In a far reaching interview with the Promoter Trent Lakes Mayor Janet Clarkson shared where the Township was on the issue of roads/road repairs, homelessness in Peterborough County, spiraling policing costs and the vexing issue of Air B and B rentals gone wrong.
Clarkson fears that after the harsh winter that the Township has experienced and the potential for real flooding later this month that the roads situation could become a real problem. Because of the two-tiered government in Peterborough County that Trent Lakes is part of the road responsibilities are split between the Township and the County. Clarkson says “local crews have already been out trying to fill pot holes and repair road shoulders damaged by ploughing and runoff.” The more significant roads in Trent Lakes are the responsibility of Peterborough County “and currently the County road budget is $52,000,000 in debt.” Clarkson shared that “there are important roads that have been on the County repair list for more than a decade, and may spend another decade waiting for any kind of significant attention.” The Mayor expects the County will take a “massive hit” this spring when they finally realize how much work needs to be done.
Mayor Clarkson has been asked to sit on a County housing and homelessness committee. Clarkson wants to see before a report is brought forward that people directly involved in the housing and homelessness crisis are directly consulted.
Clarkson feels that without polling the people “who actually live the life” that the report will ring hollow. Clarkson hopes that within six month the County will likely have a far better handle on what this issue truly is and what Peterborough County can do to alleviate this situation.
Policing costs in Trent Lakes were a much discussed subject during the fall election campaign, and Clarkson says that the conversations with the Province are continuing. Since Christmas, Clarkson and Deputy Mayor Windover have met with MPP Dave Smith and Attorney General Caroline Mulroney. While Smith has been helpful the meeting with Mulroney bore no fruit for Trent Lakes on the issue of skyrocketing OPP costs. She said that Attorney General Mulroney “was well briefed but not forthcoming with a solution on the issue of seasonal campers in Trent Lakes being counted as full time residents for the purposes of billing.” Clarkson said Trent Lakes is billed like they are full time residents, yet they are taxed as seasonal residents only. Clarkson is hoping that a meeting with the Deputy Minister in the Attorney General’s office later this month might push this issue forward. The Mayor is frustrated that decisions “made by MPAC and the Attorney General’s office create a billing situation that is difficult to fathom for Trent Lakes, and even more difficult to overturn.”
Clarkson says another issue being looked at before the cottagers return is what Trent Lakes is going to do about short term rentals. The Mayor says their plan needs to be “simple and have teeth.” First the Township needs to have a strong
noise by-law in place. Second the Health Department “needs to be brought onside to shut down Air B and Bs who are renting to more people than the property’s septic bed or holding tank has capacity for.” There needs to be a person or people hired to enforce these by-laws, and “this new staff needs to be available on weekends to deal with the bulk of the complaints that occur between Friday evening and Sunday afternoon.” Clarkson said “that there are many older and established cottagers in the Trent Lakes area who are threatening to sell their properties if nothing is done” to return peace and quiet to their lakes sooner than later.