Boats to Budgets

Buck Lake Boat Ramp

The redevelopment of the Buck Lake boat ramp was discussed at the September public services meeting. 

The Public Services department would like to start making detailed plans for the project but wanted clarity on whether the Committee thought the ramp should be at its current location off of Perth Road at the bridge or whether the Township should again try to purchase the old Schofield camp for a new public access point.  The committee gave direction that the ramp should be replaced at the current location and to not proceed with the Schofield property.

2021 Budget

We are entering the 2021 budget preparation season. The budget will be about thirty million dollars. Usually Council would pass the 2021 budget before 2020 ends, but delays caused by COVID have pushed the projected passage date into early January 2021.

For the past few years Council has had a policy of increasing the budget approximately 2% a year.  These increases have maintained very sound Township finances and allowed for the expansion of programs as our population has increased.

Council seems inclined to provide this direction to staff again: develop a draft budget with a 2% increase.  The first staff proposal for capital works will be coming to Council in November. Now is the time to start making comments on what should be included or removed from next year’s budget or general comments on how the Township raises and spends money.

After the full draft budget is presented to Council on December 1 there will be a special meeting for public deputations on next year’s budget: tentatively scheduled for December 8, 2020.

Community Safety Zones

A proposal will be coming to Council to create “Community Safety Zones” on roads adjacent to St. Patrick, Harrowsmith, Prince Charles and Loughborough public Schools and Sydenham High school.  Fines will be doubled for violations in these zones. 

While this is a good idea, it will not likely have a great impact on speeding.  In Ottawa, when they put speed cameras in school zones, many of which are community safety zones, in the first two weeks of operation the cameras produced 7645 tickets for speeding with the highest speed being 89K in a 40K zone. It will be interesting to see if the presence of the cameras significantly reduces that number in a few months.

If we want to control speed, an increasing Township-wide problem, we will need more than signs and fines.  Without some sort of structural change, like speed cameras, speed bumps, or other traffic calming measures, many will still speed. 

Open Air Burning Permits

At the August Council meeting the Fire Chief proposed establishing a permit system for open air burning. Click here to see the Chief’s presentation.

The problems he identified that would be reduced with open air fire permits were confusion among residents and visitors about fire ban restrictions, the open-air burning bylaw, and the hazards of open air burning.  Last year there was also an increased number of complaints about fires and an increased number of uncontrolled burns with a significant cost and danger to the Township and firefights, and very high potential costs to individual residents.

The proposal is to create and automated system to issue permits for all open air burning in the Township.  There will be an annual small cost for a permit and automated phone system to register before residents burn.

The system will allow for fast dissemination of restrictions on burning, an ability to apply different restrictions in different areas and an easy way of communicating what residents’ responsibilities are while they’re burning. 

New Garbage and Recycling Contract

After much drama and last-minute negotiations Percy Snider has a three-year contract to collect garbage and recycling for most of the Township.  In-house Township staff will collect on the other routes. The cost is $62.50 per household for garbage and $62.50 for recycling. 

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Burning permit Coming to South Frontenac?

In August the Fire Chief proposed a permitting system for open air burning South Frontenac Township. This is his presentation to Council:  

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The More it Changes: The More it Stays the Same

COVID use Exposes Development Pressures

Many residents have commented on the increased number of local residents and visitors on the township’s trails and lakes.

And it may go higher. BlogTO has identified the Frontenac’s as one of “Five Cottage Getaways from Toronto that are better than Muskoka”.

The increased local traffic has been good for many of the local stores, with some having banner summers, and it is wonderful to see so many being active and enjoying the outdoors.

The extra attention also adds to the planning stress on how to control development while enhancing what makes our community special.  A problem compounded by recent provincial legislation that shifts the balance of power to developers over communities.

There has also been a noticeable increase in garbage both at private lane collection sites and just around. More boats are on the lakes, more ATV’s on the Cat Trail, more fireworks and fires in violation of bylaws, hydrofoils have been seen in significant wetlands, private property trespassing has increased, and more cars are speeding.

Tighter controls on short term rentals, like Air B+B, has been raised as one way of reducing excessive abuse of our lakes and trails. I have not received many calls to limit access to the Township:  a credit to residents who both are open to sharing and recognize that we want to visit other areas and it would be hurtful to divide our country into many small fiefdoms.

I would appreciate your comments on how to handle these potentially profound changes to our community.

