Wilma Kenny | Apr 28, 2021

Township Branding Proposal

Last week, Committee of the Whole asked that the ‘brand positioning’ and ‘brand values’ be updated to better reflect Council’s thoughts and views on the community. These changes included: recognize the community as a modern, active place with a wide variety of people, activities, interests and businesses, by placing less emphasis on the quiet/peaceful aspects only. Limit/reduce any messaging that might suggest South Frontenac is a “retirement community” by consolidating some current brand values (e.g. ‘peaceful, wholesome, friendly’), and adding some of the more “active” or “progressive” values that had been in the top responses from the community survey. These changes will be incorporated into the final brand package, which Council will review it before the branding is put into use.

Total cost for implementation is estimated at between $5,000 - $10,000, most of which is already in the department operating budgets and does not represent an additional cost. Staff will report back on the actual cost once the majority of the brand rollout is complete.

Council passed a motion to accept the branding, with their amendments. All but Councillor Revill were in favour.

Public Meeting re Secondary Dwelling

A public meeting was held to hear comments on a development proposal on 13 Island Lake, Bedford. The vacant lot in question is 5.5 acres, with 290 metres of frontage on Deyos Road, most of it a rocky outcrop. The owner, Cayden Craig, wishes to construct a house and an accessory building which would share a driveway, well and sewage system. Rezoning is necessary to permit a second dwelling unit. Both buildings will require a reduced front yard setback so they can be accommodated on the only relatively level land on the (very rocky) property, which is a lot of record. Township staff report there is room for a sewage system, and have no objection to the proposed entrance from Deyos Road. A site plan will ensure compliance with Township requirements.

One neighbour, Catherine Nash has raised several concerns in a letter: she feels the lot is unsuitable for development due to its rocky nature, and is unhappy about the current use of the property, citing an ‘open pit latrine’ (the pictured outhouse?). She also asked that the unopened road allowance between the property in question and hers not be used for any temporary vehicle use (parking or access) during the construction process.

Planner Woods reported a verbal concern from another neighbour, who feared that this development might encourage other properties to ask for second dwellings, thus opening up the door to short-term rentals.

Planner Woods noted that section 5.6.2 of the County of Frontenac Official Plan requires the Township Official Plan to permit additional residential units, in keeping with the Provincial Policy Statement, 2020 (PPS) which encourages municipalities to accommodate an appropriate affordable and market-based range and mix of housing (section 1.1.1 b). There are currently no Township bylaws to license or otherwise control short-term rentals. She added that the Township’s Official Plan update will contain clearer criteria for development.

There were no verbal comments from the public. Councillor Sleeth said the proposed structures “looked more like farm storage than residential.” Morey asked whether there were no other suitable building locations on the property; Woods replied there were none that would not require considerable site alteration. The public meeting was closed.

Verbal Report from Fire ChiefVerbal Report from Fire Chief

Fire Chief Knott gave a verbal report on the sudden closing of the Ontario Fire College in Gravenhurst. He said there had been no consultation with any of the provincial Fire Chiefs, no information of reallocation of funding, or info about ongoing supports such as increasing capacity at regional training centres. Knott said the problem was not in training for new recruits, which is done on-site in South Frontenac, but the loss of access to affordable specialized training in public education, fire prevention, etc.

When asked what help he needed from Council, Knott said that this report was largely for information: for now, he prefers to lobby through the Association of Fire Chiefs, and will continue to keep Council up to date. He agreed with Mayor Vandewal’s suggestion that given the current situation, it might be best to have more regional resources, rather than just one central resource. However, he said there are already training centres in the local region (one in Leeds and one in Kingston) but they offer only basic training services, which can be done in-house by the SF fire services.

“It is the specialized training that is missing, he said”


Heritage Designation

Planner Anna Geladi presented a report recommending Council recognize 3981 Harrowsmith Road (The Stewart House) as a property of cultural heritage value and begin proceedings to designate it under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act.

