Social Media Policy

At the September 5, 2017 Council meeting the following social media policy was passed:

Purpose

 This Social Media Policy establishes clear expectations and standards for the use of Social Media by the South Frontenac Township.

Objective

 The distribution of useful information to the residents of South Frontenac Township through widely used Social Media platforms. Provide greater accessibility and transparency of Township business that will promote community engagement and market the Township to a broader audience.

Definitions:

 Social Media: a collection of web based applications and tools that people use to share content, profiles, insights, experiences and perspectives that facilitate online conversations and interactions between groups of people.

Authorized Poster: Individuals approved by the Township to represent and post content to social media on behalf of the Township. Authorized Posters are the only persons with permission to communicate through social media on behalf of the Township.

User: All users of social media other than the Township’s Authorized Posters.

Procedure

 The Townships website www.Southfrontenac.net will remain the Townships primary and predominant internet presence for in-depth information, forms and online documents. All social media sites will be used as a secondary information source, and will direct visitors back to the appropriate section of the Township website.

Media types: 

  • Facebook is a social networking website intended to connect friends, family and business associates – good news stories and
  • Twitter is a free-access, text-based social networking service. User updates, known as “tweets”, are posts of up to 140 characters. New “tweets” are displayed on the user’s web profile page and can be sent to their “followers” or those in their circle of

Authorized Posters 

The CAO or designate and the Executive Assistant are the only Township employees that are authorized to post and remove content from the Township’s Social Media accounts.

No other Township employees or members of the public are authorized to post content on behalf of the South Frontenac Township.

If an employee of the Township wishes to post content to the Township’s social media account that has not been featured on the ‘News and Public Notice’ section of the Township website (http://www.southfrontenac.net/en/news/search.aspx), a request must be submitted to the CAO.

Use 

Authorized Posters shall not comment, reply or engage in any form of direct communication with Social Media users.

Authorized Posters shall only post or distribute content that is related to furthering the Townships interests in a manner that protects the Corporation’s reputation.

There is no minimum requirement for posting content – Content shall be posted only if the material has been previously published on the ‘News and Public Notice’ section of the Township website (http://www.southfrontenac.net/en/news/search.aspx) or approved by the CAO.

Communication through social media and the use of associated technology, will take place during regular business hours and must comply with all other relevant corporate policies, procedures and guidelines as well as provincial and federal legislation.

Disclaimer 

Third-party Social Media sites are private businesses with their own terms of service and privacy policies. The Township does not accept any responsibility for the operation of third-party Social Media sites and is unable to guarantee the privacy of individuals who access content provided to such sites by the Township. Images and comments posted by third parties do not represent the views of the Township. The Township will not be responsible for any losses or damages suffered as a result of using third party Social Media Sites. Those using social media participate at their own risk and for their own benefit; and in doing so accept that they have no right of action against Township related to such use. The Townships Social Media sites are provided on an “as is” and “as available” basis. The Township makes no representations or warranties of any kind, express of implied, as to the sites’ operation or the information, content or materials included on these sites.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Road Assumptions

Council passed the following policy on the assumption of non-subdivision roads at its September 5 2017 meeting.

RECOMMENDATIONS

 That Council adopt the criteria outlined in Report to Council dated September 5, 2017 for Assumption of Non-Subdivision Roads.

BACKGROUND

 The issue arises from time to time as to the process whereby the Township assumes the responsibility for the maintenance of Township owned ROW’s that are traversed by private lanes.

To date, the response to these inquires has been that if the various Lane Associations or individuals are prepared to build up the relevant sections within the Township owned ROW to Township approved standards, Council would then consider assumption.

The Public Services Committee has initiated a formalized process for assumption of lanes on both Township owned and non-owned ROW’s. The following criteria are proposed for assumption. If all criteria are met then the Township WILL assume the applicable sections of road. It should be noted that this process does not apply to Plans of Condominiums. It is less expensive to develop under this approach than Plans of Subdivision that require Public Roads Standards, including sidewalks.

