Frontenac Islands Council passed a resolution calling on the Ministry of Transportation (MTO), the proponent in any action with regard to the Wolfe Island ferry service, to initiate an Environmental Assessment (EA) to select and implement a preferred transportation option.
photo: Margaret Knott
Mayor Vanden Hoek who drafted the resolution for presentation, reminded council that a discussion paper requesting ferry service enhancements which included a commitment to a financial contribution from Wolfe Island, has been on file with MTO since 2001. He said that island transportation is a major concern and the need for increased vehicular capacity continues while pedestrian traffic is also on the rise.
“Recently council met with MTO locally for an update, had a chat with the County regarding the Howe Island experience and heard a presentation by Tom Wroe (Metal Craft) about another transportation alternative. All this at the beginning of a term,” he said. “I have thrown everything we have talked about into the resolution. If we are serious about moving the issue forward for Wolfe Island then council has to take the steps now.”
Much of the above is contained in the where-as part of the resolution plus a reminder that the ferry service is a major component of the region, and that significant funding has gone to both the township initiated Howe Island Bridge EA and the Wolfe Island Transportation study providing important information which should be considered for an MTO EA. The mayor also noted that the ferry situation has stopped island growth and new business development.
photo: Margaret Knott
Council is looking to MTO to provide solid long term strategic and fiscal planning of ferry operations and fixed link alternatives.
Along with a request that MTO initiate an EA, council also wants MTO to facilitate a stand alone feasibility study of a passenger service between Marysville and Kingston.
“It’s in our ball park to move forward,” Councillor Grant said. Councillor Calvin commented that if MTO agrees to move forward, “we must be prepared for media scrutiny. The public debate will take place there and there will be public debate.”
In other business:
W.I. Canal Committee (considered an exciting initiative) members are: Councillor Wayne Grant; Cindy Day, WIBTA; Barry Woodman, Hunting Clubs; Mark Mattson (alternate C. Mattson), Lake Ontario Keepers; Greg Caldwell, Ken Keyes, Eldon McCready, Walter Knott, Dr. James Day.
Council supported a Sarnia resolution requesting that the provincial government review the current assessment system as well as the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation’s roles and responsibilities.
Parking in Marysville has been deferred to next month. Also deferred were the citizens concerns as presented by Councillor Calvin. All councillors were invited to present citizen concerns in March.
A fee structure to access Big Sandy Bay was approved. Councillor Calvin noted the need for a business plan to determine break-even revenues, completion of capital works projects, staff monitoring of the environmentally sensitive management area and the kind of draw it will bring. “ Revenue neutral? I’m not sure. It would be my wish to keep costs to islanders down.”
Howe islanders are looking to council to have their township ferry running. It is presently out of service due to ice. Mayor Vanden Hoek said,” there is a cost to getting it running, and without care, there is limited life left in that hull. If you want to ram it through, it’s a judgement call, a ward issue.” Deputy Mayor Norris noted difficulty getting financing to rebuild the boat and doubts they could again. Hobbs believes it is an operational issue (division between council policy and staff administration).
The Howe councillors will discuss the options with the ferry operators and decide. (Howe Islanders angry with County ferry delays, non-operational township ferry and want a bridge)
Norris mentioned need for a shelter ( Kingston County ferry dock), for persons dropped off in inclement weather, particularly for one person using an Access bus. The mayor will discuss this with the County.
The Mayor spoke of a need for extra staffing. “We are a small municipality, but our obligations are as onerous as say South Frontenac. (ie. 911 matching, for example 825 phone calls on Wolfe Island; procurement policy development by 2005 etc. ) We have come to grips with hiring a person or part of a person.” Councillor Calvin wondered about fee for service. Extra staffing requirements will be spelled out by staff for a council decision.
A request for island map signs presented by M. McCauley from Howe Island Garden Buds will be reviewed next time when the club has more detail (size, cost etc.).
Budget meetings begin March/April.
Issues pertaining to OMB hearings were discussed ‘in camera.’
Next Regular Meeting Monday March 8th Wolfe Island 6:30 p.m.
photo: Margaret Knott
Around Town: * Howe Island Fire & Rescue has announced a competitive pumpkin growing contest of Howe Island grown pumpkins with a $5.00 entry fee. Judging in October with profits to the island’s Fire and Rescue.and prizes* Chilifest was once again a great success in spite of the ferry problems and a cold blustery wind. The Chili was wonderful. Sleigh rides a great treat and the ‘Wolfe Tails’ were heavenly. WIBTA’s “Take the Plunge” tickets, (You guess when the old van will break through the ice, date & hour) are on sale from members and at Marysville businesses. The Frontenac Community Futures Development Corporation (CFDC) hosting a presentation of interest to Frontenac Islands on employment programs available to businesses to encourage hiring of full-time and summer positions at 1:30 pm, March 4th CFDC office, 4917 Highway 38, Harrowsmith. To register, call 372-1414 or email email@example.com.
1. Euchre Monday’s 8 p.m., St. Margaret’s Hall; Euchre Thursday’s 7 p.m., W.I. United Church Hall
2. W.I. United Church Sunday School “Beat The Winter Blues” garage and bake sale at the Church Hall Sat. Feb. 21st, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Donations welcomed. Call 385-1995 for item pick-up.
3. A Valentine Dance Sat. Feb. 21st Sacred Heart School Tickets ($6.00 each) Adults only
4. Howe Island, St. Philomena’s Hall Pot Luck Suppers Feb. 22 & March 21st. Bring a favourite (main, side, desert) dish, cutlery, dishes, beverage other than tea, coffee, water. Social hour 5p.m. Dinner at 6 p.m.
