Frontenac Islands Council received the report of the Wolfe Island Canal Committee at a special meeting recently. The Canal Committee has been working on a plan for the replacement of the existing Highway 96 crossing of the canal and the possible reopening of the original dug portion.
Committee Chair Councillor Wayne Grant said that since the committee did not reach a consensus on whether watercraft should be able to traverse the culvert the committee is recommending that Council proceed one of the alternatives outlined in Option I or Option 2 .
With this recommendation of alternatives the committee is looking to council to determine a course of action with input to the committee on the next steps. Grant added that since the report was finalized two further meetings were held with landowners.
Mayor Vanden Hoek noted some urgency in determining a project and preparing a “letter of intent’ to the new Canada Ontario Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund (COMRIF).
Special Projects Coordinator Linda Van Hal outlined the progress of the canal(identified in 2001 as a key project) to the presentation of the report. Council retained Totten Simms Hubicki Assoc. to propose a plan to replace culverts etc.; applied for OSTAR Eco-Tourism grant including canal re-opening, received funding (56%) for a Fisheries Assessment, Soils Investigation, Preliminary Design, Design Detail but no funding for culvert replacement. Council supported Lake Ontario Keepers ‘Restoring Fish Habitat’ report.
“A Canal Committee was formed to review the canal re-opening concept and to make a detailed recommendation to council which included types and costs of culverts, scope and cost of dredging, biological impacts, required work permits, canal ownership, concerns of adjacent landowners, hunters, fishers etc.
The committee met with stakeholders, held Fisheries and Oceans site visits and industry (culverts, concrete, ecological services) consultations,” Van Hal said. “The committee was reconstituted in February. Further industry, Coast Guard site visits and stakeholder meetings were held bringing us to tonight’s Committee report and recommendation,” she concluded
Committee member Greg Caldwell in outlining the canal re-opening options noted three goals: improving water flow into Barrett’s Bay resulting in better water quality for residents; improving fish habitat; potential canal access to small watercraft.
“We put our effort into these,” Caldwell said. “The report describes 5 options (Heritage June 6th). We do not have a consensus about watercraft and were constrained by certain road elevation restrictions and are seeking further direction on option 1 or 2.”
Option One and Option Two both include dredging to the centre of the canal and the installation of a 10’ or 12’ culvert. Both open the waterway, improve the fish habitat and the Township controls the process. Option One costs in the $200,000 range and allows small watercraft. Option Two prohibits watercraft resulting in added costs and policing.
(Option 3 calls for a major bridge construction project with potential for large water craft, much higher costs. Option 4 involves LOK and Option 5 do nothing.) Mayor Vanden Hoek invited comments from the many residents in attendance.
Chris Mattson representing LOK said option 4 should not be included. “ LOK is concerned with improving fish habitat, not taking over the canal project. I’m against power boats but there is no opposition to canoes and kayaks.”
Beth Caldwell questioned his opposition to controlled boat traffic and later asked if boating would be curtailed during the (waterfowl) hunting season. “The concern is for fish and waterfowl habitat destruction by opening the canal to power boats,” Mattson said.
Lorne Kane expressed landowners concerns about liability and wildlife habitat. Ian Milne supports option 1 but would prefer a larger bridge allowing larger boats to help island economy and tourism.
Dan Hulton representing the W.I. Wildlife Association opposes option one and intends to prevent the opening of the canal to boat traffic. “Hunters were taken advantage of with Big Sandy Bay. Our traditional rights (ATV use) were taken away. We won’t be burned again,” he said.
Barry Woodman is concerned about power boats and canal policing costs. Paul Kane has liability/ environmental/boat traffic concerns. “There is more money from hunting that boats. “Open it up all the way to boats (option 3) or not at all (option 2),” he said.
Councillor Calvin wonders about spending taxpayers money, whether going with option 1 will satisfy the whole community and whether boating and environmental responsibility are mutually exclusive. Caldwell said the Dept. Fisheries and Oceans indicate ‘no conflict’ between fish habitat and responsible boating (controlled, policed). Calvin also wants information on larger “culvert.