CRITERIA 

  • ROW to be built to Public Roads Standards. (attached)
  • Section to be assumed must be connected to a public road and continuous.
  • The section of private lane must be assumable and continuous from a Public Road including a turnaround at the end of the section to be assumed.
  • For sections of private lanes that fall within non-Township owned ROW’s, the property owners must be prepared to transfer ownership, at no cost, to the
  • More than 50% of property owners, who will utilize the ROW, must be in favour of assumption by the
  • In addition to approved public road standards, asphalt surface is required in plans of subdivisions and
  • Sidewalk requirements in hamlets on cul-de-sacs generally greater than 150 m in
  • Turn around required at end of

FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS

Based on the approved 2017 Operating Budget, road maintenance is estimated to cost, on average, approximately $5,000 per centerline kilometer. It must be recognized that all public roads within South Frontenac are Township owned so the figure of 800 centerline kilometer includes everything from arterial roads, which cost significantly more to maintain, to dead end gravel roads

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Sounds of Silence, Rushing and Success

Limiting Public Involvement

A chart outlining the subdivision/condominium approval process for was presented at the August Council meeting.

What stood out was the lack of public engagement in the process: a lack particularly shocking because this Council had spent a significant amount of time passing a bylaw to improve public notification and opportunities for the public to have their say.

When the County took over the approval process for subdivisions and condominiums, South Frontenac Council asked the County to use our public notification regulations for all proposals in South Frontenac. The County rejected our proposal. County staff say they are working on their own guidelines.

The proposed approval process is a significant step backwards on public engagement and input. South Frontenac residents must now present their concerns to a County committee dominated by residents from outside of South Frontenac, and they will only be given two weeks notice before the official public meeting. There is also a vague reference to notification when the complete application is submitted to the County.

Most in the community will now only hear the sounds of silence on proposed subdivisions and condominiums.

To Improve the process Township Council approved a motion that a public notification be sent out when the initial subdivision concept is presented to the Township. A more formal notice, with a large road sign at the development site will be placed when the full application is verified by the County. And, a further notice, with opportunities for delegations to Township Council, will be given before Council makes its final recommendations to the County. While this is not perfect, it makes the best of a tight County timeline.

The most useful step would be for the Township to take over the approval process: a project for the next couple of years.

A Success – 40-foot Lots Not Supported by Staff

The Shield Shores condominium proposal on Dog Lake proposed back lots with 40 feet of water access frontage. The proposal is contrary to the intent of our Official Plan and zoning bylaws which calls for water front lots having 300-foot frontage.

Many people and lake associations expressed their concerns about this proposal to the Township and County. Township planning staff recommend that these private rights of way to the lake should not be allowed.

The County still has to make a decision on the Shield Shores proposal. If you would like to express your concerns about the 40-foot private access points send your comments to:

Ron Higgins, Mayor of North Frontenac and Chair of the County’s Planning Advisory Committee, ron.higgins@xplornet.com, and

Joe Gallivan, Director Planning, jgallivan@frontenaccounty.ca.

Rushing Development Misses Important Problem

Council was unable to make recommendations to the County on the Shield Shores subdivision because, on the day before the proposals were to be considered, our staff determined that the shoreline is a shallow water body. Developments on shallow water bodies have stricter conditions. Neither the developer nor the County had investigated this fact that was raised at the public meeting. Congratulations to our staff on following up.

The oversite is emblematic of a process that separates the approval process, in our case the County, from the Township staff that does the work and the community most affected. Again, it is necessary to bring the approval for larger developments under Township control.

Back Lot Development?

Many people have raised the fact that the condominium proposal includes back lots. Other condos and subdivisions have also had similar back lot development.

The Township Official plan also does support back lot development: (section 5.7.7 ii c)
“no development shall be permitted on existing private roads or extensions thereto which would have the effect of creating new lots without water frontage on a private road which services primarily waterfront residential developments (i.e. no back-lot development).”

