this time.

Councilor Brent Cameron asked for a recorded vote on the resolution to accept the report. He, along with Councilors Nicki Gowdy, Cindy Kelsey, Sherry Whan and Elwin Burke voted against accepting the report.

Before the vote, Gowdy asked Robinson about training sessions.

“Do you see a buy-in from firefighters and attendance at these sessions?” she asked.

“It’s definitely a work in progress but comments I’ve had are that training is improved,” Robinson said.

Cameron took issue with what he called “a lack of statistics” in Robinson’s report.

“I understand the broader issues with technology (the department’s ‘Firehouse’ reporting software has been an ongoing issue),” Cameron said. “But I’d like to see even the stuff you would input to Firehouse.

“For example, recruitment numbers.”

“We have found a major tech issue,” Robinson said. “I have good 2018 stats now (and) I fully believe we will have stats for the next Council meeting.”

“So the next fire report will have numbers in it?” said Cameron.

“It will,” said Robinson.

The rejection of the report comes in the context of continuing controversy over an incident that took place on July 27 and 28, when the township owned pickup truck that is used by Fire Chief Robinson’s was reported stolen in Prince Edward County. (Under the terms of his contract, Robinson uses the truck for personal as well as township business)

The truck was subsequently located in Sharbot Lake after having been damaged in a hatchet attack by a man from Perth. It had been returned to the township office parking lot by the as yet unidentified truck thief. The hatchet incident led to an extensive police operation in Sharbot Lake on Sunday afternoon on July 28, involving the OPP canine and Emergency Response Units with helicopter support. A man from Perth, who has still not been identified by police, has been charged with vandalism and assault in the case. The OPP have not released any information regarding the theft itself.

An unofficial petition on Change.org asking for Robinson’s resignation on the grounds that he has lost the confidence of the public has garnered 105 signatures.

The council meeting was attended by 15 or 20 people who were interested in seeing if council would address the controversy. Aside from the unprecedented rejection of the chief’s monthly report to council, there was nothing related to the chief or the fire department on the agenda for the open council meeting.

A closed meeting regarding “personal matters about an identifiable individual, including municipal or local board employees pursuant to S. 239(2) (b) of the Municipal Act of Ontario” followed the open council meeting. In addition to members of council, Clerk/Administrator Cathy MacMunn and Fire Chief Robinson remained for the in camera meeting, Council rose from the in camera meeting without taking any action.

Other items from Central Frontenac Council

The boat dock at Oso Beach in Sharbot Lake is to be dismantled and moved to Eagle Lake.

In his report to Council, manager of developmental services Andy Dillon said: “Waterlines from the lake supplying the bathrooms have been severed four times this year from motor boats. There are also neighbours’ waterlines near the dock that have also been severed.

“The swim program at Eagle Lake could make better use of the sections to tie their buoys to and divert boats away from the swimming area.”

He said existing staff can complete the work.

Store coming to Arden

Council held a public meeting on a proposal that would make it possible for a convenience store, gas bar and take-out restaurant to open up north of Arden,

There is no decision made at public meetings but for the project to go through a rezoning to General Commercial from Rural has been the subject of an application that came before council.

Proponent Derek Matson said the proposed location is on Arden Road, just across from Price Road.

“At the Kennebec Lake Association meeting, there were people applauding the proposal so I think there’s interest,” said Mayor Frances Smith.

Interim Public Works Manager plans to pulverizes roads

Interim Public Works Manager Steve Keeley, a retired public works manager in Tay Valley and Huntsville who was recently signed to a three-month contract, said he plans to pulverize Henderson Road (Baker Valley to Bordenwood) and Price Road in conjunction with the pulverizing of Crow Lake Road.

“Price Road is really bad and I think we should pulverize it all,” he said. “The same could be said for Henderson.

This would mean the roads would become essentially gravel roads until such time as they can be re-surfaced but, he said the pulverizing would provide a good base once those projects can be undertaken and would provide a more drivable surface in the meantime.

He said the Arden Road project from the hamlet to Pit Road is on hold.

“I’m not sure it’s in good enough shape for micro-surfacing,” he said.

He said they plan to do some paving repair on Road 509 and have a paving company coming in to make recommendations.

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