Who’s In-Charge, Anyway?

Residents concerned about the Johnson’s Point Condominium development took videos of areas on The Point that appear to have been cleared.

The conditions of approval for the development state that: “all vegetation, with the exception of invasive species, shall be retained and maintained in their natural state within 30m of all water bodies”.

If what the videos show is correct the developer would be in violation of the development’s conditions of approval.

The residents brought their concerns to South Frontenac Council. Since the County has final approval authority for condominiums, Council passed a motion asking the County to investigate “a possible violation of the conditions of approval for the Johnson’s Point development”.

In response the County referred to a legal opinion that argued it was not possible to change the Conditions of Approval, an issue unrelated to the motion.   Second, the County used a letter which clearly states that the Conservation Authority has no “regulatory” role regarding the OMB agreement, and that compliance “rests with the principal approval authority” – in this case Frontenac County Council – to argue that any clearing had not damaged the wetland.  Based on these two opinions the County dismissed the resident’s concerns.

The Township flipped the residents’ concerns to the County, the County punted them to the Conservation Authority and there was still no clear answer. This is a recurring question at both Council and the Committee of Adjustment: who ensures that conditions for a development, that have been set in consultation with the community, and approved by a democratic authority, are carried out.

Township Council asked for a legal opinion on that point.  The Township’s lawyer’s response is item 7(a) in the May 15 Council Agenda.

One take-home message is that the Township has a role in overseeing the Conditions of Approval since the Township has to send to the County a recommendation on how well condominium and subdivision developments have met the conditions of approval.

The County should be monitoring the developments since it has to give final approval.  The residents are paying for two levels of government to oversea developments and yet it is hard to get a straight answer to a concern.

There will be more to come on this issue and Johnson’s Point, including at the May 15th Council meeting.

Speed Bumps

The Public Services Committee is preparing to bring a report to Council on the use of speed bumps to slow down traffic on secondary roads.  Their preliminary draft contains these criteria for the use of speed bumps: no arterial roads, no gravel roads and a traffic and speed analysis must be undertaken that warrants temporary traffic calming.

Speeding is probably the most common concern in the Township.  Any comments on what the Township should do?

Public Notification Still Lacking

A public meeting for a new four unit condominium on Dog Lake was held on May 9.  The meeting was held in Sydenham rather than Battersea or Seely’s Bay, either of which would have been more accessible to the directly affected residents.

The notification given for the public meeting was the minimum required under the Planning Act, 20 days.

Township Council, when it was organizing the public meetings, changed the required public notification to include a large sign at the site, a notification to the public when proposals were first presented and a minimum notification of 6 weeks for the official pubic meeting.  The Township asked the County to use our enhanced notification provisions.  Two years later this is still not happening.

Our Council supported more notification for two main reasons. New subdivision and condominium proposals are complicated, involving many studies and issues, like water is low water areas, proximity to wetlands, and overcrowding on lakes and roads. To prepare adequate comment on these proposals takes time.

Second, expanding notification gives the time needed to notify residents who are away for significant parts of the year and for them to comment. Similarly, many residents have jobs and children and need time to make arrangements to come to meetings.

All of these big projects have been in the works for months, if not years, ahead of the public meeting.  Waiting a few extra weeks to allow the public to comment is not an impediment to development.

Second Annual Lakes and Trails Festival

The Second Annual Lakes and Trails Festival will take place on July 14 at the Point Park in Sydenham.  Events include a bike around the lake, a cycle skills competition, a family bike, introduction to paddling, boat trials, a historic walk around the village and “Music on Mill Street” in the afternoon.  The festival is free and everyone is welcome to come.


About Ross Sutherland

retired nurse, researcher, public health care activist.
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