There is some confusion because this clause is in the section on severances and not in the sections on Condominiums and subdivisions. The advanced state of the Shield Shores proposal makes any objection on this point difficult, but this concern has merit.

Council needs to be more vigilant on future developments, and, more importantly, changes are needed to the Official Plan to make the prohibition on back lots clear.

A Well Used Point

The redevelopment of the Point Park is finished and wonderful. It was also well used, with Canada Day, the Triathlon, the Lakes and Trails Festival and a Sydenham Canoe Club regatta all drawing large crowds. Many thinks to all the volunteers, participants and staff who made these events a success.

Bedford Road Construction

Council has approved a 1.5-million-dollar contract to reconstruct Bedford Road from the Sydenham dam to Alton road. Construction will start this fall and finish next July.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Outdoor Solid Fuel Burning Appliance By-law

Council will be considering a report at the August 1, 2017 Council meeting regarding the regulation of outdoor solid fuel burning appliances. Anyone wishing to address Council on this matter should contact the Clerks Department no later than 12:00 noon July 27, 2017 for delegation status.

The draft by-law  is available on the Township website.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The New Norm: 40 Foot Lake Front Lots?

A new waterfront lot with only 40 feet of frontage was given approval in principle at the last Committee of the Whole meeting in June. The zoning bylaw calls for new lots to have a minimum of 300 feet of frontage. In addition, the lot is 1.73 acres instead of the minimum 2.5 acres required in the zoning bylaw.

The argument was made that the piece of water front was not used and the lot was a special case. Latter in the same meeting support was given for Shield Shores, a new condominium subdivision proposed for Dog Lake, which includes three functional small water front lots over right of ways to back lots.

It was argued that these are not lots, they are ‘Right of Ways’ attached to back lots. That is true. Nonetheless, they provide deeded access to the water, just like a lot, and sole access to the water, just like a lot. If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck….

The Official Plan and Zoning Bylaw support large lake front lots to protect lakes. These small access frontages encourage back lot development, or subdivisions, on lakes, increasing the concentration of septic systems near shorelines. Second, large lots encourage natural shorelines: shoreline that provides habitat for 90% of the water’s species and provides a barrier to surface runoff. Both important factors in lake health. Many small lot access points increase the number of necessary shoreline disruptions.

It is reasonable for these small lake front owners to bring in some patio stones, create a fire pit, set up lawn chairs and a mesh bug tent next to the water. A BBQ and folding table would be appropriate, as well as a small pump house type of storage shed for supplies. Many would want to use a four-wheeler creating a significant path. All of these options are allowed in the current condominium proposal and in our zoning bylaws.

The Conservation Authority is recommending that there should be no docks at these access points though the developer is still arguing for small docks to accommodate non-motorized boats. Regardless of the final agreement, it would be unreasonable to limit the use of canoes and kayaks from these small water access points. And there will be continued pressure to build small docks.

It is worth noting that the Shield Shores condominium proposal has a common water access point for back lots in addition to the three narrow private access points and the maximum number of waterfront lots allowed on the site. The majority of Council gave approval to these provisions. Councillors Schjerning, Roberts and Revill all voiced their support. Councillor Sleeth joined them in supporting the creation of a lot with 40 foot frontage.

I would be interested in your comments on creating these narrow, about 40-foot-wide, functional lake front lots. It is a trend that has also started to show up at the Committee of Adjustment and one that I am concerned will weaken the health of our lakes.

Perth Road Fire Hall

A recommendation for a contractor to build the Perth Road Fire Hall is scheduled to come to Council on July 11. If all goes well, by the time of my next Councillor’s Report shovels will be in the ground.

Lake Reports

The Cataraqui Conservation Authority has produced monitoring reports on most lakes in the Township. They can be found at: www.crca.ca/lake-reports.
Water Quality and Vulnerability in South Frontenac

There will be a public meeting on Water Quality and its vulnerability in South Frontenac on August 22 in the Community Room of the Sydenham Library from 6:30-9pm. The event is free and everyone is welcome.

