Defying the Doldrums of Summer

Defying the doldrums of summer the August Council meeting proved very effective at moving forward some important issues.

More Open Budget Process

For the first-time the Township’s budget process will include input from the public. At the September 8 meeting all residents are invited to tell the Council what they think should be in the 2016 budget. What should we be funding? What do we currently spend money on that we shouldn’t? Tell us your general comments on the Township’s finances, for example, the organization of reserves, taxes, and investments. To present your comments on the Township’s budget call the Township office, 613-376-3027 to make a deputation or submit your comments in writing to the Township office.

Public delegations on the budget will be heard September 8, at 7pm, in the Council chambers. All welcome.

Partially Maintained Roads

The August 4 meeting received a legal report on the Township’s obligations for road maintenance: it is a mixture of precedent, legal requirements, reasonableness, conscious decision making and the use of the road. We now have a list of 45 roads that the Township has a responsibility for but only partially maintains. More importantly, we have taken the first step in improving service by extending winter maintenance to 14 roads with permanent residents. More will happen gradually, over time, as finances allow.

A special thanks to the residents on Little Long Lake Road West and Norman Lane for moving this agenda forward, especially the Norman Lane residents who, unfortunately, will receive limited benefit from the approach taken by Council.

Solar Power

At the mid-summer council meeting the Township fully entered the age of renewable energy production giving our endorsement to two larger solar farms and 25 smaller FIT projects.

The Township will benefit from a significant increase in income directly to the Township and to local residents. These kinds of developments will decentralize the power grid making it more stable, and, with the falling costs of renewables, help keep us from investing in more, very expensive and environmentally damaging, nuclear power.

As importantly, moving to solar power will help address climate change. The big effects of climate change, droughts, increased disease burden, more severe weather events, rising sea levels, also manifest at the local level in threats to our lakes and natural environment. More invasive species, including ticks – west nile virus and zebra mussels -, algae blooms not directly related to phosphate levels and greater water level fluctuations leading to shoreline erosion, are some immediate local concerns influenced by climate change.

One misconception that circulated during the discussion about solar energy was that installing a solar facility changed the zoning of the land to industrial. The zoning does not change with the installation of solar panels: if it was residential it stays residential, if rural it stays rural.

While none of the projects is guaranteed funding the Township has made a step forward in combating climate change, protecting our future and joining in the transition to a low carbon energy economy.

Official Plan Public Meeting

The official Public Meeting to hear deputations on our Official Plan is Tuesday, August 11 at 7 pm in the council chambers. Come along and present your thoughts on what should be in South Frontenac’s Official Plan so that development works for the residents of South Frontenac.

Johnson Point

The independent peer review of the Environmental Impact Assessment of the Johnson Point development was presented to the August Council meeting. The peer review raised many concerns including a potential violation of the Endangered Species Act. Council has referred the road development on Johnson Point the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry for an investigation of a potential violation of the Endangered Species Act.

South Frontenac Museum

South Frontenac will be opening its own museum celebrating our rich heritage. The museum is located in Hartington at 5595 Road 38, the corner with Boyce Road and Holleford Road. The official opening ceremonies are at 11 am, August 15: everyone welcome.

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.

About Ross Sutherland

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