The Howe Island County cable ferry was the topic of discussion at the Frontenac Islands Council meeting. The County ferry owned by the ministry of Transportation and operated by Frontenac County is due its 5- year maintenance in September. Ms. Elizabeth Fulton Frontenac County CEO and MTO’s Marine Supervisor Roger Harrison were present to outline different options, financing, and technical issues that could be considered at the same time. Fulton presented a report titled “Howe Island Ferry Project prepared by Allan & Partners Inc. The study reviewed Howe Island’s current level of ferry service and the sources of revenue supporting it, determining if any revenues might be redirected to improve the ferry or replace it, provide funding options and a preferred course of action for its improvement or replacement. .The options presented range from doing nothing (except regular maintenance) to lengthening the present ferry to accommodate 15 cars or building a new 15-car ferry. Based on a study prepared by KAM Technology Harrison provided council with specifications and estimated costs including upgrades, lengthening it or constructing a new ferry. For the latter option MTO would apply the 5-year maintenance funds and borrow the balance from the Province at a low interest rate.
Neither Deputy Mayor Pat Norris nor Councillor Mike Garrah expressed any enthusiasm for any of the options. They are committed to a Bridge at the Narrows and the EA presently in progress in support of a bridge. Council plan to hold a public meeting June 24th , 7:30 pm on Howe at the Parish Hall to outline the options and following that, meet with MTO on June 26th.
And speaking of Ferries: Marine Engineer Jonathon Watson reported on Howe’s Township Ferry refit. Work is progressing well. The ferry returns to the water ready to sail June 24th. Council will expend extra funds to have the deck sandblasted and painted, items not included in the original estimate. The ferry will be launched in Kingston, then towed to Howe Island.
Zoning Bylaw amendment: The Murray’s with property adjacent to the Howe Island County ferry are seeking a zoning bylaw amendment to rebuild a boathouse and add a second story for residential use as a parental flat. The Mayor declared open a public meeting to consider the proposed amendment. The current bylaw calls for residences to be 30 metres from the shore. A citizen, Paul Besseau opposed the amendment noting the old boathouse did not have living quarters and the new building would be larger. The proponent said a second residence is allowed on agricultural property. Bob Clark of Clark Consulting pointed out that if the amendment were approved it could be appealed to the OMB. Council will request opinions from various agencies particularly the Coast Guard,
The Greater Kingston Trade Winds project. Rev. Brian Hart of Hearthmakers Energy Co-operative, and Samit Sharma Gaia Power along with Frontenac County Economic Development Officer Brian Ritchie presented Council with an update on the progress of the Greater Kingston Tradewinds Project and the proposed Wind Farm Cooperative for Wolfe Island. Hearthmakers expects to complete the feasibility study for the project by the end of August, then further update Council. The main hurdle is the connection to Kingston. ( 2 Kingston PUC and 2Hydro One connection points available). An application has been made to an Independent Market Operator for a license to supply power. A study is underway on the use of power in Kingston’s public buildings. An anemometer will be erected on Wolfe Island to measure the winds. Mayor Vanden Hoek wondered about the benefits to the island beyond some property taxes. Fr. Hart said that with a cooperative residents and /or the municipality could own shares and benefit from the sale of wind power noting that the Township could use its influence to have Government properties purchase windpower generated electricity.
Community Foundation: Glynis Elliot was present to further discuss her desire for a Howe Island Community Foundation noting receipt of information from the Township’s legal council. She had also discussed an option with the Greater Kingston Community Foundation which could take donations specified for particular purposes on Howe Island, invest the monies and pay out the interest earned less a small administrative fee. (Wolfe Island receives some funds through the Kingston Foundation for specified uses.) Mayor Vanden Hoek encouraged Ms. Elliot to proceed in that direction for Howe Island.
In other business: A letter of intent will be sent to Bell Canada 911 Emergency Services to confirm Frontenac Islands intent to establish a 911 Public Emergency Reporting Service (PERS), an enhanced 911 locating system.
Frontenac Islands will express concerns over low water levels on the St. Lawrence and its effects on ferry operations to the International St. Lawrence River Board of Control.
W.I. Roads Department full time employees (not including the Road Superintendent and Foreman) will receive a 50 cent per hour wage increase in addition to the previously awarded 1% increase for 2003.
Discussion arose about a possible bylaw specifically for Howe Island regarding load limits but which could be applied elsewhere. The idea being to restrict the number of axles for specific roads to prevent major damage when the roads are soft.
Council reviewed a letter regarding the W.I. ferry service (washrooms, line-up’s, signage, etc) .Mayor Vanden Hoek noted that the island’s traffic problems are under consideration. The township is researching a bylaw which would make it illegal to leave a vehicle unattended during ferry loading. Once drafted it will be referred to the township lawyer. Council meets July 14th on Wolfe Island
Around Town: *The Broadway Musical “42nd street comes to Wolfe Island’s Sacred Heart School July 3rd with performances at 2 pm and 8 pm. Musical Director Robert Graham notes that since the original performances at the Grand the musical is now “on tour”. Tickets are available at Ernie’s and Mosier’s. Call Robert at 385-1868 *Congratulations to the McCready’s, Sandy, Eldon and Ward on the opening of the Wolfe Island Riverfront Golf course. We have watched in admiration. * Watch for Liz & Cindy’s 2nd “Bizarre Bazaar” coming up in August.
1. June 24th Sacred Heart School Grade 8 Graduation
2. June 25th Youth Baseball begins. Call Kim Hulton 385-2517
3. June 28th W.I Volunteer Fire Dept. Annual Bass Derby
4. June 29th Strawberry Social at St. Margaret’s Hall 11:30-1 pm Call Pearl Niles 385-2254