Sydenham’s History

A map of Sydenham’s many interesting historic sites can now be found on line at: http://www.southfrontenac.net/en/things-to-do/historical-walking-tour-of-sydenam.asp . Thanks to Gini Trousdale, Wilma Kenny and the County for the website work.

The First Annual Lakes and Trails Festival

The first annual Lakes and Trails Festival is being held in Sydenham on July 15 from 10am to 2pm. Everyone is welcome and all events are free. It is being held at the Point Park. Featured activities include: a Bike Around the Lake; a Cycle Skills Rodeo; paddling on the lake; a historic walking tour of Sydenham Village; and a community BBQ.

A full Schedule of events, prizes and sponsors can be found at: https://lakesandtrailsfestival.org/.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Lawyers and Lessons

Business was slow around the council circle in May. However, lawyers and the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) had a busy month with 11 days of hearings in the Township Hall. Both the Hartington subdivision and the 30 meters lake protection bylaw appeal were heard. Decisions are expected in a few months.

Important Words

OMB hearings show how important the words and ideas in our official plan (OP) and zoning bylaws are. These are two of the four main documents used in determining how development will take place in the Township. The other two are provincial: the Planning Act and the Provincial Policy Statements.

The importance of our OP and zoning bylaw will increase, if, as proposed by the government, the Ontario Municipal Board is abolished. Greater power is proposed for municipal councils to make the final decisions on development.

The suggested new process will allow development decisions to be overturned only if they do not follow provincial policies or municipal plans. The new “Local Planning Appeal Tribunal” will, if a violation is found, rather than determining the final development, refer it back to the local Council for re-working.

These changes make it more important that we have an up-to-date Official Plan and zoning bylaw that reflect the wishes of the community.

Hamlets

The fact that Hartington is a “settlement area” listed in our OP was important in the planning discussion at the OMB. The provincial government’s Policy Statements direct that “settlement areas” or hamlets should be prioritized for development.

One of the ways we can control development is by being clear on what areas should be hamlets. Our Township has many small historic hamlets. Hartington is one of these, as well as in Loughborough, Rialton, Perth Road, Wilmer and Spaffordton. Do we want subdivision developments in these areas? Should we be more restrictive of development in rural areas? Should we prioritize a few hamlets for more development and make them commercial hubs for the community?

The Hartington hearing pointed to hamlets and hamlet boundaries as one of the urgent issues to consider in a community rewrite of our Official Plan.

Poor Water Areas

The Hartington appeal, regardless of the outcome, highlighted that we do not have policies that adequately protect and improve ground water quantity and quality. This is an oversite for a township with many areas of poor water quality and quantity and one that will rely on private wells for the foreseeable future.

The Conservation Authorities’ recent identification of water recharge zones and areas of ground water vulnerability, the provincial source water protection initiatives and current research on septic systems and water quality provide more information that we need to consider in directing development. Ground water is another area that needs to be addressed in a new Official Plan.

Monitoring

The Hartington subdivision hearing also questioned whether the Township and County can ensure that conditions put on subdivisions proposals are completed before development can begin. Last year, Council echoed this concern by proposing to hire an outside consultant to oversea the implementation of conditions on all ongoing subdivision/condominium developments.

It is common, and often reasonable, to say to a developer, if these conditions are met then the development can proceed. The developer takes the risk of trying to meet the conditions (if they are not met than the development can not proceed and the investment is lost). On the other hand, there is an assurance that if the conditions are met then the development will proceed.

For this approach to work, the community needs confidence that any conditions placed on the development, for instance around water, traffic, noise, lights, aesthetics, and other improvements beneficial to the community, are met.

The proposal to hire a consultant was put on hold pending the hiring of new Manager of Planning and Development. That has been done and a motion is coming to the next Council meeting asking for a report on the Township’s ability, in terms of resources and process, to ensure that conditions placed on developments are met.

