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

March 24, 2005
Fuel Spill A Wake Up Call for Frontenac Islands Mayor Says

Wells affected by the recent fuel oil (200 litres) spill at the town hall on Wolfe Island have been flushed and are testing well below the minimum standard for drinking water according to CEO Terry O’Shea reporting to Frontenac Islands Council at their regular March meeting.

“Hot water tanks and pumping mechanisms are being replaced and temporary carbon filters installed because of some persisting smell, 7 out of 12 homes are completed. Contaminants have been cleared out of the soil. Two drilled wells remain to be dealt with,” he said. (Drinking water continues to be provided by the township and laundry costs reimbursed; the Holiday Inn opened its facility for showering to the families affected.) “Following further water testing and the completion of the installations we hope to have everyone back on water very soon.”

All directives from the Ministry of the Environment and the Ottawa environmental consultant hired to oversee the clean up are being carried out by the Drain All crews who are also installing the new equipment.

Mayor Vanden Hoek and members of council commended CEO O’Shea for his efforts. The mayor noted that the financial implications of this event are great and it will be some time before all the costs are known.

It was at this point that Mayor Vanden Hoek referred to a consultant’s comment that it was amazing Marysville has travelled as long as it has without an issue.

“Marysville is a high risk environment, an ongoing risk for the municipality,” the mayor said. “We are now on the MOE radar screen and I think it is naïve to think that this was a one time situation. There is nothing to hold contaminants (oil, salt, sewage, gas) from migrating down hill to the shore. This might be the appropriate time for council to take the first steps to develop a strategy for sewer and water in Marysville. If we don’t someone else will have to do it,” he said

“We have to be accountable for a number of things but clearly we have to be accountable for the health and safety of the residents. I think the residents and the council are aware that Marysville is high risk in terms of water and sewer which has been highlighted by this minor fuel oil spill with its significant fall out.”

The mayor spoke of the efforts of other small communities attempting to do the same thing; about a cost-collection zone, a ward 3 defined parameter for Marysville; and a strategy and a process to make it happen, but it was apparent the mayor had taken council members off guard.

Councillor Calvin requested information regarding capital and maintenance costs for systems in municipalities that approximate Wolfe Island and wonders about zone concept. Councillor Hobbs commented that whatever is done has to be palatable. Totten Sims Hubicki’s Guy Laporte will be invited to the next meeting to assist council in this preliminary discussion.

In other business: Council renewed Pat Sanford’s rental agreement for the Wolfe Island Community Hall from June 22nd to Sept. 5th for the Stone Heron Art Gallery. Council received many positive letters of support plus one opposed to the rental. Ms. Sanford noted that aside from rent, her costs for upgrading the facility (windows, lighting, ramp) exceeded $2,500 last year.

Frontenac Islands has a responsibility to see that fire prevention information is distributed to constituents so W.I. Fire Chief James White’s request for financial assistance to produce 1000 Howe Island/ Wolfe Island Fire Department 16 month calendars received a favourable response.

Chief White said much of the fire safety information both units send out is probably read quickly and thrown away. “But putting fire safety information on each page of the calendar would have much greater impact and, we have the permission of the Fire Marshall do so as long as the information is not altered. We just need some help to get started which will be paid back through ($5.00 ea) sales.” A motion passed to advance the funds ($5000.). It was suggested the cost could be included as a budget line item in council’s on going budget deliberations.

Council was enthusiastic about the calendar which will depict Fire Engines and may send them to different contacts during the Christmas season.

Township Treasurer Carol Dwyer will follow up on a request by Wolfe Island Business and Tourism Association President Cindy Day that the township implement a policy whereby commercial property tax charges on new or expanding businesses are phased in over a number of years rather than at the point in the year when a new business has derived little or no income. Dwyer pointed out that the municipality cannot do phase-in’s, that it is a county issue. Business Owner Keith Walton (Alston Moor Golf Course) suggested that council should query the whole system of market value assessment for a new business that has no value until there is a market. “What can the municipality do for us, for economic development?”

Council adopted a procurement policy for good and services; approved the appointment of a temporary (March 22-June 30th) Chief Building Inspector Thomas Woodford-Smith for Frontenac Islands; will pass on information regarding youth, achievement, service, senior VOLUNTEER awards to WIBTA and other organizations; approved the payment voucher and supported a Frontenac County motion to the province to include an exemption for paramedics employed by municipalities (related to Employment Standards Act eating period requirement).

Council will consider and respond to W.I. resident David Field’s recommendation that the Township replace five 12-litre toilets for water efficient cost saving 6-litre ones at their next budget meeting.

An in depth letter from Howe Island resident Dennis Bremmer regarding his observation of deficiencies with the new Howe Island County ferry. (System Safety, Engineering; Human Factors). The letter will be referred to Frontenac County and to MTO.

Frontenac Island Council meets on Howe Island April 11th, 6:30 p.m.

