How is the Township Working

In the midst of this wonky winter it is a good time to hunker down and do some indoor work. The Township seems to feel the same.

Township Organizational Review

Council agreed to review the Township’s organizational structure to see if it is adequate to meet our changing needs.

When I was canvassing there were numerous suggestions like: “the Township has too many people doing ‘this’ when they should be doing ‘that’” and “the Township needs to be more responsive and easier to work with”.

Some of the answers to these statements are changes in policy, others are organizational issues. How are staff are organized, how many staff do we need, what are they assigned to do, and how staff relate to Council and the public, will be addressed.

If you have any comments on how the Township organizes its staff and does its business please pass them along. I will pass them onto the review team.

Changes Needed to the Official Plan

What kind of a Township do we want in 20 years? Some of the debates in the last year indicate that what many Township residents want in 20 years is not what is currently permitted under the Official Plan.

Some specific concerns identified were:

• What should be the boundaries of the hamlets? Are there too many hamlets? And, what distinguishes development in our hamlets from development in surrounding rural areas.
• Increased protection for our lakes by better protecting our provincially significant wetlands (PSWs). Should we prohibit the creation of waterfront lots in the vicinity of PSWs and the placement of docks on waterfront properties that do not have navigable water?
• Better control of development in rural areas to enhance our agricultural activities, natural environments, long term ground water quality and quantity, and our rural/small urban lifestyle.
• Do we need different development guidelines in areas identified as having poor ground water quality and quantity?
• Identifying areas that are amenable to industrial and commercial development in our hamlets rather than permitting their development anywhere.

Reviewing these issues should be a priority for the Township, or we may know where we want to go but we won’t get there.

Sydenham Water

The annual report on the Sydenham water system, one of our largest pieces of municipal infrastructure, was both dissatisfying and helpful.

It was dissatisfying because we could not come to any agreement on what actually is happening with the water system.

It was helpful because we identified a core problem: there is a conflict between the abstract professional standards that the engineers rely on and what is actually happening on the ground. I have asked for some greater clarity on what measures we are legally required to use, as compared to what are professional standards or recommendations, as compared to the actual figures for water usage.

There is also a discrepancy between the actual number of metered hook-ups as compared to Designated Unit Equivalents. DUEs are figures assigned to each meter for purposes of billing. For instance the senior’s residences and commercial facilities have higher DUE’s than single family dwellings. I have asked for this point to be straightened out.

Nonetheless, a bottom line appears to be that the plant has at least 300 cubic meters of unused capacity even if all those who currently pay for the system but are not hooked-up started to use municipal water.

We have opportunities to increase use and income. That is the next step. I will keep you informed, please pass along any thoughts you have.

Cycling Friendly Infrastructure Proposal

A community discussion on proposals for safer cycling and pedestrian infrastructure in South Frontenac is being held in the Community Room of the Sydenham Library, Wednesday, March 30, 7-9. Your input will help shape a report from the Share the Road Cycling Coalition on cycling needs in South Frontenac. Everyone welcome.

Perth Road Winter Olympics

The Perth Road Winter Olympics, open to everyone in the community, is next Saturday, March 5, 12-5pm at the School. Let’s hope for snow, come along either way it is a fun afternoon.

Perth Road Constituency Drop-In.

will be at the Harris Hall in Perth Road Village on Saturday, April 2 from 1-3pm if you want to drop-in and talk about any local issue.

About Ross Sutherland

retired nurse, researcher, public health care activist.
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