Regarding the ‘letter of intent’ the Canal Project may seem right for the Wolfe Island Ward, but the Howe Island Ward has other concerns. Councillor Hobbs said, “not to deny Wolfe Island, but we have fire hall issues.” Councillor Norris noted Wolfe Island has 3 votes. “We have two.” Councillor Grant worried that if the canal land owners reject the project will Howe loose an opportunity to apply.
Finally council passed a resolution (with a short time frame) directing the Canal Committee to develop a conceptual plan (with costs), containing 1 or 2 concrete culverts, 6.5 feet of waterline to culvert roof clearance, allowing appropriate water flow for review by adjoining property owners and the public. If there is property owner agreement, legal text outlining transient traffic restrictions and regulations, (eg. no personal watercraft (seadoos), no boat traffic between Sept. 6 to June15th with barriers at Road 96 and East end of the canal) will be drafted.
Mayor Vanden Hoek thanked the committee for an excellent report. ( available at the W.I. Town Hall.)
Other business: Dan Hulton and Scott Hulton proposed a 2004 budget for the Community Centre Board including base ball diamond poles/ lighting and a plan for a water line to the community centre building and eventually to the fire hall.
Around Town: 210 Wolfe/Simcoe Islanders visited Big Sandy Bay, some for first time.*Councillor Calvin (Colonel retd.) receives Queen’s Jubilee medal .* Sacred Heart Principal Mr. Harry Murphy retires. Environmental screening begins for Greater Trade Winds Wolfe Island Wind sites.
1. Grade 8 Graduation June 23rd at Sacred Heart School
2. June 26th W.I .Fire Dept. Bass Derby Contact James White
3. Art in the Garden Tour Sunday June 27th For tickets: 385-9917
4. July 4th W.I. Classic 5k 10k Road Race Contact Sandy 385-1507
5. Stone Heron Gallery opens at the Community Hall June 30th.
Wolfe Island’s Friends of Big Sandy Bay and the BSB Stewardship committee welcomed members of Frontenac Stewardship Council to the island recently.
The Frontenac Stewardship Council assists and supports conservation initiatives (workshops, fisheries habitat, conservation etc.) concerned with the protection of the rural environment throughout Frontenac County.
They were invited to Wolfe Island by Special Projects Coordinator and a Stewardship Council member Linda Van Hal to combine their regular meeting with a visit (accompanied by BSB Stewardship committee members) to the Big Sandy Bay Management area now officially open to the pubic.
The area boasts staff, toll gate, limited parking , public washrooms, visitor fee structure and a walking trail to the site.The Ministry of Natural Resources has entrusted the day to day management of the provincially owned area to Frontenac Islands Township.
Ms. Lois Deacon District Manager Peterborough Region MNR attended the gathering and site visit.
Following the tour, supper was provided at the Community Hall at which time Mayor Vanden Hoek welcomed the guests noting that each year new improvements and management of the Big Sandy Bay Area has brought about significant changes in attitude regarding the site, its protection and conservation. Everett Hogan spoke on behalf of the BSB Stewardship Committee. Gerry Mulder, MNR Kingston area superintendant also noted the positive changes that have taken place at the Big Sandy Bay and praised the initiatives of the community in bringing the formal opening of the site to fruition.
Wolfe Island Open for Business: Victoria Day weekend saw renewed enthusiasm in Marysville as cottagers returned to the island. Business was booming in the local stores and bakery. WIBTA’s Information Office opened. Local restaurants, B&B’s, Brown’s Bay Inn, General Wolfe and the Riverfront Golf course geared up to receive visitors.
The Big Sandy Bay Management Area and a 2nd golf course Alston Moore Links officially opened. Students were back directing traffic. And, in spite of the weather, cyclists, fishers, bird watchers and walk-on visitors boarded the ferry, many on their way to the USA via Horne’s ferry.