Summer Activities

In addition to our regular summer activities there is a Township wide Canada 150th celebration taking place in Centennial Park, Harrowsmith on August 26. The first annual Lakes and Trails Festival is being held in Sydenham on July 15 from 10am-2pm. More information can be found at: https://lakesandtrailsfestival.org/

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Noise and Notification

Concerts by the Lake

For decades Desert Lake Campground has been having up to 12 open air concerts a summer on the shores of Desert Lake. For decades residents have complained about the noise negatively affecting their quality of life. Over the past couple of summers this conflict has “come to a head” with the OPP being called. New owners of the resort responded last summer by ending the concerts ended at 11pm. The Township responded by saying that the noise bylaw must be respected.

South Frontenac’s noise bylaw was passed to regulate noise that is “likely to disturb” residents: including electronically amplified music that “disturbs the peace and comfort of a person.” The Campground needed and, last winter, applied for an exemption to the noise bylaw to hold open air concerts this summer.

Council has granted other exemptions. The Great Canadian Guitar Festival has been exempted, as were the mud drag races and, occasionally, family celebrations, like weddings. Last year, fireworks were further restricted primarily to maintain some semblance of peace and quiet in the evenings.

There are over 40 campgrounds in the Township and none have regular live bands. Maybe because they offer a peaceful vacation, most of our campgrounds are full most of the time. Campgrounds are not meant to be concert venues: it is not compatible with lake life. Sound travels on lakes making lakes close residential communities. It is hard to imagine why a loud music event would be allowed in any residential community, urban or rural, on a regular basis.

Seven Councilors voted in favour of a noise bylaw exemption that will permit four live music concerts at Desert Lake Campground this summer. I and Councilor Revill voted against. The exemption includes a stipulation that the concerts must end at 10pm and bylaw enforcement will be present. Whether further exemptions are granted next year will partially depend on the response of the residents and the Campground to this year’s concerts.

The exemption allowed by Council will likely continue the tension between the campground and residents. It will continue to hurt the quality of life on the lake and sets a precedent that could undercut all communities in South Frontenac.

Notification for Subdivisions Proposals

Last year South Frontenac Council passed expanded notification for public input on proposed subdivisions to allow all residents, permanent and seasonal, a reasonable opportunity to comment. When Frontenac County took over the all aspects of the subdivision approval process Council forwarded our expanded notification provisions to the County for adoption.

The County is now asking for public input on the suitability of expanded notification for residents.

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, many residents of South Frontenac are away for significant amounts of time during the year. Expanding notification gives the time needed to notify these residents and for them to comment.

If you wish to comment on the importance of extended notification please contact the County by May 29: Mail to: County Clerk, Frontenac County, 2069 Battersea Road, Glenburnie, ON, K0H 1S0; or, email your comments to: info@frontenaccounty.ca.

The requirement to ask for something that has already been supported by South Frontenac is another reason that we need to bring back full control over subdivisions to the Township.

OMB Hearings

May will be a busy month for South Frontenac at the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB).
Two weeks have been set aside to hear the appeal of the County’s approval of a 13-unit subdivision in Hartington. The hearing starts on May 8 at 11 am.

The appeal of the changes to the zoning bylaw intended to add clarity to the 2003 rules on development in the 30-meter buffer around lakes is scheduled for two days starting May 25 at 10:30am.

Either hearing could not proceed if the sides reach an agreement ahead of time. Both hearings will take place in the Township Council Chambers. The Hearings are open to the public.

Bedford Road Improvements

Bedford Road from the CRCA dam in Sydenham to Alton road, including the Bedford- Portland Corner, is scheduled for redevelopment this year. A meeting to review the proposal from Public Works and invite comments from the public is being held on Wednesday, May 10 from 7-9 pm in the Township Hall. Everyone is welcome. Come along, find out what is proposed and have your say.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment