Friday, 28 July 2017

North Frontenac Update From Mayor Ron Higgins


Mayor Ron Higgins outlines his plan to implement the One Small Town strategy in North Frontenac. Read article below or click the link for full article in the newspaper:

North Frontenac Futuristic Plans
Written by  Mayor Ron Higgins Wednesday, 26 July 2017 15:01
On July 13’th Craig Bakay of Frontenac News wrote about my plan for trying to resurrect North Frontenac’s economic viability. The article, titled “NF Mayor “two months” away from a futuristic plan for community development” generated a concern by our Council that the article seemed to portray it is endorsed by Council and I am writing this article to provide some clarification and to expand upon my plan.
At our June Council meeting I had presented to Council an administration report which presented an innovative concept on how to improve our community well being, to decrease reliance on hard to obtain government grants and to address ever increasing expenses. Council agreed through resolution that this concept seemed viable and agreed that I should continue researching this and report back to Council within six months to discuss and either agree or disagree to proceed with an implementation plan at that time. To reiterate this is “my plan” at this time and over the next two months I will be speaking to people inside and outside of North Frontenac to gather the information required to decide if this concept is a viable one for North Frontenac.
As eluded to in the article printed on July 20’th my intent is to identify a potential “out of the box” solution to address issues our residents continually communicate to the township such as roads, taxation and service delivery as an example. With a limited tax base, ever increasing costs and a high number of provincial regulation changes that puts more stress on municipalities, we have been challenged to keep our taxation at the rate of inflation and try to continue to maintain or improve our level of service.
I need to clarify the status of one the projects that was reported in the paper and that was that I am close to making a deal on the electrical generation. I am actually at the stage of discussing the options, costs and logistics for such a plan. No deals can be discussed with any provider before I gather all the information, present to Council and if approved go through the regulatory process and then see if a deal can be attained.
The process set out in the newspaper article provided you with a “potential” plan that I thought would be a great catalyst to ensure success of such a concept. In discussion leading up to where I am today, we have investment lined up from Norway, Ottawa and the United States for three elements of a potential plan. One investment is for green electricity generation (not wind or solar) that would provide immediate benefit for those who contribute –free electricity. The other is for a year round indoor greenhouse aquatic and food production facility(s) which could provide both employment and free food for those who contribute. The other is to build an Earthship residential community that would bring in a younger generation that would ensure diversity of our age groups and bring children for our school and new skill sets.
Contributionism – the whole plan is based on community volunteers who would make the choice on whether they want to contribute to the program or not. In this concept all residents of North Frontenac will have an opportunity to volunteer three hours a week to help implement and sustain such a program.
Conducting the research will be the easy part and the financing of the three key projects is about 90% in place. My challenges are to present a viable plan that will be acceptable by our residents and Council. Once approved there will some regulatory requirements to obtain approval to establish electrical generation and food production.
If this plan can be implemented and is successful there is no doubt in my mind that we will increase residents, decrease costs for those who contribute, generate full time jobs, increase school enrolment, revitalize our tourist related industry and provide a sustainable future for future generations.