Johnson Point , Solar Farms and Roads

The most contested issue this month has been the proposed for Johnson Point development on the East Basin of Loughborough Lake.

A growing number of residents have been expressing concerns about the number of lots; increased boat traffic on Long Bay, a provincially significant wetland; increased road traffic on North Shore Road; and, the sense of putting any development on that Point.

Most councillors still feel there are questions that need to be answered before a decision can be made.  I presented a motion with 10 concerns I felt had not been adequately addressed and Councillor Roberts presented a motion calling for another Environmental Impact Assessment.

Rather than try and work with community the developer responded by referring the development to the Ontario Municipal Board – essentially “thumbing his nose” at local concerns.

An underlying reason why Council and the community are struggling with this lake development is that most of the good development sites on lakes are gone and we are left considering developments on significant wetlands on increasingly crowded lakes – not ideal sites.

When we look back on planning decisions 50 years ago, rows of cottages with marginal sewage systems on the lake’s edge, we can see the long term results of planning errors – hind sight is perfect, but we would hope that our ability to foresee would also be increasing.  The official plan calls for limited full time residential development on lakes.   The east basin already has over 300 lots and 55% of these are full time residents.  There are legitimate reasons to be concerned about this development.

Also, Lakes are common property of all residents in South Frontenac.  Maintaining reasonable levels of development keeps lake available for everyone to use with limited conflict between lake front owners and other township residents.

South Frontenac is currently experiencing significant development pressure with at least 7 possible new subdivisions.  Most of these are not on lakes and involve a significantly higher number of moderately priced lots than the 14 very expensive lots on Johnson Point that pose a threat to a valuable community resource.  I fully support Councils decision to take some more time to fully examine all the impacts of the Johnson Point development.

Solar Farms Coming To South Frontenac?

Council has had two deputations from large energy firms to development solar farms in South Frontenac. The most advanced is from Sun Edison to develop a 100 acer, 15 megawatt, solar farm just south of Harrowsmith.  The company seems open to adequate community consultation and a community compensation agreement.  Council indicated initial support for these developments.

Partially Maintained Roads and Maintenance Schedules

The pre-amalgamation townships left us with a hodgepodge of roads with all sorts of informal maintenance regimes.  My favourite is the five roads where we provide winter plowing but no summer maintenance, I am still are not quite sure how that works. The public works department has undertaken an important initiative to identify all the Township roads, what services we have traditionally supplied, and what are the township’s responsibilities. We cannot know how to improve service and meet our legal obligations if we do not know what is out there.

This will be a multi-year process.  My objectives in the near-term are to keep the level of service we have been providing, involve residents in identifying their priorities for improvement, move as quickly as possible to winter maintenance on all Township roads that have full time residents, and work out a fair and gradual plan to improve underserviced township roads without unduly increasing costs.

Sydenham Point Park and the Football Field

This will be a big year for improving recreation facilities in Sydenham.  The Point Park shoreline will be stabilized.  A public meeting to hear resident’s comments on the project will be held within the next month, watch for the exact date.  The Township and the School Board are close to an agreement to repair the football field which will close the field for a year starting this summer.

South Frontenac Rides

I have presented a motion to council to make South Frontenac Rides an official committee of Council.  The next meeting of the group is Monday, March 30, 7pm in the Council chambers, everyone is welcome.  The South Frontenac Bike festival will be on June 7.

I would like to know your opinion on any of the above issues as well as any other concerns you may have.  Please give me a call, 613-532-7846, or send me an email.

I look forward to seeing you around the township.

Ross.

 

About Ross Sutherland

nurse, researcher, public health care activist, councillor South Frontenac Township
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