Craig Bakay | Oct 10, 2018
In North Frontenac, there are a few (public) buildings that don’t meet code, Brian MacDonald of McIntosh Perry, told Council at its regular meeting last week in Plevna.
CAO Cheryl Robson said McIntosh Perry was contracted to do the Township’s first ever facilities assessment after a successful grant application for just this purpose.
“I’ve been around eight years and this is the first time I’ve seen anything like this,” said Coun. Gerry Martin.
MacDonald said they looked at 20 municipal facilities with an estimated total replacement value of about $10,000,000, including four fire halls and six public works facilities.
While the ‘portfolio’ is currently in generally good condition, if no work were to be done on them in the next 10 years, the portfolio would be in generally “poor” condition, he said.
“Approximately $2,171,000 would be required to maintain the facilities in a ‘state of good repair,’” he said.
Of the 20 facilities, short term repairs and replacements of about $350,000 would be required on five of them.
The Harlowe Community Hall needs $70,000 to repair basement leakage.
The Snow Road Fire Hall needs $32,000 for staff washrooms.
The Ompah Fish Hatchery needs $30,000 for general repairs.
The Ward 1 Public Works Garage needs $40,000 cladding and water supply.
The Cloyne Washroom and Change House needs $35,000 for roofing and mechanical work.
Just about all of the facilities need some work, mostly related to accessibility.
Council praised and accepted the report, but any decisions were relegated to 2019 budget deliberations.
However, there were indications that some of the facilities might not survive the budgetary process.
“The opportunity for the Fish Hatchery to come back into useful operation is nil to none,” said Dep. Mayor Fred Perry, who was chairing the meeting in the absence of Mayor Ron Higgins.
The Cloyne washroom isn’t likely to get much love either.
Even though one audience member pointed out that the ball diamond there is used for seniors slow-pitch, manager of community development Corey Klatt said: “This is my 11th year and it was out of service when I came.”
Councillors to be compensated for loss of tax exempt income
Council accepted Treasurer Kelly Watkins’ report on the impact of losing the 1/3 tax-free status for municipal councilors remuneration but put off any decisions until the first meeting of the new Council on Dec. 5.
Options range from doing nothing to a new pay structure for meeting attendance, mileage and per diem to outright compensation for the tax-free loss, which Watkins estimated would cost the Township about $17,000.
Coun. Vern Hermer was in favour of some sort of compensation.
“I don’t think it’s fair that we should take a hit because the federal of provincial governments want a bit more in their coffers,” Hermer said.
However, Coun. John Inglis seemed OK with the potential loss in salary.
“We’re above the median (in pay) and we’re above Central Frontenac,” Inglis said. “I feel we’re well compensated.
“Leave the status quo; for our population, we have a very large staff.”
“We won’t attract many young Council members with this pay,” said Coun. Gerry Martin. “Whether John (Inglis) thinks he’s overpaid — which he probably is.”
Watkins’ said “across the province, the majority of municipalities are compensating councilors for the 1/3 loss.”
While the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority is open to sell the Palmerston Beach property to North Frontenac Township (MVCA passed a resolution Aug. 3 granting an “option to purchase for a nominal sum”), just what the Township plans to do regarding the property is undecided.
“We did sell property on Malcolm Lake years back that went to a developer,” said Coun. Gerry Martin. “That’s the reason for the buy-back clause.”
“I don’t agree that $128,000 should be spent to create a park that would only be used by a few people,” said Coun. Wayne Good.
Good burlap after bad?
Coun. Gerry Martin reported that $1,500 worth of burlap has been put down in Ardoch Lake in an effort to combat Eurasian Milfoil.
However, Martin was less than enthusiastic about the chances for success in the project.
“We have it in so many of our lakes, I think it’s a lost cause,” he said.
While applauding the North Addington Education Centre’s interest in municipal government, North Frontenac Council won’t be showing up to an assembly in any kind of numbers, on the advice of Clerk Tara Mieske.
“I would recommend only three or fewer go so that no business of Council will be advanced,” she said.
Coun. John Inglis volunteered to attend.