Johnson’s Point Unhinged, Again

It would take a chapter length discussion on the legal and political machinations to update developments on Johnson’s Point – for more detail please contact me or read my recent comments at Council – but this is the current bottom line.

The developers have until January 29, 2021 to satisfy all of the conditions required by the Ontario Municipal Board before it can register as a condominium and move to the next step: start developing lots.

One of the conditions is that the developer obtain a benefit permit from the MNR to protect the species at risk on the Point, which was done. The second part of that condition is that all the recommendations from the Permit have to be incorporated into the condominium agreement, which council has to vote on.  To date Council has not seen a copy of the permit making it impossible to verify that all the conditions have been incorporated.

At the September 1 council meeting I presented a motion to gain access to the permit which was lost in a tie with myself, Councillors Ruttan, Morey and Revill voting to see the permit and the Mayor and Councillor’s Sleeth, Roberts and Leonard voting against.

One of the reasons given for opposing the motion was that we don’t need to see the document, staff has it and we trust that all is OK.

It has nothing to do with trust but it has a lot to do with public accountability and the responsibility of Councillors to cast an informed vote. As good as our staff are, they may not always be right.  Elected officials have the ultimate responsibility to vote and this includes being able to question staff and seeing relevant information: in this case the benefit permit.

Those who voted against also raised a series of connected concerns about being drawn into a very litigious fight between the Johnson’s Point owners, avoiding possible lawsuits, the need to keep some information secret and about not having enough time to pursue options.

While it is wise to be aware of ongoing civil disputes, it is important that if parties, whether they are developers, people upset about a public works, people involved in bylaw infractions, fence line disputes or drainage issues, are having their own private/civil problems, that Council still make fully informed decisions that they believe are in the best interests of the Township, which includes maintaining democratic practices and protecting the environment.

One solution that was raised at council 15 months ago that would have met concerns about access to the permit while keeping some information confidential was to have council examine the permit in closed session.  This option was not seriously pursued.

A Fast Speeding Update

The Public Service Committee in August discussed speeding and focused on more education and different sign posting.  While these won’t hurt, they are among the least effective policies to control speeding.  Township residents and Council need to decide whether speeding is one of those issues that we want to complain about, a lot, but in fact do little to solve, or do we want to enact a series of traffic calming measures, especially in heavily populated areas, that do work: more on this later.

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Comments on Accessing Johnson’s Point Benefit Permit

At the September 1 council meeting I presented a motion to gain access to the benefit permit for species at risk on Johnson’s Point. Obtaining that permit was one of the conditions the  developer had to fulfill to complete the condominium agreement, which Council has a legal obligation to vote on.

The second part of that condition is that all the recommendations from the benefit permit have to be incorporated into the condominium agreement.  To date Council has not seen a copy of the permit making it impossible to verify that all the conditions have been incorporated.

The motion was lost in a tie with myself, Councillors Ruttan, Morey and Revill voting to see the permit and the Mayor and Councillors Sleeth, Roberts and Leonard voting against. The following are the comments I made to Council introducing the motion:

“Sometime in the next few months Council will likely be asked to vote on the condominium agreement for the Johnson’s Point development.  That agreement has to incorporate all of the recommendations of the MNR’s Species at Risk benefit permit. It is Council’s legal responsibility to verify that all of the conditions have been met. To date, Council only has a copy of the benefit permit with sections blacked out, making it impossible to do that verification.

Since April 26, 2019 Magenta Water Front Development has been the project manager for the Johnson’s Point development with extensive powers to move the project forward.

On June 4, 2019, Magenta made a deputation to Council at which time Councilors made it clear that they wanted to see a copy of the benefit permit. Magenta, to its credit, took an emergency motion to Justice Hurley to ask for the Permit’s release.

One reason for Justice Hurley emergency endorsement on June 18, 2019, two weeks after the Council meeting with Magenta, was knowledge of South Frontenac’s need to see the benefit permit. Justice Hurley references a Frontenac News article, part of which reads:

[the] Director of Development Services for South Frontenac Township, explained …. The township needs to know that whatever is required under that [benefit] agreement has been satisfied before it can recommend that the county give final approval for the plan of condominium.

“Without seeing the agreement, we are stuck,” she said.

The Justice’s endorsement restricted public release of the document and permitted release to municipals officials who required it in order to assess the application for an extension of time for draft plan approval, or another valid legal reason. A Township councilor is a municipal official who has a valid legal reason to receive a copy of the benefit permit because they have to vote on a motion which involves knowledge of the permit.

