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by Margaret Knott
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Margaret Knott's What's New on Frontenac Islands articles appear with the kind permission of the The Kingston Heritage Newspaper.

August 26, 2004
Wolfe Island a Busy Place This Summer

Busy days on Wolfe Island with a raft of events, places to go and things to see. Among them the Scene of the Crime; the Music Fest; Molly Brant, a musical; the Bizarre Bazaar; the Stone Heron Gallery as well as the Summer Dock Studio and more recently the Fairy Lane Gallery. Church suppers have begun again. Pictures are being taken taking for the photo contest. The opening of Big Sandy Bay has seen an influx of people to the island as has the opening of the two island golf courses.

Wolfe Island is in the news as well these days as Wind Farms on the island become a distinct possibility and as such another tourist destination.. Canadian Renewable Energy Corporation (CREC) and GAIA Power have both submitted bids to the government of Ontario to supply energy to the province’s grid.

GAIA-Hearthmakers has also received support from the City of Kingston for their bid to install a single wind turbine at Lake Ontario Park to supply St. Lawrence College and another facility at a price per kilowatt hour.

And speaking of wind power, following presentations to Frontenac Island’s Council recently by GAIA Power’s Samit Sharma, Citizen Energy’s Ted Hynes and Benoit Fortier of Skypower Corporation , the Council passed a resolution indicating their continuing support for the development of alternative energy conditional to due process including the Official Plan and Zoning By-Law amendments required and pending Environmental assessments and other studies related to data and issues that are brought forward to guide council.

Council’s support is based on the express interest of landowners to have wind turbines on their property and because the commercial assessment associated with the turbines may be beneficial to the municipality as well as the fact the township demonstrated support for wind energy through a Federation of Canadian Municipalities funding application.

At the same meeting council supported an expenditure of up to $500. to landscape the township property at the County operated ferry landing (Howe Island) using remaining monies from the boat launch fund first.

The township also passed a by-law to appoint a committee of adjustment; and …Charles Cooper who sustained damage to his car through an accident on the Howe Island ferry will be reimbursed by the township up to $641.24.

WETLAND CORRIDOR: Interesting to note that according to the Lake Ontario Waterkeeper news, Waterkeeper will soon release a preliminary report on opportunities for restoring what they call the Wolfe Island wetland corridor, known to most of us a the Wolfe Island canal.

According to their newsletter LOW has been working with the W.I. Wildlife Association, council and local residents to explore opportunities for improving fish habitat. More recently they hired a marine biologist to pursue their cause. The Wetland Corridor as well as improving the marshes, would restore free-flowing water between bays on either side of the island, improve water quality and would provide spawning and nursery areas for fish species, habitat for other aquatic creatures and for migratory birds.

Waterkeeper will release the report for public comment and host an open house on Wolfe Island this fall.

The W.I. Township Canal Committee has also been working toward opening the W.I. Canal for the express purpose of improving water quality and fish habitat etc. Much of the discussion has centered on what size culvert would best serve the purpose and access by small water craft. Presently only fishers access the canal by boat at either end. The Township had been considering submitting the Canal project for an infrastructure grant.

MOLLY BRANT: It was a full house at St. Margaret’s Hall for the musical narrative based on the life of 18th Century Loyalist Mohawk Clan Matron Molly Brant presented by the T.W.O. (Three Women Opera) written by Augusta Cecconi Bates and sponsored by the Anglican Parishes of Wolfe Island.
Musicians included Rhona Gale as Molly Brant. Carrie Wyatt, flutist and Augusta Bates at the key board. Narrators were Rose Bagi, Laura Douglas, Christopher Harris, Erica Orr, Jeff Robichaud and Laura Staley. Re-enactors included Garry Martin, Chris and Stephanie Harris and Robert Wyatt. A group of local youngsters performed the tribal dances. All were wearing appropriate period costumes.
And yes indeed Don Cherry was the Master of Ceremonies entering early in the play as ”the bewigged and uniformed Town Crier.”

(Don Cherry owns a cottage on Wolfe Island and when he is on the island he is known to participate in the activities of the community. He attends Trinity Anglican Parish.

While the outfit for the occasion was very different from what one sees when Cherry assumes his role on Hockey Night in Canada, it somehow seemed appropriate). Cherry assumed his role with typical enthusiasm.

A visitor to the island noted with satisfaction how pleasant it was to attend a function with people of all ages, babies, children, teenagers, parents and grandparents. But for the record, that’s typical on Wolfe Island.

Earlier in the day a parade which include horse drawn wagon’s, Llamas, fire trucks and the like was held in Marysville announcing the Molly Brant Production.

REMEMBER THE DATES:
the Wolfe Islander III will be out of service from Oct. 4th to November 19th replaced by the Frontenac II during that period. Whether the Frontenac II operates from Marysville or the Winter Dock is dependant upon water levels which at the present time remain high but one can never tell what they will be like in October.

PADDLE FOR AIDS: For information regarding this project contact: Yelda Miedema, Simcoe Island, 385 2470 for more information.

PHOTO CONTEST: It is time to submit those photos of Wolfe Island that you have been taking for the Annual Beauty of Wolfe Island Photo Contest. Photographs may be taken using film or digital processes. Digital photos may not be altered or enhanced..Photos must have been taken during the 12 months prior to September 7, 2004. Entry fees: $2.00 per photo Entries close September 7, 2004 at 5 PM. Submit to the W. I. Tourist Bureau.

Coming Events:
1.Sept. 11th Wolfe Island Plowing Match
2.Sept 11th , A MINI Rally, “60 MINIs’ Scavenger Hunt across the Island.
3.Sept. 25th Beauty of Wolfe Island Photo Contest Exhibition & prizes-10 AM at the Wolfe Island Community Hall.

