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February 9, 2012 Vol. 12, No. 5 $1.00 incl. GST. MINNOWS & WORMS AVAILABLE building centres Yourway South Frontenac Rental Centre Home Centre Complete Line of     Paints Mon-Fri 8am-5pm Sat 8am-4pm, Closed Sun Northbrook 613-336-2195 Your independent community newspaper since 1971 4317 Colebrooke Rd Harrowsmith 613-372-2662 Circulation: 9177 households With friends like the MNR, the Black Rat snake might not need enemies. (near Elgin) and in St. Lawrence Islands Natural Park. These studies have shown a declining population. Under the Ontario Species at Risk Act, regulations are being proposed that are aimed at protecting the Frontenac Axis Black Rat Snake population. Under the proposed regulations, Black Rat Snakes (which are called Grey Rat Snakes under the regulations) will become a protected species in a wide swath of Eastern Ontario to the south of Highway 7. Areas covered in the regulations cover the parts of Frontenac, Lanark and Leeds and Grenville Counties that are located south of Highway 7, as well as the City of Kingston and the Town of Perth. The proposed regulations would restrict, though not necessarily halt, development under three circumstances. In the rare locations where the snakes are known to hibernate, (the regulations call these hibernacula) a 150meter buffer may be imposed. In “natural or non-natural egg laying sites, communal shedding sites and communal basking sites” a 30-meter buffer may be imposed. The most surprising of the measures, however, is the final one. “Areas suitable for foraging, thermoregulation, hibernation, reproduction, dispersal, or migration within 1000 meters of any area that has been used by a Grey Rat Snake (Frontenac Axis population) would also be protected.” While that last provision is not altogether clear, it could be seen to imply that within a 1 kilometre radius of any sighting of a rat snake there would be restrictions on development, or at the very least, costly studies would be necessary before any building, clearing of brush, or road construction could take place. The News called the ministry for clarification about this 1000 meter distance but did not receive a response. Official responses to these proposed regulations were due on Monday of this week, and while a limited number of people received notification about the regulations in December, it seems that none of the residents in Frontenac County received notification from the ministry. (Again, we asked the ministry for information about what logic they used in de- By Jeff Green E fforts have been underway for several years by the Lanark and Leeds Grenville Stewardship Councils, and have been taken up by the Frontenac Council as well, to promote public awareness of the unique value and characteristics of the Black Rat Snake, which is one of the species that make the Frontenac Axis of the Canadian Shield a unique biosphere. Mature Black Rat snakes, which are harmless to humans, can reach the length of 1.85 metres. They are the longest snakes found in Canada, and while they are common throughout the north-eastern United States, they are only found in two locations in Canada. In one of those locations, near Lake Erie in southwestern Ontario, they are an endangered species. The Frontenac Axis population, which is a genetically unique population, is in a much better position. The snakes continue to be plentiful, and from anecdotal accounts by people living near Otty Lake near Perth, 14 Island Lake near Verona, and other locations as well, they are a very common sight in the spring and summer time. Then can be found in sheds, climbing trees, splayed out on gravel roads on hot days, and occasionally even slithering across dining room floors during dinner parties. While snakes, particularly large snakes, are not always popular with humans, the Black Rat Snake has a lot of friends in the Frontenac Axis, and ongoing education campaigns pointing out their attributes and the role they have played in the local ecosystem for millennia have led to a more or less peaceful co-existence with the human population. Habitat loss has also not been a real concern, as pointed out in a recent MNR document. “The availability of suitable habitat in the Frontenac Axis [for the snakes] is thought to have increased over the past 100 years; much previously worked farmland is now fallow. However, any gains in this respect may have been counteracted by negative trends in other factors.” The negative trends referred to above relate to long-term studies at Murphy’s Point Provincial Park (near Perth), the Queen’s University Biological Station See Black Ratsnake continued on page 2 Elsie holding up her own banner at Pine Meadow Elsie Snider turns 100 O Submitted by Mallory Wionzek n January 23, Pine Meadow Nursing Home celebrated a very special birthday. Elsie Snider, whose birthday was the next day, January 24,was turn ing 100 years old! The residents were very excited to shower her with Happy Birthdays and a big card they made and signed. Barb Ellsworth, one of our residents, presented Elsie with many certificates, from the Queen to the prime minister, to congratulate her on her big day. Everyone enjoyed delicious cake and ice cream, and spending special moments throughout the party with Elsie. It’s hard to believe it has been 100 years since 1912. That was the year the Titanic set sail, and sank; it was the year Paramount pictures was founded; it was the year Albert Berry made the first jump out of a moving airplane with a parachute; it was the year our lovely Elsie Snider was born. From everyone at Pine Meadow Nursing Home, Happy 100th Birthday, Elsie! South Frontenac to consider Caterpillar boycott C ouncilor Bill Robinson wanted South Frontenac Council to make a political statement when it discussed buying a vibratory roller for its road crew at a Council meeting on Tuesday night, February 7. Robinson suggested that instead of accepting the lowest bid that met the tender criteria, $140,896.31 for a Caterpillar product, Council opt instead for a machine made by Bomag, a British company, for $1,724 more. “I’m sure everybody is aware of what Caterpillar did in London - offer the workers a 50% pay cut and then leave the country, putting 460 families out of work. I think we should move to the next bidder, for that reason,” said Robinson. “I sympathise with the people of London, my home town,” said Councilor Mark Tinlin, “but I don’t want to pe- Leonard Fuels Ltd. Since 1948 • Expert installation of quality oil heating systems • Service by knowledgeable, reliable technicians Call today & find out more! nalize the South Frontenac taxpayers to do this.” “I’m not sure we can arbitrarily reject the lowest bid,” said Councilor Ron Vandewal. “If it’s for technical reasons, that’s fine, but for political reasons I’m not sure.” “We don’t have to accept the lowest bid,” said Robinson. “It says right in all of our tenders that we will not necessarily accept the lowest bid.” Mayor Davison suggested that the matter be referred to staff for advice on the legal implications of Bill Robinson’s proposal, and Council agreed. “I’m not saying I disagree with your tack, Councilor Robinson,” said Mayor Gary Davison after the decision was deferred, “I have a lot of sympathy for your position on this.” Earlier in the meeting Council decided to purchase a John Deere grader for $332,000, which was over $16,000 higher than the price for a Caterpillar grader. In that case, however, Council’s decision was based upon a recommendation by Public Works Manager Mark Segsworth. Segsworth said that the Caterpillar grader was not available with a steering wheel. “Instead the steering is provided through joysticks on the arm rests. Our grader operators prefer the steering wheel, and that was what the tender specifications said so I don’t see why I should ignore the operators’ request,” said Segsworth. “I think that some time or another all such vehicles will come only with joysticks,” said Councilor Tinlin, “and the See South Frontenac continued on page 2 Lund WC14 Aluminum Boat Proud installers of 9.9HP 4 stroke Mercury outboard includes galvanized trailer Fuel Oil Tanks • More for the environment. • More for your safety • More quality by Jeff Green • 100% safe • Environment friendly • Guaranteed durability Hartington • 613-372-2112 • 1-800-543-7884 • 8109 RD. 38, Godfrey, ON K0H 1T0 Tel: 613-374-5604 Fax: 613-374-5263 $ 129/Month 0 Down, Taxes Included, OAC

Vol.12 No.5

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