That’s Wolfe Island in the spring.
Pastor Named for Sacred Heart of Mary Church: The Archdiocese of Kingston has announced that effective July 7th Fr. Rene Labelle will become the pastor of Wolfe Island’s Sacred Heart of Mary Parish. Fr. Labelle, a native of Brockville is at present the pastor of St. Anthony Parish in Centreville and chaplain at Holy Cross High School.
Council To Hear Canal Report: Frontenac Islands Council special meeting June 7th on Wolfe Island will have an added agenda item other than the budget when council hears the report of the Wolfe Island Canal committee.
The committee chaired by Councillor Wayne Grant will present a series of options for council’s consideration. A “snap shot” overview of the options includes: No.1: Costing in the range of $200,000 with the Township controlling the process, to dredge to the center of the canal, install a 10/12 foot culvert at the road crossing to open the waterway, improve fish habitats and allow use by some small watercraft.
No. 2: Same as option One but with all watercraft prohibited resulting in some added costs and policing required. The other objectives (fish habitat, waterway) would be achieved.
No. 3: Dredge the full width of the canal and build a major bridge project at the road crossing at a probable cost of $2 million resulting in potential for larger watercraft. This option may require dredging/clearing at the bay entrances.
No. 4: Turn the project over to Lake Ontario Keepers. This option offers no plans and timelines for completion; funding sources are unknown with uncertain authority for implementation. The cost to the township would be minimal with their role and liability unclear.
No. 5: Do Nothing .
The committee will recommend Option 1 or 2. The decision remains with council.
Council will also consider submitting a “letter of intent” to the Canada Ontario Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund (COMRIF) for a project yet to be decided.
Ontario will partner with the Federal government in this program to fund rural infrastructure and Frontenac Islands will consider its options in this regard.
Also on the agenda, the establishment of a new land fill site fee structure and other miscellaneous fees.
Frontenac Council’s regular meeting Howe Island Tues. June 15th at 7:30 p.m.
Councillors Pat Norris and Geoff Hobbs will accompany Mayor Vanden Hoek and members of MTO to the Hamilton Ship Yard June 14th to view the progress of the new Howe Island County ferry.
Vandalism Cindy Day, owner of the “The Factory” (former Kraft plant) is considering calling for police patrols to protect the property from further vandalism. The building has been entered after hours on a number of occasions with obvious drinking involved, and the premises left in disgusting condition. Private locked areas have also been broken into and items stolen.
“The Factory” is undergoing major renovation in preparation for its use as a business centre. To remove large used equipment a section of the building was opened and is boarded up at the end of each day. This area appears to be where intruders gain access.
Ms Day wonders if the vandalism is the work of local young people, ( if it is, she would like it to stop before someone is seriously hurt, caught and charged) or non-islanders. She has been advised to call police to deal with the matter and will do so.
Around Town: *With the retirement of Harry Murphy, Miss Nadia Luciuk has been appointed principal of Sacred Heart (with St.Paul School).. *The Wolfe Island Day Camp for children 5 to 12 begins June 28th. Call Loyola learning Centre 544-3361 or email email@example.com *The Howe Island Garden Buds community yard sale along with local garden plants and baked goods is Saturday June 5th 9 am-5 pm St Philomena Church Hall. Proceeds for Howe Island beautification projects. *How goes getting ready for the WI Classic road race July 4th? Register on line www.wolfeisland.com * Have you planted your pumpkin seeds for the Great Weigh-in?
1. Parish Festival Trinity Anglican Sunday June 6th begins at 9:15 a.m.
2. Wed. June 23rd Sacred Heart School Grade 8 Graduation
3. June 26th W.I. Volunteer Fire Department Annual Bass Derby.
4. ART IN THE GARDEN TOUR Sunday June 27th , 10am-5p.m For tickets Diane Kerbel 385-9917
5. Stone Heron Art Gallery opens at the Community Hall June 30th