Reflections on accomplishments in 2012.
Horton Mayor Don Eady summarizes accomplishments in Horton Township in 2012.
Steve Newman, Renfrew Mercury
In his inaugural address, Horton Mayor Don Eady summarized a list of nearly 20 accomplishments in 2012 that he attributed to township council, staff or volunteers.
The first item he mentioned, during the Jan. 8 session of Horton council, was Martin Cemetery restoration.
The project was spearheaded by a core of volunteers, among them David Brown, Norm Eady, Reg Laventure and Andy Kluke, at what’s thought to be Renfrew County’s oldest cemetery. Upgrades included tombstone restoration and erection of a fence to separate the cemetery from the adjacent Whitton Road.
Other accomplishments included completion of the township’s human resources review, under the direction of Coun. Bob Kingsbury; installation of the chairlift at the community centre with the assistance of a federal government accessibility grant; creation of a safety committee; and initiation of daily and seasonal parking fees for the boat launch.
“It’s a small thing, but it’s a big thing,” said Eady of the boat-launch fees, “because I think it took us to the point of at least breaking even, and not going to the taxpayer for a lot of extra money (to develop the boat launch facilities).”
Eady also expressed satisfaction with the recent signing of a debenture to pay off almost $400,000 in township debt over nine years at 2.5 per cent interest.
“We have a little over $200,000 in other debt that we’re carrying through our cash flow … I think we’ve done a really good job in putting our debt into order, so it’s not going to be a huge burden on the taxpayers from here on in. We know where we sit, and we’re also flexible that we can pay some of it back, if we wish to at anytime, if we run into a windfall.”
One of the township’s really big accomplishments, added Eady, was resolving a zoning issue that had lasted more than a decade for residents in the Garden Lake and Catherine Lake area. The issue was solved by removing the requirement for a registered right of way, since property owners had proven they had a legal right to use the road in question.
There were also road improvements, with the help of County of Renfrew and Ministry of Transportation work on Bruce Street, in and around the turnoff to Garden of Eden Road. Other construction improvements, done by the township’s public works department, included gravel resurfacing on Garden of Eden, McBride and Johnston roads.
Eady also mentioned seven volunteers, who received provincial service awards at a special ceremony in Petawawa.
“That just shows how the people of Horton are, and how they give of themselves,” said Eady.
The mayor said other Horton accomplishments included the fire department’s development of a business plan to build a pumphouse and washrooms at the boat launch, and the purchase of a propane stove for the community centre. Half the cost of the stove is coming from sales of a cookbook created by Horton volunteers Val Miller and Sandy Black, while other community initiative included the construction, by Renfrew Collegiate Institute students, of an attendance building for the landfill site. This project, led by Coun. Jamey Larone, was facilitated by the donation of materials from local businesses and residents.
Important activities spearheaded by council and staff, said Eady, included development of a committee to consider whether to develop or dispose of Ottawa River property, on former Timber Town land. A possible use is a swimming-and-picnic area. The committee is expected to meet within the next month.
Other developments included development of Horton’s landfill site, with new cells established for holding sorted material. This step should result in about $5,000 in waste-managements savings in 2013, said Eady.
“The more important part of that is we will be diverting more material out of the landfill site, sending it some place else, and extending the life of the landfill site,” said the mayor.
“That’s where the money (savings) are, when you extend the life of the landfill site. You don’t see (the savings) until you have to get a new (landfill).”
The mayor indicated other accomplishments included rebuilding two big sections of Pinnacle Road.
“That was a big, big project for the Township of Horton,” said Eady. “We were very, very lucky to get it done because weather caught up to us a bit, but under Councillor (Glen) Campbell’s reign, we were able to get it done. The nice part of it is it is 100 per cent paid for, and it all came from government grant money, gas tax, and lot development fees.”
In closing, the mayor said, “I think the biggest accomplishment for the whole year here is that we’ve had a council that works very, very hard to try and do the right thing. When you do the right thing, you never do the wrong thing.
“I think we’ve had a council that has been very conscientious and really trying hard to do the right thing all the time. I really appreciate that, because at the end of the day someone will judge us.”