The endorsement also makes no distinction between staff officials and elected officials. If staff officials can see the document so can elected officials, if neither can, then it will be very difficult for the Johnson’s Point development to move forward.

Finally, Justice Hurley’s endorsement includes a statement that both the plaintive and the Beaches agree that the disclosure of the Benefit Permit is required for final plan approval.

Seeing the full document in camera is an option that has been around for at least 15 months and a solution that would satisfy any concerns about the public release of the permit and allow Council to fully assess the completion of the draft conditions, which is its legal obligation.

Magenta has numerous options to releasing the benefit permit. The most straightforward approach is to simply use the June 18, 2019 endorsement and provide a copy in camera to Council. If Magenta is uncertain that the order allows that, given the ambiguity in the order about another valid legal reason, Magenta could pose an informal question to judge something to the effect ‘given the language concerning disclosure to municipal officials for another valid reason can the permit be disclosed in camera to South Frontenac council for the purpose of approving the completion of the draft plan conditions’. The worst case is the judge says “no, bring a new motion” in which case Magenta can bring a new motion for release of the benefit permit to Council. The last action took two weeks, there is 5 months before the current draft conditions expire. There is time to advance this alternative.

Without access to the Permit, Council will have to vote without full knowledge of what it is voting on, and, at best, rely on the developers and Staff reassurances that everything is OK; an abdication of our responsibility and accountability.

Council will also need to see the benefit permit for approval of site plans. It is reasonable to gain access to the permit now and fulfill all of our obligations and not rely on promises of future actions as a motivation in the upcoming vote. We have been down that road before with the signing of the draft conditions on the guarantee that the Township would gain access to the property and it did not end well.

The motion is simple: it states that Council wants to see an unredacted copy of the benefit permit before it votes and it makes it clear that Council would like Magenta to with staff to make that happen.

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Core Services Hit Market Wall

Sometimes the most important developments, like significant cost increases in snow plowing, and garbage and recycling collection, happen under the cover of a pandemic and a hot summer. Last month was one of those times.

Garbage and Recycling

The last time household garbage and recycling services were tendered was in 2010.

Last winter Council approved a new tender, a Request for Proposals (RFP), for a new contract that would reduce pollution and increase reliability by having contractors use newer equipment, and change garbage routes to improve resident service. The lowest proposals came back with a 60% increase over the current budget.

Other neighbouring municipalities have also seen large increases. Larger companies, often multinationals, making up for loss-leader bids that were used to eliminate local competition and an industry-wide lack of qualified drivers and operators are two of the reasons for increased cost. A lack of definitive provincial action on producers being responsible for the garbage their products produce (producer responsibility) has also created huge uncertainty in the sector.

Rather than accept a 60% cost increase Council cancelled the RFP and negotiated a three-year contract with the current providers. The result is a 15% increase over current costs with a cost of living increase. It will now be at least 13 years since the garbage contract was tendered. It is like having an in-house department but run by permanent contracted staff.

Snow Plowing

Last year Council extended a contract with Mulroney Trucking for one more year of snow plowing without going to tender. Staff commented that there is the possibility of “other service delivery options” and that tendering results in other municipalities indicated that our best deal would be a contract extension.

This year staff again recommended extending Mulroney’s contract, but in what seems like a “chickens coming home to roost moment”, Mulroney trucking wanted a significant hourly increase and the addition of a $500 per week stand by charge per truck: a fee the Township has not previously paid though it is standard in most neighbouring municipalities. With no time left to implement other options before snow season Council accepted a 12.5% increase in costs for the remainder of 2020 and an estimated cost increase of 36% in the 2021 budget.

In-House Delivery Option

In the discussions on both the garbage and recycling contract and the snow plowing contract a commitment was made to bring forward alternative delivery options, including more in-house or Township delivered services.

In-house delivery of these core services would increase the Township’s flexibility to adapt to a rapidly changing regulatory environment, climate change and evolving resident needs without expensive renegotiation of private contracts. It also removes the Township from a market dominated by large corporations which have the resources to bid low to gain contracts then increase the price in subsequent bids when local contractors have gone out of business and the capital costs of new ones starting are prohibitive.

The Township has a long and mostly positive history with local contractors but going without tendering the work for larger contracts is a violation of international agreements. As the Township grows these tenders will attract the attention of bigger corporations, and they will have a right to bid.

