Council’s focus in June reflected our desire for summer to return (remember we hit 30 degrees in early May).
Besides some roads, the Sydenham water system may be the largest piece of infrastructure owned by the Township. While the objective is to make it pay for itself, if it fails, or drives businesses and people out of Sydenham, the liability falls back on the whole Township. The system has been contentious from day one, now is the time to come together and make the system work for Sydenham.
In response to a recent staff report I moved that the contentious 25 dollar per month “penalty “fee paid by residents who have not hooked up be eliminated. This fee was on top of the full 706 dollars a year – over 900 next year -they, as all water users, pay. Going forward, all residents who front on the waters lines will pay the same, similarly all businesses will pay the same business rate.
The next step is to come to an agreement on two questions: how much of the plant’s capacity is being used? and, now that we have provided safe drinking water to people’s property line, if they choose to drink their own well water, or bottled water, rather the Township’s water is there any further township liability?
At the last Council meeting we supported 24 of 25 FIT solar projects (less than 5 acres and 500 Kilowatts). Two of the three Sun Edison projects were withdrawn by the developer after a large public meeting in Harrowsmith. One more, off of Battersea Road, has been proposed by Bonfield Construction. The two large solar projects will be voted on no later than the August 4 Council meeting.
I have canvased many of the neighbours next to the Loughborough sites. Most were generally supportive of solar energy and raised legitimate concerns about possible effects on property values, landscape views, wetlands and wildlife; and the use the herbicides and the loss of farmland. Provincial regulations and commitments from developers seem to address most of these. Please contact me and I would be happy to talk in detail about any of them.
Some people have criticized the solar farms for paying the Township money. Solar farms should increase the Township’s income. This is same benefit we gain from subdivision developments. It seems likely that the proposed solar developments could pay an amount equivalent to the taxes from a 30-50 home, non-waterfront, subdivision. The real question is how we control them to improve the Township.
Broader issues for me (and many in the community) were that, like Bruce nuclear, the gas pants and some water power, we were supporting more for-profit electricity generation. Similarly, while the regulations and commitments may be good, without a strong public service to enforce them will we be struck with unsightly projects?
These are important questions and I would be happy to work with anyone to develop a better provincial energy policy. In the end these are not the issues South Frontenac Council will be voting on. Rather we must decide if, on balance, do these, as any development, benefit the Township, local residents and help reduce climate change.
The old joke that Canada has two seasons, winter and road construction, certainly applies to South Frontenac. For a relatively large rural township we have a pretty good road system and the Public Works department is getting better at forecasting when road work will be done, consulting the affected community on big projects and making this information publicly available. If you have any concerns about your Township roads please call me or the Public Works department.
Sydenham Football Field
Yes, it looks like the repair and upgrade of the field is acutely going to happen. The contract has been let. It came in at 196 thousand dollars more than budgeted. This cost will be shared with the School Board and will be spread over two years to minimize the impact on taxes. This is money well spent to keep this a wonderful recreation space in Sydenham.
Updates and Upcoming meetings
The revised recommendations on partially maintained roads are scheduled to come to Council on August 4.
Recommendations on parking and a possible one way street in Sydenham will be presented to a public meeting on July 28.
An updated draft of the official plan to incorporate new provincial legislative policies and a number of Township-initiated changes will be presented to an Open House, Monday, July 13 at 7:00 pm, at the Municipal Council Chambers. I would encourage you to become familiar with the issues and make comments on any areas of concern in a letter or in person by August 11 when the formal public meeting will be held.
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.
HAPPY CANADA DAY,