Year In Review: 2017

Dec 29, 2017

During 2017 Concerned Citizens of King Township (CCKT) continued to provide the same degree of commitment to environmental protection and community involvement that it has for the past forty-six years. However, the Board of Directors made the decision that it would achieve this goal with a more subtle profile than that of previous years.

The Board, a small group of seven long-serving individuals, felt that due to the limited resources of the organization, it would channel its energy into activities that support specific groups with similar interests as CCKT.

Consequently, CCKT has been a committed partner with the Ontario Greenbelt Alliance (OGA) and the Ontario Soil Regulation Task Force (OSRTF) while also becoming involved with certain residential groups contesting inappropriate development or environmental decline within King Township.

In Spring a memorable event was the presentation of Ontario Volunteer Service Awards to members of the Board. The members honoured represented a collective contribution of eighty years of volunteer service.

Early in the year an incident of extensive tree clear-cutting in the Happy Valley Forest prompted CCKT to invite Ian Buchanan of York Region’s Forestry Department to be the guest speaker at the Spring General Meeting. Ian was able to give a broad outline of the Region’s mandate and respond to questions from a large audience of engaged and passionate members.

Later in the year CCKT initiated two meetings with Susan Plamondon, CAO of King Township, concerning the tree policies of the Township in general and the specific incident surrounding the clear-cutting within the Happy Valley Forest. Concerns were also raised regarding the destruction of two magnificent heritage trees at the four corners of King City.

Following this second meeting, the Board made a decision to promote the concept of a tree bylaw tailored for King Township. With the support of other interested parties, it is hoped that in early 2018 a third meeting with representatives from the Township will result in a formal resolution to Council to begin a new process that will lead to the adoption of a bylaw that will help protect the trees of King.

To further promote this initiative CCKT has invited two tree experts to be guest speakers at its general meeting on January 28th, 2018. Edith George is well known as a heritage tree conservationist while Peter Wynnyczuk is the Executive Director of the Ontario Urban Forest Council.

In 2016 King Township lost Marg Coburn, a founding member of CCKT and a high profile civic and environmental leader. In November of that year a memorial for Marg was held at the Schomberg Library and was attended by many citizens from all over the Township. Donations were accepted from the public and directed towards the cost of a bench and plaque in Marg’s memory. In November of 2017 they were erected on the library grounds. At the general meeting following, attendees spoke of their recollections of Marg.

An issue arose in the early summer concerning the manner in which some roads were being rehabilitated. While supporting the Council in it’s initiative to improve our roads, CCKT felt that often the work performed was contributing to the gradual urbanization of the Township and with it the loss of the rural appearance of King.

CCKT made its thoughts known and in the fall made a specific presentation to Council concerning plans for a section of the Lloydtown Aurora Road where the proposal was to level the many inclines in the road and remove several large heritage trees, thus destroying the natural appearance of this country thoroughfare. After much debate Council chose to reduce the extent of the rehabilitation and concentrate on simply replacing the foundation, culverts and surface of the road.

In August MPAC assessments and maintaining the King Township municipal tax rate resulted in dramatic increases in property taxes for most residents. CCKT met with the Mayor and two councilors to present the concerns of many citizens. It was stressed that there needed to be a formula whereby taxes would increase in a more uniform and moderate manner. CCKT was assured that the Township would endeavour to apply a lower municipal tax rate in 2018 that would result in a decrease in taxes from 2017 for many properties and a much smaller increase for others.

It is becoming ever more difficult to attract younger people to CCKT. If the organization is to continue to safeguard the community from inappropriate development and environmental degradation, means must be discovered to encourage the next generation to take up the mantle.

Throughout the past year the Board has reached out to the membership at large to invite individuals to consider becoming more involved, thus infusing the Board with new ideas and energy. It is recognized that “new blood” is required to keep CCKT vibrant and relevant and it is hoped that in 2018, new members will be inspired to join its Board.

CCKT Board of Directors:

Greg Locke                Chair

Bruce Craig                Vice-Chair

Fred Jessop              Treasurer

Gill Watt                     Memberships

Lee Ann Kraft            Director-at-Large

Mike Shackleford       Director-at-Large

Geoff Simpson         Director-at-Large

 

This article was posted in the King Weekly Sentinel, December 28, 2017:

CCKT’s Commitment to King and protecting the environment remains strong