5. W.I. United Church Pancake Supper Feb. 24th at the church hall Doors Open at 4:30 p.m.
6.Feb. 25th Ash Wednesday Services Sacred Heart of Mary Church 7:30 p.m.; Trinity Anglican, 8:00 p.m.
In early January transportation as always was the major topic of an interview with Mayor Jim Vanden Hoek. But he spoke of other things as well.
With regard to Big Sandy Bay he said, “It's important that we develop Big Sandy Bay as an asset which can be used by local residents and enhance businesses in our community.”
photo: Margaret Knott
“We know it will be an asset for downtown Kingston. City hotels that cater to international travellers will have another destination to offer. We have to remember that it is Kingston and the Islands and keep in perspective that we are part of a regional economy.”
The mayor pointed out that changing council committee chairpersons (Big Sandy Bay - Councillor Jim Calvin; Canal Committee - Councillor Wayne Grant) was done for a reason. “Each of these projects is at a critical point.”
“Sandy Bay is strategically complete with approvals in place but we are entering a tough administrative phase- staffing, by-laws, training, issues between partners and inevitably new issues requiring a strong managerial type of person especially in the first year to bring the project to fruition.”
“If you take a look at the demands of the canal project, which is probably 3 or 4 years away, it will go through a fairly long strategic process. Councillor Grant in his work with Big Sandy Bay has demonstrated administrative ability but also an ability to deal with the strategic component of bringing a project forward,” the mayor said noting that Councillor Calvin in his work with the Wolfe Island Business & Tourism Association and in his past career achievements is an outstanding administrator. “I thought by placing them in these roles for the next year that council and the community would achieve the best results.”
Mayor Vanden Hoek spoke of the changing face of Wolfe Island, which he said is becoming a residential community with tax revenue coming from the residential property owners.
The island is expanding by 6 to 12 homes a year. Agriculture now only contributes 4% to 5% of tax revenue. “That’s not to say that that’s 4% to 5% of our class base but that 2.5 ratio (farm tax credit) on farm property cuts that revenue stream by 75%. Commercial is less than that. I wouldn’t suggest we are a tourist community but rather a residential community and tourism offers an opportunity but we are still in our infancy in that regard.”
Continuing the mayor said, “We are a community of commuters and we always come back to the same issue - the ferry service. We need to not only think about a larger ferry or a relocated ferry but about other different strategies to get people back and forth in a timely manner. We don’t have a lot of leverage when it comes ferry service options. Make no mistake about it when you are representing 1500 people you don’t carry much weight against the interest of the city or of the province. It's frustrating,” he said, “when constituents suggest you go to Toronto to get a bridge, or to move the ferry. Those are monumental tasks for cities the size of Kingston let alone Frontenac Islands. That’s not to say we aren’t trying and will continue to put everything into the task. I think MTO understands how challenging it will be for Wolfe Island to take the next step, to clean up the ‘ASK’, (our asking for change) and to clarify our position. I’ll be asking council to do that.”
photo: Margaret Knott
Speaking as Frontenac County Warden Vanden Hoek said, “If I could do one thing in this year it would be to have all of the political folks in all the politically competing communities get past our political turf wars and recognize and reflect on a regional economy, a regional tax base.”
“Municipal politicians and the people need to recognize that the catchment basin is bigger than Frontenac Islands, the city of Kingston, North, South and Central Frontenac. Together we are in a very privileged position. Many companies and municipalities would like to have our Thousand Islands brand. There is an opportunity here. We need to capitalize on the opportunities as a region,” Vanden Hoek concluded.
Around Town: *The W.I. Business & Tourism Association’s competition to choose a logo to represent the organization is underway. Entries from Wolfe Island residents are to be mailed to Patricia Sanford by Feb. 15th. * The area around the winter dock and up the road at Dawson’s Point looks like a Park & Ride facility. * Thick ice for the ferry to navigate these days. * Frontenac Community Futures Development Corporation (CFDC) is a newly created, community based, non-profit organization serving Frontenac Islands, South, Central and North Frontenac townships. Its mission is to stimulate community and economic development through business counselling, small business financing and community partnerships. *Our farmers are finding new ways to provide water for their livestock since the waterways are off limits but Kingston continues to dump ever-increasing amounts of untreated sewage into the rivers and Lake Ontario. Residents from Kingston to Howe Island find sewage on their shorelines, a situation brought to the attention of our council recently. Makes one wonder about drinking water, eating fish, even air quality in areas most affected and how about swimming?
1. Euchre Every Monday 8 p.m. at St. Margaret’s Hall
2. Chilifest, Sat. Feb. 7th Marysville 12 noon till 5 p.m. Good food, good fun for all, skating in the bay, sleigh rides and more. Everyone welcome.
3. Trinity Anglican's Pancake Brunch St. Margaret’s Hall Sunday, Feb. 8th 11:00 a.m.- 1p.m.
4. A Valentine Dance Sat. Feb. 21st Sacred Heart School Tickets ($6.00 each) Parent Council members, Mosier’s Service Centre, Fargo’s, Mosier’s Convenience. Adults only.
5. Howe Island, St. Philomena’s Hall Pot Luck Suppers Feb. 22 & March 21st. Bring a favourite (main, side, desert) dish, cutlery, dishes, beverage other than tea, coffee, water. Social hour 5p.m. Dinner at 6 p.m.
6. Wolfe Island United Church Annual Pancake Supper Feb. 24th at the church hall. Doors Open at 4:30 p.m.
7. The CFDC is seeking your input as to where to focus their efforts and resources this year. A Community Session will be held Wolfe Island Town Hall, Thurs. Feb. 12th, 6 - 8 p.m.
WIBTA regular meeting Tuesday, February 17, 2004 at 7 p.m. United Church Hall