Jeff Green | May 15, 2019
After flirting with the idea of constructing a new Frontenac County Administrative building, Frontenac County Council is being asked to look once again at renovating its current building.
A little over a year ago, after considering its long-term office space needs for over two years, Frontenac County was approached by the Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority about a shared accommodation solution. The idea of a brand new building was raised, and late last spring the idea gained more traction when South Frontenac Township expressed interest in a three-way partnership.
This led the county’s Administrative Building Design Task Force to look at the feasibility and cost estimates surrounding a new building for the three partners, located somewhere in South Frontenac, perhaps in Sydenham in order to save on water costs.
This process carried on through the fall of 2018, into the beginning of the new term of municipal council.
At a meeting in April, South Frontenac Mayor Ron Vandewal informed both the county and the conservation authority that South Frontenac Council had rejected the idea of a new building at their own meeting in early April.
In response, the task force decided to look again at using either the current Cataraqui Conservation Authority near Hwy. 401 or the current Frontenac County/Fairmount home site in Glenburnie for a joint office space.
“The lowest cost option would be to use the existing county site as all infrastructure and servicing is already in place,” said a report to Council prepared by Clerk Janette Amini and Chief Administrative Officer Kelly Pender.
Accordingly, the report recommends spending $10,000, to be taken from a provincial grant earmarked for modernisation, to look at renovating the existing county offices for use by the two entities.
If approved this week, the money will go towards, architectural analysis of the current county building, preliminary plans to meet partner needs, options for potential configuration of common areas, implications for parking, water & similar services; and initial budget-level estimates for comparison with a stand-alone option.
Strategic Plan to be presented
At that same meeting, Council will consider a draft strategic plan that was developed in association with 80/20 Consulting.
The previous plan, prepared in 2014, has become known for identifying four “wildly important goals” for Frontenac County. This new plan, by contrast, talks about three strategic priorities for this term of council.
Although the plan was prepared before the provincial government’s recent budget, which is already having an impact on municipal budgets, it is written with a sense of caution and a focus on maintaining programs and services that are already in place.
Here are the strategic priorities: 1 - Get behind plans that build community resilience and vitality in times of growth and change, 2 - Explore new funding sources and invest in critical long-term infrastructure using sound judgement, and 3 - Champion and coordinate collaborative efforts with partners to resolve complex problems otherwise beyond the reach of individual mandates and jurisdictions.
Within these priorities is everything from enhancing broadband coverage, securing the future of Fairmount Home, promoting economic development and improving planning processes across the county.