At a recent meeting of the Wolfe Island Canal Committee, committee member Mark Mattson of Lake Ontario Keeper announced that the Wetland Corridor Report prepared by Stringers Environmental Services Doug Howell for LOK is now available and ready for public comment.
The report titled “Restoration and Enhancement of the Fish and Wildlife Habitat of the Wolfe Island Canal” considers primarily the old Wolfe Island Canal extending from Barrett Bay to the western end of Bayfield Bay and drainage areas north and south of the canal. While the study does not include Township Road 96 and its right of way (part of the work undertaken by the Township’s Canal Committee) changes to the township’s crossing are of vital concern because water and fish cannot move through from Barrett Bay to the Canal due to blockage.
He said that according to Howell, the report will be sufficient to attach to an application for dredging the canal noting that LOK and the Wolfe Island Wildlife Association will host a meeting on Feb. 8th at which time Howell will present his report and recommendations for moving forward. “If we can meet the challenges of property owners then we can look for funding.”
Councilor Grant, Canal Committee Chair said he had recently informed council that landowners who would be affected by dredging have many concerns and are not ready to move forward at this time and it was decided that the Township’s Canal committee would be dismissed with thanks “because we can’t go any further.” (The committee has submitted an extensive report with a number of options for council’s consideration.)
Mattson expressed his wish that the committee (which he commended for their good work) not disband, that the LOK restoration project of fish and wildlife habitat is dependant upon council and the Canal committee, that he believes landowners are willing to go forward with certain considerations and that the wetland project has been well received.
“What if people ask for boat traffic,” Councilor Grant asked. Property owners don’t want it was the reply.
LOK encourages the public to submit comments/questions on The Stringer's Environmental Services ‘Wolfe Island Wetland Corridor’ report (available online at www.waterkeeper.ca, Mosier’s W.I. Service Station, Kingston Public Library) until Feb.25th to LOK, Wetland Corridor comment, 245 Queen’s Quay West, Toronto, M5J 2K9, or email@example.com, or in person at Mosier’s Service Station and to attend the Feb. 8th meeting.
Wolfe Island Wind Farm Applications Review: A special meeting of council brought together Wolfe Island wind farm applicants GAIA Power and CREC (Canadian Renewable Energy Resources. Present for CREC was president IAN Baines, Fred Siemonsen, John Uliana, Geoff Carnegie from Canadian Hydrodevelopers Inc. and GAIA Power’s Samit Sharma.
Clark Consulting was retained by the township to review the CREC application for a wind farm of 80 turbines on 6200 acres of land and transmission corridor and GAIA Power Inc two proposals for a 36 MW & 100MW projects. GAIA has optioned 2200 acres. Concerning the township is the request for an Official Plan Amendment and a zoning By-law amendment.
Bob Clark and Jennifer Current presented the results of the review.
Ian Baines announced that Canadian Hydro Development Inc has acquired CREC and that he will remain as a consultant. “The acquisition of CREC is a growth opportunity for Canadian Hydro,” Baines said in introducing Canadian Hydro’s Geoff Carnegie. (Canadian Hydro holds 100% ownership of the Melancthon Grey Wind Project and 50% of Wolfe Island project and will proceed with both projects in parallel ) It was noted that both applicants had bid in the province’s first call for renewable energy and did not win but both intend to bid in the next round.
Discussion revolved around the placement of wind farms on agricultural lands, the inconsistency of provincial ministries for and against agricultural land use, bird studies, transmission lines, environmental screening, set backs, environmental assessment process and Official Plan Amendment and Zoning Bylaw Amendments (a requirement of the RFP).
Council remains unhappy with the financial revenue which would come to the township in taxes based on the $40,000 cap per tower. ”It will weigh heavily on the minds of council about the benefit to the island at the end of the day,” Mayor Vanden Hoek. said “This $40,000 is where it has come unstuck.”
Ian Baines said that Canadian Hydro and GAIA Power have opted for different courses. Canadian Hydro is actively going through the process assuming that they will win and are not on hold. Their environmental screening is complete and ready for release to the public. They are focusing on moving planning, zoning and official plan changes forward now.
Samit Sharma said that GAIA Power is moving forward but they are taking a cautious approach until they have achieved a power contract noting that GAIA has completed screening and are reviewing other projects dealing with zoning, setbacks connections, etc. He suggested Wolfe Island should see what other municipalities are doing which might be applicable in their own setting before going forward with zoning etc.
Clark Consulting will proceed to circulate the planning report to other agencies and at the right time plan a public meeting.
Around Town: * The Stay on Your Feet (Rose Program) session on Feb. 16th is sponsored by the St. Lawrence and the Wolfe Island Women’s Institute’s. .* Effective Feb. 5th the W.I. Library opens Saturday’s from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
1. Wolfe Island’s Chili Fest Sat. Feb. 5th begins at 1p.m. Everyone Welcome
2. Trinity Anglican’s Pancake Brunch Sun. Feb. 6th 11am. – 1p.m. St Margaret’s Hall
3. W. I. United Church Pancake Supper Tues. Feb. 8th Hall doors open at 4:30 p.m.
4. Community meeting Tues. Feb. 8th at the W.I. Fire Hall, 7:30 p.m. hosted by Lake Ontario Keeper/W.I. Wildlife Association to review the Doug Howell Wetland Corridor Report
5. “Beat the Winter Blues” Garage & Bake Sale Sat. Feb. 12th 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. at the W.I. United Church Hall sponsored by the Sunday School. Items for sale welcomed.
