Fire Hall Energy Update
Council agreed to place a 10 KWH solar power plant on the roof of the new Battersea Road fire hall. This will be the first renewable energy installation on South Frontenac Township property. Council also agreed to install a heat pump as the primary source for heating and cooling the administrative offices which will result is a significant reduction fossil fuel use.
Gypsy Moth Update
There is cautious optimism this week with increasing reports of gypsy moths killed by the natural virus and fungus. It is certainly happening in our area.
A helpful source of information on the infestation is an Ontario Woodlot Association webinar. There were many valuable bits of information but three stood out:
- When scrapping the egg masses off tress they have to be actively be killed, not simply knocked to the ground, which I had been doing. The eggs survive under snow, in fact may prefer it. The eggs can be killed in variety of ways, popular ones are putting them in soapy water or into a fire.
- The history of gypsy moths in North America in some ways follows that of ticks. They are moving north because winters are warmer, cold snaps below -20 degrees increase egg mortality, and cool damp springs benefit the natural gypsy moth caterpillar controls. Both conditions are less common in the changing climate.
- A discussion by a group near Perth who had organized community spraying might be a useful to those interested in this option. The webinar leader showed pictures of sprayed areas, and under ideal conditions there is a beneficial effect, but it is not complete, and BTK kills are all species of moths and butterfly’s that are in the caterpillar stage when it is applied. There is also some evidence that spraying may prolong the infestation.
Community Grant Updates
Grants were given out this year in the traditional community grants program and in a one-time program to offset the damage done by COVID restrictions. The list of all grants in both streams can be found on Council’s June 1st meeting agenda, items 10 b) + c).
The 2021 community grants helped pay for trail improvements, floating wetlands to decrease blue green algae, assistive device storage and the Bellrock Hall 160th anniversary celebrations.
The CVOID grants were designed to target groups active in our community that had limited ability to access funds from other levels of government. Groups that received COVID grants included Lions Clubs, Legions, the Bellrock Hall, Sydenham Canoe Club, Frontenac Society of Model Engineers, New Leaf Link and Wintergreen Studios.
Many community volunteers keep organizations vital to the fabric of our community going through this challenging time. Thanks to everyone.
Official Pan Update
Council approved an engagement strategy for the new official plan that will build on the open houses held just before COVID struck. The consultations will take place from July to October and include focus groups, online surveys, virtual meetings and, with some luck and lots of vaccines, open public meetings.
The goal is to have a new official plan passed in the fall of 2022.
Now is the time to make your voice heard about what kind of community we want South Frontenac to be in 20 years. The official plan will set the guidelines for that development.
Conservation Authority Threat
The provincial government is changing the laws and regulations governing Conservation Authorities. These changes will limit the Authority’s ability to protect the environment and pose a threat to conservation lands.
These changes could affect the viability of the Gould Lake Conservation Area, the Cataraqui Trail and some boat launches in South Frontenac. Specifically, it could make it harder to keep them open with free public access. All of these spaces are well used by local residents and strong shows of public support are needed to keep open.
The government is currently waiting for comments from the Environmental Impact Review Board before finalizing the changes.
South Frontenac Council supported a motion to obtain Conservation Authority comment if the province tries to use a Ministerial Zoning Order (MZO) in South Frontenac. MZOs are being used more frequently to override local planning processes and conservation regulations, and often to put development in environmentally sensitive areas. Council’s motion tries to bring back a local perceptive on any development the province wants to push through with an MZO.
Burning Bylaw Update
Council has approved a community consultation process on an open-air burning permit system. The results of the consultation are to come back to Council before any changes to the current Open Air Burning bylaw are considered.
Council had cancelled Canada Day due to COVID restrictions. This pause may prove beneficial as we develop a new and deeper understanding of our Country. The residential school findings and the killing of a Muslim Canadian family highlight some of the changes needed to make our Country work for all its residents.