Trent Lakes Wants Provincial Help
By Kirk Winter
Mayor Janet Clarkson of Trent Lakes needs help from the Province of Ontario, and hopes that assistance is forthcoming on at least on one of the issues.
One of the single largest costs borne by Trent Lakes is the cost of policing. Too small to have their own force, and too far away from Peterborough to ask for their services, Trent Lakes is at the mercy of the Ontario Provincial Police force and their curious billing system.
Clarkson met with local Conservative MPP Dave Smith in January and pushed Smith for a meeting with Attorney General Caroline Mulroney. Smith was sympathetic, and hoped to arrange a face to face between Clarkson and Mulroney at the Ontario Good Roads Summit that will be occurring at the end of February.
Clarkson says as long as Trent Lakes has to pay full policing levies on seasonal trailers that are seldom occupied more than four months a year, Trent Lakes is paying too much for their policing.
Policing costs were a major issue in the fall municipal election, and Clarkson’s opponent Peter Raymond told me that Trent Lakes Policing costs had recently gone up four-fold, and that these increases were not sustainable for the local ratepayers.
Clarkson also needs provincial help to make changes to the “Places to Grow” document that has guided development in Ontario since the late 1960s. Written by John Sewell, who would later rise to prominence as Mayor of Toronto and a leading proponent of planned and environmentally sustainable growth, the document stated that permits for building and development will not be issued on unserviced land. The key service necessary for development is a municipal sewage infrastructure that meets provincial guidelines.
Not a single home in Trent Lakes has municipal sewage access, and therefore new development has been at a standstill. The document uses the term “sterilization of the land”, until proper infrastructure is in place.
Clarkson says she will be lobbying the province to change this part of “Places to Grow” to reflect the reality of life in rural Ontario. Clarkson believes that development in Trent Lakes in the future is the key to broadening the tax base and allowing more people to live full-time in Trent Lakes, creating more full-time jobs and economic prosperity.
Clarkson is hoping that with the help of MPP Smith, these issues will be rectified in a timely manner and that Trent Lakes will be a beneficiary of these provincial policy changes.