6. Snow Ball Slo Pitch Tournament at the W.I. Community Centre A&B Diamonds Sat. Feb. 12th Cost $75. per team First 6 teams play. Contact Robin : 385-2444
7. “Stay On Your Feet” (Raising Awareness of Fall Prevention) R.O.S.E. session Wed. Feb.16th 1:00-3:30 p.m. W.I. United Church Hall
Frontenac Islands council received a petition from Mrs. Bernadette. Ross on behalf of Howe Island residents concerned for the safety of islanders in the event of health and fire emergencies and for commuters to get to work or appointments because of the frequent breakdowns of the new county ferry.
The ferry was out of service on 3 different occasions since January. A major concern is the closing down of the township’s smaller ferry for the 3 winter months which means no back up service is available should the county ferry break down.
The petition states, “this decrease in service with no backup plan for emergency services needs to be addressed immediately,” and calls on council to negotiate with the province to keep the township ferry in service until then..
Gerry Ross presented council with questions arising from ferry breakdowns, (Are there enough fire fighters? Can a helicopter land on Howe Island for medical emergencies? How long to put the township ferry in operation?). There were also questions about toilet facilities, two way phone and the doubling of ferry fees.
Mayor Vanden Hoek opened the floor for the comments from council members and from residents which included more concerns about emergency medical and backup plans, need for better notification of all shutdowns and better communication with the ferry as well as a request that the three month small ferry shutdown period be changed to the summer months. “Without access can lives and homes be saved?” a resident asked .
Councillor Hobbs noted that the essential problem is breakdowns and not knowing for how long . “In response I think we should negotiate with the province to keep the township ferry running until concerns about the county ferry have diminished,” he said
Mayor Vanden Hoek noted that there had been hard negotiations with the province regarding the new ferry. “One option was to take the small ferry out altogether . The agreement was for $250,000 from Howe Island and the small ferry out for 3 months as cost saver. If you want to operate the small ferry you will have to pay for it,” he said.
It was noted that a helicopter can land at the Howe municipal Building; inquiries are ongoing about establishing a proper helipad; Volunteer Fire Fighters now have a gurney for transporting patients and are currently receiving training in patient transport; the bubble system is working better than ever; inquiries will be made concerning notification of breakdowns and communications with the ferry AND the township ferry carries year round insurance and could be returned to service in less than one hour in an emergency.
Deputy Mayor Norris wondered why residents think the new ferry is going to break down. “If the users want to pay ( for the small ferry) you can do it. It is a budgetary issue,” he said.
County of Frontenac: Ms. Elizabeth Fulton, CAO of Frontenac County attended the meeting.. In his introduction Mayor Vanden Hoek said that Frontenac Islands was the last in the tour of the county that he and Ms Fulton had carried out during his term as warden now coming to an end. Fulton provided an overview of County responsibilities, goals, objectives, achievements and responsibilities which include administration of Paramedic services, the newly renovated Fairmount Home, the County ferry, economic development, tax policies, land use planning, applications for sub divisions and condominiums, etc. and in conjunction with the City of Kingston the provision of library services and social programs. “ We have a staff complement of some 300 persons with a pretty lean administrative staff. We are dealing with some newness issues with regard to the ferry.” she said.
The mayor expressed satisfaction with the Eastern Ontario Wardens Conference to lever funds from higher levels of government. “We lobbied 4 or 5 years for $10 million which was not funnelled through us but instead through Canadian Futures Development Corporation. Challenges for The Frontenacs,” he mused.“ Frontenac County with its 22,000 people is small, the only county without municipal sewer and water. It has a 98% residential tax base with not much commercial and what is particularly disturbing is the $40,000 provincial cap on wind turbines, “ he said.
“Our accomplishments include the new ferry, Fairmount Home; co-operative initiatives (ie.. hiring and purchasing policies) and economic development with high speed internet on part of Wolfe Island..” VandenHoek thanked Ms. Fulton reminding her that transportation issues pop up more than any other on Frontenac Islands.
In other business:
1.. Sidney Eves will snow blow designated portions of township roads on Simcoe Island, at $ 35.00 per hour. 2. Council accepted the Frank Cowan Company Limited 2005 municipal insurance proposal at a cost of $ 49,264.00 plus taxes and will add an additional $680. for firefighters insurance .3. Council passed a By-Law to authorize borrowing from time to time to meet current expenditures. 4. With regard to Canada Ontario Municipal Infrastructure Fund and a Howe Island Fire Hall Mayor Vanden Hoek said there will be no approval for fire halls in round one. But criteria for rounds 2 & 3 hasn’t been established. The mayor is a little pessimistic about how rural municipalities are treated by COMRIF. He wants more discussion and a Plan B for the Fire Hall. There is a need to engage community and council and to consult with Fire Marshal “because if money doesn’t come through, you really need a Fire Hall. Maybe add an ambulance area and consider a community hall. We missed out on that.” Councillor Norris said that not less than was presented will do ( $300,000-$350,000 price tag.) 5. Council passed a resolution that any 2004 surplus or deficit accumulated in any area rated island department remain in that department and be transferred to area rated reserves. 6. Councillor Hobbs asks about Fould’s Report, hiring follow-up and building inspector. (South Frontenac Building Inspector is acting on Frontenac Islands behalf.)
Next Meeting: Howe Island Feb. 14th
Around Town: * Noted Wolfe Island Manor listed for sale. * Wolfe Island businesses combined to offer four travel packages to be bid on during the NPR WCNY annual travel auction. *Things are gearing up for a new season of events.
1.Wolfe Island’s Chili Fest Sat. Feb. 5th begins at 12 p.m. Everyone Welcome
2. Trinity Anglican’s Pancake Brunch Sun. Feb. 6th 11am. – 1p.m. St Margaret’s Hall