In-house service delivery allows the Township to avoid the need to tender and keep the work local. There is no guarantee that in-house services will be cheaper, but they will allow the Township to have greater control over reliability and pollution abatement desired by residents, as well as provide for pay, benefits and working conditions that will benefit local employees. Township services keep the Township’s money local, either in terms of lower taxes, or better wages and working conditions, with none going to external management or investor payments.

The Township needs to consider bringing a group of services in-house to allow for the hiring of more permanent part-time and full-time staff.

The discussion on how to deliver Township services is urgent and will affect not only those services, but the shape of the Township’s budget and the well-being of our community. Please pass along your comments on this pivotal decision.

COVID Thank You

Thank you to everyone for mask wearing to help reduce COVID infections and for shopping local to strengthen our small businesses. It makes a positive difference in our community.

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Then Pestilence, Drought and Still Speeding

In June Council stated back to a full schedule of meetings with numerous important projects moving forward and nature continued to make 2020 a memorable year.

Now Pestilence

Gypsy moth caterpillars are stripping trees in many areas of South Frontenac. Caterpillar dropping and shredded leaves litter decks and trails.

Gypsy moths are an unpleasant a cyclical event.  At this point neither the provincial Ministry of Forests nor the Township or the provincial park have any plans to address the outbreak.

There is lots of information on line about gypsy moths.  London, Ontario, has helpful information, including a video, on how individual property owners can help can help control the infestation, most importantly by destroying egg masses.   

Then Drought

Most of South Frontenac is also in a level one drought. 

High and low water levels impact our lake communities and farming. In droughts many wells run dry.  Limited mapping of the ground water problem has been done and the Township is discussing with Cataraqui Conservation and Kingston further mapping: information that will be helpful when deciding our new official plan’s policies on development.

Cataraqui Conservation has an online survey to record the impact of drought on local residents. If you are experiencing problems, I would encourage you to fill in the survey. It could become another useful data source as we plan our future development and identify ways to help residents.

Still Speeding

One of the most common complaints to Councillors and Township staff is speeding.

Residents want people to slow down near their homes where they walk on the side of the road and near where their children play

The most frequent request is for more police.  If this could be negotiated with the OPP it would be one of the more expensive options and is only effective when a speed trap is present.

Other options that work well are:

  • Speed bumps
  • Photo radar
  • Calming measures, like planters or curbs built into lanes
 

Helpful, but less effective, are speed limit signs and flashing roadside notifications of how fast you are driving.

I have attended seminars on road construction and an important theme is “build roads to the speed you want people to drive”. In other words, if the speed limit is 60, leave in the turns you can safely take at 60, don’t straighten the road.  Part of our problem is that the Township has tended to straighten roads making them safe at speeds greater than those posted.  

If you have thoughts on what the Township should do to reduce speeding please send them along. Staff is preparing a report for the fall on how to control speeding.

Coming Soon: Township Septic Inspector

Council has created a position of Deputy Chief Building Official to, starting in 2021, administer all Township septic inspections required under the building code.  With this expertise in house it maybe an opportunity to develop a septic re-inspection program: a program long advocated to help protect and improve our lakes and ground water.

Regional Services?

The Township has initiated a process with the other Frontenac townships to see what, if any, services could be more effectively delivered jointly. 

Services like road line-painting, maintenance on boundary roads and back-up fire services have been successfully shared with neighbouring municipalities. The challenge is always to make sure that communities maintain democratic control over how services are delivered and to respect different communities’ priorities.   

What do you think of more cooperation between the townships on service delivery?  Are their benefits?  Concerns? 

Please take a few minutes to fill in a survey on further possible cooperation on roads and bridges, fire services, bylaw enforcement, waste management and building services.  The survey needs to be completed by Monday night, July 6 and can be found at: www.surveymonkey.com/r/Z66VJMD.

Updates

Council passed a motion to remove the private dock on municipal land on the Desert Lake causeway.  A second motion is coming forward to develop a policy restricting private access to municipal waterfront.

The summer public works schedule has been posted. Check to see if there is planned construction in your area and the approximate timeline.  The Desert Lake Causeway was left off the timetable because it is mostly done.  At Council I was assured that once the guardrails are delivered construction will be finished this summer.

Staff has been given direction to work with Kingston This Week to ensure that their ad bag newspapers are placed in mail boxes and not simply littered along road sides.

