Residents and Species at Risk

Ambulance Shortage

South Frontenac’s Fire Chief’s quarterly reports contain all sorts of information on fire and rescue services in the Township.

In his last report, as it is in most, the largest number of calls that our volunteers respond to are medical calls, that is calls with no fire or rescue component.

I asked the Chief about these calls. The Chief said that our emergency services get called out for medial emergencies when there is no ambulance able to respond within 15 minutes. In the first nine months of this year our services responded to 212 medical emergencies. In other words, South Frontenac residents called 911 for medical help 212 times when there was no ambulance able to respond within 15 minutes. Last year the total number was 243, and we are likely to exceed that this year.

Our fire and recuse personnel are well trained first responders, they do their best and can initiate very valuable, potentially lifesaving, first aid, like control bleeding, administering oxygen and delivering a cardiac shock. Nonetheless, they do not have more advanced lifesaving skills like administering medications nor are they able to transfer a patient to hospital.

One comment at Council was that recent cuts in funding for ambulance services was partially to blame, as are overcrowded emergency rooms, which tie up ambulances.

Regardless, we are still at risk. I presented a motion to council earlier this fall asking the provincial government to maintain, at least, the current level of ambulance services. Unfortunately, it was defeated in a 5-4 vote. Perhaps, if the Fire Chief’s report had come out earlier, the vote would have been different.

Johnson’s Point Species-at-Risk Benefit Permit

There is a new twist in the Johnson’s-Point-development-and-its-threat-to-the-provincially-significant- wetland-and-species-at- risk saga that has been going on for years.

One of the small victories at the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) that approved this project was an order that the developer apply to the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) for a benefit permit: a permit that requires the MNR to evaluate the site for any species-at-risk and issue orders to protect, or mitigate, the damage to those species. I have written before about the limitations of this process.

The MNR issued the Johnson’s Point benefit permit this past month with significant portions blacked out. The OMB ordered that the benefit permit has to be incorporated into the conditions of approval for the development, conditions the Council has to vote on. The conditions of approval also guide how site plans for the development are created and how the building department issues permits.

After final approval is given to the project, it is the Township’s job to enforce the conditions of approval. Fulfilling all of these responsibilities seems impossible if the recommendations in the benefit permit are not known.
The planning department is working to have a full, un-redacted version, which has no deletions, attached to the final conditions of approval.

While obtaining the full benefit permit is a work in process, it is one that needs to be completed for the OMB decisions to be honoured and the Township to do its job monitoring the development.

Official Plan Consultation Results

The first round of pubic consultations for the new Official Plan have concluded. 125 people provided input at the open houses and 129 responded to the online survey. The most common words attendees at the open houses used to describe what they love about South Frontenac were: lakes, close to the city, community, rural feel and people.

72% felt that growth should take place in the villages and hamlets. 18% of respondents identified the environment, 13% water quality, 13% the economy, 10 % growth and 8 % for each of agriculture, lakes and rivers and rural character as top issues to be addressed in the Official Plan.

The top five issues that respondents to the online survey want discussed in the Official Plan process are were: natural environment, climate change, water quality and quantity, state of the lakes and affordable housing.

There were many more comments on the challenges the Township faces, the vision for the Township and a variety of other issues. A full list of all comments and further analysiscan be found in the agenda for the November 25 Development Services meeting.

These results provide the basis for initial research and drafts. There will be more opportunity for the public to comment in the spring and fall next year.

 

About Ross Sutherland

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