HIRA BRIEFING NOTE June 15, 2021

This is a brief note to HIRA members and other residents of Howe Island about the Township of Frontenac Islands council meeting held on Monday June 14, 2021. In light of Covid-19 restrictions, the meeting was virtual. The public was provided with Zoom access to the meeting. A few of our HIRA directors called into the meeting. Only matters of particular interest to Howe Island residents are highlighted here.

STATUS OF ROAD MAINTENANCE INITIATIVES 2021:

  • North Shore Road:  Ditching work started June 8, 2021. Plan is to complete work by mid-July per Public Works Manager report to Council.
  • Baseline Road: From Howe Island Drive to municipal buildings hard surface to be applied by Miller Paving before end of June per Public Works Manager report to council. 

The section of the road west of the municipal buildings to Goodfriend Drive will have potholes patched and shoulders graded this season immediately after North Shore Road work is

completed.

  • Spithead Road: Hard surface treatment to be completed, in concert with Baseline Road hard surface application, before end of June per Public Works Manager report to Council.

FACILITIES & EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT UPGRADES:

  • Howe Island Administration Office & Library:

No change in status from May 11, 2021 briefing note. Window installation scheduled for completion before end of July. Flooring installation yet to be scheduled.

  • Helipad Upgrade:

No change in status since May 11, 2021 briefing note. This project will be a 2022 budget item for council consideration.

  • Howe Island Recreation Trail Maintenance:

Staff will be grading trail prior to applying stone after new         tractor is delivered on, or about, June 20, 2021.

Stone to be applied to trail after grading is complete.

  • Upgrades to Patrick Norris Park:

Federal, provincial and municipal funding approval for upgrades to Patrick Norris Park are now in place and the project is expected to be completed during the current construction season.

Upgrades are expected to include

  1. Construction of accessible public washrooms
  2. Install multi-use tennis courts with capability to accommodate other sports e.g. pickleball etc
  3. Construction of shelter/pavilion to house picnic tables, host musical/cultural events
  4. Complete improvements to ball diamond
  5. Install safe base underneath children’s playground equipment

Council plans to strike a special purpose committee to oversee completion of the upgrades.

STUDENT HIRED FOR PUBLIC WORKS:

  • Student who was “hired” in May, 2021 to perform weed-trimming, grass cutting etc. has declined the offer from Council. Recruiting efforts to fill this position are ongoing.

HOUSEHOLD WASTE BAG TAG PROGRAM:

  • 2021-2022 waste bag tags will be available to all Howe Island residents as of August 2, 2021. Each residence is to receive 104 tags at no charge.
  • Tags may be picked up at the Howe Island township administration office on or after August 2, 2021. Residents will be required to provide proof of residence to township staff to receive their tags.

ITEMS RELATED TO Hi-SPEED INTERNET TEST RESULTS:

  • Councillor Zborovsky conducted a public survey in February 2021 to assess internet speeds available to residents of the Frontenac Islands. Broadband coverage to Howe Island residents was found to be deficient. Download / upload speeds fail to qualify as hi-speed service.
  • At the April 8, 2021 council meeting, staff confirmed that a letter was sent to all local Internet Service Providers (ISP) advising of the results of the survey and requesting they submit proposals to correct the problem.  No response noted yet.
  • Council recognized the importance of upgrading connectivity and broadband coverage in rural areas.  Accordingly, it voiced complete support of The Eastern Ontario Regional Network (EORN) Gig Project which is designed to pressure the provincial and federal government to take concrete steps to improve broadband coverage in rural areas of eastern Ontario.

EORN is an alliance of municipal and regional governments. Membership includes the mayors, reeves and wardens of some 59 municipal bodies. It coordinates and cultivates communication between levels of government on issues that affect residents of eastern Ontario. EORN’s GIG Project is an attempt to have senior levels of government act to correct the lack of broadband coverage in rural areas such as Howe Island.

Township council, in cooperation with the EORN Gig Project members, has committed to lobby our local federal MP Gerretson and our provincial MPP Arthur to work on behalf of the residents of the Frontenac Islands to substantially upgrade broadband coverage in our underserved communities.

Efforts in this regard are ongoing. No new developments to report at this time.

END of COUNCIL HIGHLIGHTS

Author:

I'm a retired IT guy with a passion for helping others navigate this thing called "technology". I live on the south shore of Howe Island on the mighty St. Lawrence river.

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