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COVID, Climate, Communications

Communications: Broadband Internet Initiatives

The pandemic has highlighted that good internet access is both an essential service and in significant parts of south Frontenac of poor-quality. 

A recent report from the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) summarizes recent federal and provincial internet upgrade initiatives.

Rideau Lakes Township recently took a more direct approach subsidizing WTC, a local internet provider, with eight hundred thousand dollars to bring broadband internet service to 900 residences and business: a priority initiative in their economic development strategy.  The full agreement with WTC is item 9.6 on their April 6, 2020 council meeting agenda.

Rideau Lakes direct approach, while expected to get quicker results, also raises the question of whether it is property taxes that should underwrite private companies to provide this essential service rather than having the federal and provincial governments, which have promised significant sums of money for rural internet, spend the money more effectively.

At the last Council meeting I asked for a report on which properties in South Frontenac have access to broadband fibre: as far as I can tell no one knows.  Let’s hope that the providers will work with the Township to identify the local areas in need of better service: which seems like a necessary step to making improvements.

Climate Change

On May 19 Council approved a `limited scope’ approach to climate change adaptation and mitigation with actions for approval `being developed in house’. What is missing is both a sense of urgency for green house gas emissions mitigation and a commitment to maximize public engagement.

Climate change is similar to the worst of the COVID-19 crisis in that for the last 30 years there have been many studies documenting serious problems in Long term care homes. 

None of the issues now reported daily are new. They are not problems that can be fixed in the midst of a crisis which explains why we have thousands of unnecessary deaths, tens of thousands of people who could not be with their dying family members and hundreds of staff who became ill at work, some of them very seriously, with a few dying. 

For the past 50 years we have known that too many greenhouse gas emissions are a serious problem.  We even studied the problem in South Frontenac in 2004, though few concrete policies came from that work.

Council`s decisions to develop actions for climate change adaptation and mitigation in-house makes sense.  There is no shortage of recommendations on how to reduce green house gases.

What we need to do is identify which approaches make sense in our smaller rural community and, as a matter of urgency, act on them.

As in the nursing homes, when the climate shocks hit it is too late to correct the problem.

Council’s report says that the public ‘could’ be consulted on what actions we need to take.  Once again, like the pandemic response, for effective actions the public needs to accept their necessity. South Frontenac resident’s also have many great ideas on what will work in their life to help mitigate climate change. Our residents need to be the centre of any climate change strategy.

I will be hosting an on-line working group, to help answer the question: ‘what should we be doing in a smaller rural municipality to reduce green house gas emissions?’

Please contact me if you would like to be involved in this discussion.  I hope many of you will, the results will affect all of us.

COVID-19

Our public health unit and local residents deserve a significant amount of credit for making Kingston and the Frontenac’s one of the lowest COVID-19 incident areas in Ontario, including no outbreaks in nursing homes.

For better or worse we do live in an interconnected world, are a social species and COVID-19 is not gone. Many of our seasonal residents from Toronto and Ottawa, and our American friends, while they will not be back for a while, will eventually come. 

All of this is to say, that we are in a marathon with many kilometres to go.  We need to proceed patiently and methodically. Support our local businesses. Say hi to friends. Enjoy our community and environment. And, maintain the necessary precautions to limit the spread of infection.  Preventing the spread of the infection is a responsibility for all or us.

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Community Questions on COVID-19 and Township Responses

Last Week the Township asked community members to submit any questions they have about the Township’s State of Emergency and COVID-19.  The following are answers to a representative selection of the questions from the May 5 Council meeting agenda.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to submit a question.

1.Submitted at Tuesday April 28th 2020 5:23 PM

I am one of the public health resident physicians working at KFLA public health. I live in Inverary. Unfortunately our street does not have access to high speed fibre internet. It’s available in our community and the next street over has access. This makes working from home very difficult. Does council have a plan to encourage WTC to extend the fibre lines by one street and provide better access to the community?

Township Response:

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), has released a Broadband Fund to provide funding support for providers wishing to “close the digital divide” in areas of the Country, particularly rural areas, where broadband access is limited. The Township has provided letters of support to companies who are making application to the fund in order to improve broadband access within South Frontenac. https://crtc.gc.ca/eng/internet/internet.htm

The Eastern Ontario Regional Network (EORN) is a non-profit organization established by the Municipalities of Eastern Ontario which is dedicated to improving rural connectivity, supporting economic growth and enhancing quality of life. You can learn more about EORN’s efforts to expand broadband into rural areas here: https://www.eorn.ca/en/index.aspx 2.

  1. Submitted at Tuesday April 28th 2020 8:07 PM

As times are tough for many and community resources like South Frontenac Community Services will see increases of use such as the food bank, is South Frontenac approving an increase in some funding being provided this year to assist with this very essential service?

Township Response:

Many organizations have experienced challenges associated with the COVID19 pandemic. In response, the Township has deferred payments, waived interest and penalties, and taken other financial measures to ease the impact of the pandemic on all taxpayers including commercial and NFP property owners. This attempts to provide relief across the Township to all those affected. The Township has been a financial supporter of South Frontenac Community Services for many years. In addition to funding which has been earmarked annually for SFCS (one of few organizations which has received a specific budget allocation annually) the Township provided additional financial support in each of the past two years (2019 and 2020) through an arrangement with the Kingston Kinsmen Dream Home Lottery. Natural,

Township also considers applications from various organizations for community grants, a merit-based application process which allocates a set amount of funding for worthwhile community initiatives. Council is not currently considering additional funding for any of these purposes. We are also mindful that there may be significant need for financial support across many other organizations and sectors, and that the Township is unable to provide support to all those in need.

  1. Submitted at Tuesday April 28th 2020 8:07 PM

Due to state of emergency and not wanting to tie up fire departments, there is a burn ban in place. The offer of the brush drop off, and opening dumps are only helpful if you have a vehicle to transport the yard waste. Will we have to wait till the state of emergency is over before the burn ban is lifted? Or, could we have a day where twp truck could pick up yard waste? Twp employees might be able to work this into their schedule this year with them having a disruption to their regular workload. Piles of paper products & yard waste is piling up, attracting rodents, and also a fire liability. Thanks so much for setting up this format & keeping us informed.

Township Response:

While part of the reason for the burn ban is to ensure sufficient fire department capacity for pandemic-related emergency response, cool, windy weather and dryness of brush continue to support enacting a ban. Even with a few days of recent rain, numerous large grass fires have had to be extinguished in the past few weeks. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) has also enacted a province-wide fire ban for its entire restricted fire zone which encompasses the entire northern portion of the Township including all of Bedford district and Frontenac Provincial Park. The Township has no discretion over this provincial ban.

Regular seasonal work has not subsided for public works personnel during the pandemic, and for various logistical reasons a separate residential yard waste door to door collection program is not possible at this time. The Township recognizes the challenges posed by the fire ban and will begin to lift its restrictions at the earliest possible opportunity.

  1. Submitted at Wednesday April 29th 2020 6:52 AM

When are you going to lift the total fire ban?

Township Response:

Part of the reason for the burn ban is to ensure sufficient fire department capacity for pandemic-related emergency response; however, cool, windy weather and dry conditions continue to support the need for a ban as well. Even with a few days of recent rain, numerous large grass fires have had to be extinguished in the past few weeks. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) has also enacted a province-wide fire ban for its entire restricted fire zone which encompasses the entire northern portion of the Township including all of Bedford district and Frontenac Provincial Park. The Township has no discretion over this provincial ban. The Township recognizes the challenges posed by the fire ban and will begin to lift its own restrictions at the earliest possible opportunity.

  1. Submitted on Wednesday April 29th 2020 10:43 AM

Do you have an idea of when the dog park will be opened up? Dog owners were practicing social distancing before things were closed down. If the boat ramps can be safely opened, surely the dog park can be.

Township Response:

The government of Ontario has enacted Ontario Regulation 104/20 which requires that all outdoor recreation amenities including dog parks be closed to the public at least until May 6, 2020 – unless that date is extended (again) by the Province. As such, the Township has no discretion in reopening the dog park at this time. O.Reg 104/20 can be found here for your reference: https://www.ontario.ca/laws/regulation/200104

Boat Launches are not included in this order, and have been interpreted to fall under a separate essential services order which generally permits transportation-related infrastructure or infrastructure that is used to access individuals’ residences to remain in operation. Notwithstanding, some other municipalities have elected to close their boat launches to the public.

  1. Submitted at Wednesday April 29th 2020 5:16 PM

Hi I am curious why staff have decided to cancel committee of adjustment meetings? Why aren’t we joining other municipalities and holding virtual meetings to ensure we can ensure things are still progressing. If we hold off then there will be considerable back log.

Township Response:

The Township elected to postpone only its April and May Committee of Adjustment meetings, as did many other municipalities, while we waited for guidance from the Province on acceptable ways of satisfying the public participation requirements of statutory public meetings so that decisions of the Committee could be deemed procedurally lawful. Also, earlier Provincial directives suggested that appeal periods for any Committee of Adjustment decisions would not begin until the Provincial State of Emergency was lifted, which would prevent any decisions from taking effect. The Township has since determined how it can comply with the public participation requirements of the Planning Act through electronic/virtual means and the Province has clarified that appeal periods can begin and conclude in the typical manner during the state of emergency. For these reasons, we are preparing to reconvene Committee of Adjustment in late May or Early June. Notice of these meetings will be posted through the Township website and other usual avenues.

  1. Seen submitted at Thursday April 30th 2020 6:43 AM

Will council spell out a policy on short-term cottage rentals? And explain a system for complaint/enforcement.

Township Response:

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the government of Ontario enacted an essential workplaces order (O. Reg 82/20 under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act which requires that short-term rental properties are only permitted to operate if they are providing longer-term residential accommodations. Typical short-term, transient/vacation-type accommodations are prohibited at this time. That order can be found here under schedule 3 s. 3.(1).

If you feel that a property is in contravention of this or any other Provincial emergency orders you can report it locally to Kingston Frontenac Lennox and Addington Public Health (KFL&APH) using the form on the following KFL&APH webpage: https://www.kflaph.ca/en/healthy-living/covid-19-enforcement.aspx Notwithstanding the COVID-19 pandemic, the Township of South Frontenac is in the process of reviewing and updating its Official Plan which governs land use planning within the Township. Regulations for Short-term rentals typically begin with policies within an Official Plan followed by zoning by-law regulations and/or licensing requirements. Any policies or eventual regulations related to short-term rentals will be informed by public input, research, data collection and Council’s direction.

 

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Not Helpless with a Heart of Gold

A few people in South Frontenac are now infected with COVID 19 through community spread: at least one is seriously ill. We wish them speedy recoveries. Now is the time to take physical separation seriously, wash hands and stay at home.

These are extraordinary times and our community is responding with compassion, good humour, inventiveness and a heart of gold. Many in our community are working on the front-lines of health care and emergency response, from keeping people alive in the ICU to providing essential municipal services and ensuring that people get the food they need. Local businesses have stepped up with innovative solutions to help residents purchase the supplies they need and limit contact. We are not helpless.

Thank you. I am proud of my neighbours.

For information on the virus or how the Township is responding to COVID-19 call the Township offices 613-376-3027, or visit the municipal website.

Please feel free to call me if you have any questions or concerns. Also, if you know of someone who needs help, contact me and I will do my best to get them the services they need.

We will get through this. Life goes on. Even some other municipal issues were dealt with this month.

Protecting Lake Shorelines

Just before Canada locked-down, South Frontenac Council gave staff direction to report back with “the most effective and expeditious way to control tree cutting on lake shorelines.” Protecting natural vegetation on shorelines protects lake health and their aesthetic beauty.

The problems with clearing shorelines were raised when the developer of the Shield Shores condominium on Dog Lake clear-cut the shoreline before making the subdivision application.

Recently, a new owner of a lot within swimming distance of Sydenham clear-cut their steep shoreline and burned the wood on the ice. The burning was a provincial violation but there are no regulations to stop the cutting. This graphic illustration of the threat to our lakes shocked many people.

The main way the Township has limited tree cutting along shorelines has been by placing conditions on individual lots as part of the Committee of Adjustment variance process. Also, new lakeside subdivisions and condominiums, after they apply, usually have tree cutting restrictions.

The loophole is that the controls are only applied after the land has officially entered an approval process. A new bylaw, if passed, should close this loophole.

Ad-Bag Litter

Council has also asked for an action plan to deal with ad-bag newspapers thrown in the ditch along many Township roads. In some places they are put into people’s mail boxes. Just as often they are thrown beside mail boxes, or thrown at the end of driveways or randomly in ditches, apparently for the ground hogs to read. This is littering.

It would be nice to develop an effective strategy to stop all littering. But Sun Media’s ad-bag newspapers are a step above the relatively few people who randomly feel the need to drive chain store coffee cups out from Kingston to through them into our common front yard. Ad-bags are Township-wide coordinated littering every week.

There are options. The Township has met with the newspaper’s representatives and suggested that they could use the mail service like the Frontenac News. Alternately, the Township also offered to facilitate community boxes for the ad-bag newspapers where people could pick them up rather than out of the snow and rain at the end of their driveway. The company declined to pursue either of these options.

It is time for stronger legal powers to stop the ad-bag newspaper littering. It could be part of the Township strategy, which is in the works, to clean up the mess made by signs randomly posted, and often left to rot, along roads.

Septic Inspections

The Township is seriously considering taking over septic system approvals when Public Health stops providing that service next year. This may also provide an opportunity for a broader septic inspection program.

 

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South Frontenac COVID-19 Response: Updates to Service Delivery – March 20, 2020 Media Release

While our offices and facilities remain closed to the public, most municipal services will continue to be delivered and public communications via telephone and email remain in place during regular business hours.

In addition to these closures, please note the following changes to our service delivery as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and a need to reduce the spread of the virus:

Community Grants Applications: The deadline for 2020 Community Grant Submissions has been extended to April 30, 2020. Please continue to email your submissions to admin@southfrontenac.net or drop them off at 4432 George St. in our drop box located at the front door.
Sydenham Water Public Consultation Session: The Sydenham Water Public Consultation session scheduled for April 16, 2020 will be postponed.Please continue to complete and submit the customer feedback survey included in your recent utility bill. Online submissions are encouraged, however, you can also submit your completed survey to our drop box located at the front door of our office at 4432 George St., in Sydenham.
Touch a Truck Event – The annual ‘Touch a Truck’ event that is held in May for young children and their families will be postponed.

The postponement of other Township events or affiliated events will be considered on a case by case basis and discussed with organizers as the COVID-19 situation evolves.
Cancellation of the April 9 Committee of Adjustment Meeting: Township Planning staff have been working to assess the COVID-19 situation and make relevant changes to our service delivery. Recognizing the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on our partner agencies, and in the interest of maintaining public safety during this evolving situation, the decision has been made to CANCEL the April 9, 2020 Committee of Adjustment meeting.

Pre-consultation planning meetings will continue to be scheduled but will occur via telephone. The Township recognizes that the broad response to the COVID-19 pandemic creates uncertainty about the timelines for processing planning applications. The Township will update residents as more information becomes available from the Province and our commenting agencies regarding these timelines and the scheduling of public meetings.
Building & Planning Permit Application Submissions: While our office is closed to the public, Planning and Building staff remain available to respond to inquiries and assist in the processing of applications via phone and email. Online submissions are encouraged where possible, however, you can also submit your applications and corresponding information to our drop box located at the front door of our office at 4432 George St., in Sydenham.

Tender Submissions & Openings: Tender & RFP openings will be conducted as scheduled; however due to office closures, the township will be postponing public openings until further notice. Instead, the results of the public tenders and RFPs will be posted immediately on our website’s ‘Tenders’ page here: https://www.southfrontenac.net/en/town-hall/tenders.aspx.

Bidders are encouraged to drop off their tender or RFP package in person at our office drop box located at 4432 George St. in Sydenham, or mail them without requiring a signature upon delivery. Taking these measures will help to ensure your tender documents are received on time.
Summer Student Recruitment: The Township has decided to extend the due date for summer student applications to March 31st, 2020. Although we are still actively recruiting, timelines associated with interviews and hiring may be delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Reminder – Garbage & Recycling: Reminder to residents that all Township waste sites including hazardous waste, are closed to the public until further notice. Garbage and Recycling will continue to be picked up on the regularly scheduled days. Garbage and recycling pickup is available curbside to all residents, including at the end of private lanes. Should you have any questions, please contact our Public Services department at 613-376-3027 ext. 4331.
Please continue to take precautions against the spread of COVID-19 by practicing these everyday steps to reduce exposure to the virus and protect your and others’ health:

wash your hands often with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer
sneeze and cough into your sleeve
avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth
avoid contact with people who are sick
stay home if you are sick

Township Council and Staff will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation with guidance from KFL&A Public Health. Further updates about the Township’s service delivery, facilities, health and safety and more will be available through our website, social media platforms, and our banner in the Frontenac News and other channels.

It is the goal of Council and staff to continue to provide quality services to the public, while keeping residents and staff safe, and to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

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