The application for designation was submitted by owner Brad Barbeau and reviewed by the Heritage Committee, which noted the property meets all three criteria under Ontario Regulation 9/06 for designation, including having design/physical value, historical/associative value, and contextual value. Therefore the Heritage Committee has recommended this property should be conserved over the long-term through a Heritage Act Designation.

This imposing limestone house sits prominently in the streetscape of Harrowsmith near the main intersection of the village: it is an execllent representative example of a two and a half story stone dwelling with an attached one and a half story stone carriage house. The latter contained servant quarters and kitchen; food was brought to the main house through a cellar tunnel.

Constructed circa 1846, part of the building boom from this period, it is representative of a housing type that was popular in the area at that time. It includes a symmetrical front façade with gable roof, roughhewn, regularly coursed, squared limestone and large windows. The facades of both house and carriage house are one colour of stone, while the remaining three sides have alternating courses of darker and lighter stone, in a horizontal striped pattern that is unique to Harrowsmith and Portland Township and may have been the trademark of a particular stone mason. There are a number of similar examples of this style in the vicinity, but this is the largest.

This house has good historical and associative value as an upper-middle class house in Harrowsmith from the mid nineteenth century. It was constructed for the Stewarts who were were a prominent family in the Portland Area. Samuel Stewart served a number of terms as Mayor of Portland in the latter half of the 1850’s. He also operated a general store (the stone building on the corner of Harrowsmith Road), was postmaster for the village and owned a number of farms. When Samuel died, his daughter Isabella Stewart continued to operate the store until 1922. The Stewart House and the general store were then sold to the Gallagher family.

Councillor Revill commented that the Gallaghers had been his great-grandparents: his great-grandfather had been been a tax collector, merchant, and MPP. Not surprisingly, Revill strongly supported the house designation. Mayor Vandewal asked whether designation would allow the owner to access financial benefits for upkeep, etc. Geladi replied that currently the Township does not offer anything of this sort, but the homeowner would be able to apply to provincial programs. Vandewal said perhaps the township could lend its support to such grant applications. He noted that this might encourage other homeowners to consider investigating the benefits of having their properties designated also.

Next steps will be for Council to serve a ‘notice of intent to designate’, which must be given to the property owner(s) and the Ontario Heritage Trust, and published in a “newspaper having general circulation in the Township.” The notice will also be posted on the Township’s website for 30 days, following which, if no objections have been received and if the property owner is in complete agreement, Council will be able to proceed to make the designation official.

Verona Housing

Council awarded the contract for consulting services for the preparation of a Verona Housing Master Plan to MacNaughton, Hermsan, Britton Clarkson (MHBC) Planning Ltd. in the amount of $26,282 + HST. This is to assess the size, scale and compatibility of developing affordable housing in the Verona property recently acquired by the Township. The work will begin in the next few weeks, and will include a large component of public consultation with the final report expected in October.

Tax date Deferral now, but not for final

Council agreed to defer the due date for the interim tax billing from May 30 to June 30th. Mayor Vandewal stressed the need for clear communication that this will not change the second and final tax due date, which will still be September 30th.

Roadside weed spraying

In 2017, Public Services began a pro-active spray program to control the spread of wild parsnip along roadsides and parks, and, in 2018, guide rails as well. This spray program has had positive results with minimal regrowth of wild parsnip in various areas of the Township. This year, the bid for a total estimated cost of $17,475 before HST, has been awarded to Wagar & Corput Weed Control Inc, a company which “has worked for the Township previously, has a thorough safety program and is a reputable company.”

Diesel & Gas Tender

A Tender was issued for supply and delivery of diesel fuel and gasoline for Public Services, Fire, and Building Inspection for a Five (5) year period as the existing contract term was completed April 1. Six bids ere received, and based on the lowest price, 4$12,850.85, was awarded to W.O. Stinson.

Bldg depart report: up!

The first quarter building activity report shows a steep increase in building permits over the past three years: 86 for Jan-March; slightly more than the total of both 2019 and 2020 during that time period. Almost half were for additions, renovations, garages, decks, accessory buildings and demolitions. Possibly a reflection of what we’re doing during covid??

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