Posted by Margaret Knott at 07:33 AM
August 13, 2004
Wolfe Islander III 5-Year Inspection Slated for October

The Ministry of Transportation in accordance with Ministry of Transport regulations will take the Wolfe Islander III , the ferry operating between Kingston and Wolfe Island ,out of service for it’s five-year inspection on Oct. 4th. The ferry will be dry docked from that date and “barring unforeseen circumstances” will return to service at Wolfe Island no later than November 19th.

Frontenac Islands council received this information from MTO director of Operational Services Peter Ginn well in advance to ensure that ferry users and others in the community have as much advance notice as possible so that they can put in place alternate travelling plans ie park and ride, bussing etc.

As in the past during this period the Frontenac II which operates at Amherst Island will be put into service for Wolfe Island. A difficult period for Islanders on both Wolfe Island and Amherst islands.

Tax Implications of Wind Farms: At the request of Frontenac Islands council Carol Dwyre the township financial officer prepared a run down of the tax implications related to the development of windmills on Wolfe Island using the figure of $727,000 which is the current value assessment for the CKWS tower on the island. Fifty windmills would see $36,350,000 in what is assumed would be commercial assessment.

In a two case scenario (which factored in the tax rate for Frontenac County by adding the same assessments), residential and farm tax rates on Wolfe Island in the first case scenario would see a reduction of 11.47%; the Howe Island District a 2.27%;Commercial rate –4.76% (WI), -.78% (HI); Industrial tax Rate: -4.50% (WI), -0.73 %(HI).

In the second case scenario adding the $36,350,000 commercial assessment to Wolfe Island and using Huron County’s commercial and education rates saw more substantial decreases in the same 3 areas..

Some effort will be made to petition for the lowering of the commercial and industrial education rates in Frontenac County . which because of the possible increase in commercial assessment from wind farms on Wolfe Island, would benefit all of the Frontenacs.

There has been some discussion about the disadvantages of the high education tax rate in Frontenac County with the county’s Development Officer Karen Fischer . According to Ms Fischer the rates were frozen two years ago and the government has left them there with no indication of a change anytime soon. The higher education rates have fallen on eastern Ontario and Frontenac County.

According to the Mayor, “ we need to bring those disparities forward to MPP John Gerretsen so that there can be a level playing field,” “If there is a disadvantage to us through the education tax, let’s make sure that the government is aware of it.”

GAIA Power Meets Business & Tourism: GAIA Power’s Samit Sharma presented an update about their planned wind farm for Wolfe Island. He was accompanied by Benoit Fortin, Vice President Infrastructure for Skypower Corporation.

In his presentation Sharma noted that the project has been in the planning stages since 2002 with Hearthmakers Co-Op and the City of Kingston. Originally the idea was to have the Federation of Municipalities as well as Wolfe Island engaged to raise some part of the finances for the project.

Because wind power has come of age there is less interest by traditional Canadian Municipalities and Federal agencies to be engaged because wind power is now seen as a business initiative.

The Ontario Government as issued a request for proposals for 300 megawatts of renewable energy with significant financial and structural constraints for the RFP. Projects can be no larger than 100 megawatts ,require a $50,000 bond per megawatt and experienced teams of professionals to run the project.

According to Sharma it was important to find a strategic partner whose values were in line with GAIA’s. “In consultation with our partners Hearthmakers we entered into a joint venture agreement with Sky Power Corporation along with Citizen Energy, a US based company run by the Kennedy Family.”

GAIA will bid for a 36 megawatt and a 100 megawatt project, and is optimistic about the smaller one. Land has been optioned and they are looking for more. Sharma said their competition is not on the island but in south western Ontario where there is much agricultural land and a good transmission system.

One of Wolfe Island’s issues is the transmission line to the Gardner sub station. GAIA has spent much on he project’s connectivity. Sharma who believes the projects will be selected based on price and when the province reaches 300 megawatts they will stop. “We believe we are in a favourable situation”, he said. The RFP due date is Aug. 25th.

Sky Power’s Benoit Fortin said that Sky Power has an aggressive mandate to have 5000 megawatts of wind power in the ground by 2009 and outlined why they entered into a joint venture agreement with GAIA Power. “The first generation of wind came out of sheer dedication, out of belief and commitment by engineers like Sharma.

The 2nd generation also came out of belief but is viewed as a financial mechanism,” he said. “When analyzing projects we looked for advanced projects to partner with and found GAIA’s to be the most advanced. Given that the criteria were there and that on Wolfe Island GAIA has the first slot in the IMO for interconnection it made logical sense.” GAIA’s

Samit Sharma and Sky Power’s Benoit Fortin were also on the agenda of the most recent meting Frontenac Islands council.

PADDLE FOR AIDS: A number of Wolfe and Simcoe Islanders plan to paddle around Wolfe Island in an effort to heighten awareness for AIDS and to raise funds to help fight this devastating disease. Experienced kayakers and canoeists are welcome to join in this worthwhile activity. Please call Yelda Miedema, Simcoe Island, 385 2470 for more information.

Coming Events:
1. Aug. 20th Molly Brant, a musical St. Margaret’s Hall 8 p.m. Parade 3:30 pm
2. Aug. 21st W.I. United Church Pork Barbecue Doors open at 4:30 p.m.
3. Alston Moor & Island Belle Boat Cruise and Golf Day Aug. 20 & 27th. Call 385-2461
4. Sept. 11th Wolfe Island Plowing Match
5. Sept 11th , A MINI Rally, “60 MINIs’ Scavenger Hunt across the Island.
6. Sept. 25th Beauty of Wolfe Island Photo Contest Exhibition & prizes-10 AM, Community Hall.

Posted by Margaret Knott at 09:06 PM