Around Town: *Ian Baines (CREC) spoke about W.I. Wind power at the Canadian Club. * Horne’s Ferry back in service May 1st. *The Simcoe Island ferry is back in service. *Have you predicted when the van will sink? * Ken Keyes was the MC for the well attended Seniors Luncheon with a St. Patrick’s Day flavour held at St. Margaret’s Hall.

Coming Events:
1. April 23rd W.I.’s Trinity Anglican Ham Supper 4:30- 7:00 p.m. St. Margaret’s Hall

Posted by Margaret Knott at 09:37 AM
March 10, 2005
Fuel Oil Spill at Town Hall on Wolfe Island

A fluke winter accident outside the Wolfe Island Town Hall is causing grief to a number of families in Marysville. A large piece of ice fell from the roof breaking the intake valve feeding fuel oil from the outside tank into the municipal building. Some 200 litres of heating oil leaked in and around the ground. There was the smell of oil inside the building. and the tap water has been affected.

As the town hall is on a hill there also was concern that the shore wells which service the townhall and the homes in the immediate area of municipal building have been affected.

The Ministry of the Environment was informed as soon as the leak was noted and ministry officials were on the scene the same day. The area was cordoned off and residents whose wells might be affected were told not to use their tap water under any circumstance and water samples were gathered. Kingston Public Health staff, also called to the site, are also monitoring the situation to make sure residents are not at risk.

An Ottawa environmental drilling truck crew and a Drain -All truck crew arrived the following day to dig, drill holes and test the ground water for contaminants and the clean-up work began in ernest to make sure that the spill was contained. Municipal workers and trucks were also on the scene.

Residents in Marysville for the most part always use bottled water for drinking. Now however, the bottled water for the residents affected by the oil spill is being provided by the township.

Shore well water (surface water) is never used for drinking unless it is specifically treated. It is used for eveything else.

While every precaution is being taken to make sure people are not drinking the water, this does not solve the bathing, laundry, dishwashing and other home needs for water. Some families have moved in with relatives and so on.
A difficult task ahead of for the Township without a public water system.

Posted by Margaret Knott at 07:06 PM
A Journey to a Holy Place

Islanders will take their faith to the streets this year. The churches of Wolfe Island are inviting islanders to observe Good Friday in a special ecumenical service, a pilgrimage (to journey to a holy place) way of the cross.

The journey begins at the Wolfe Island United Church on Good Friday at 10:00 a.m. where Pastor Terry Wood will greet the pilgrims. Participants will carry a wooden cross from there along the route of the pilgrimage through Marysville stopping outside the Town Hall moving on to Trinity Anglican where pastor, Rev. Canon Chris Carr will lead the service, to Sacred Heart of Mary Church where the pastor Fr. Réne Labelle will conclude the service and the wooden cross (which comes from there) will be put in place.

Everyone is invited to walk the route of the cross in the spirit of pilgrimage if they can, or drive if they can’t.

Ecumenical events on Wolfe Island are nothing new. There have been joint Advent and Good Friday services for a number of years. When Sacred Heart of Mary R.C. parish was without a pastor and under the direction of St. Mary’s Cathedral, Most Rev. Francis Spence and Msgr. Don Clement were actively involved in these events along with the clergy and congregations of Wolfe Island United and Trinity Anglican Church.

When the late Fr. Eugene O’Reilly CSB (born and raised on Wolfe Island) became pastor he was enthusiastic about continuing this awakening spirit of ecumenism. It continues with our new pastor Fr. Réne Labelle. (Fr. Labelle was the guest homilist at Trinty Anglican on Sunday March 13th.)

And is it any wonder. So many of the island families are related. New comers are welcomed. Island children share schools, activities and events. Any event sponsored by one church community is attended and assisted by the others. The World Day of Prayer though held at one church included participants from all three. If one congregation is without an organist or choir for a funeral or special service an organist and singers from another church will fill in. Not only church events but community events as well truly involve the whole community. It’s a family affair.

The Wolfe Island Canal: Lake Ontario Keeper and the Wolfe Island Wildlife Association hosted a Community meeting recently to review the Wolfe Island Wetland Corridor (canal) report prepared for Lake Ontario Keeper by Doug Howell of Stringer’s Environmental Services.

It spite of very foggy weather some 50 persons were in attendance. In introducing Douglas Howell, Danny Hulton spoke of the WI Wildlife Association’s interest in fish and wildlife habitat and their partnership with LOKwith regard to the canal and Howell’s report. And he noted that no project can go forward without the “blessing of council and the (canal)land owners. ( Because landowners did not favour opening the canal at this time although it was a project favoured by council, Frontenac Islands council has put in abeyance their canal committee and any further work on the canal as it affects the township’s highway #96.)

“My job,” Doug Howell said “ was to give an overview of the wetland corridor project to restore and enhance fish and wildlife habitat. I had a personal interest in the project when I was invited to study it and to prepare a report on what could be done to restore the canal to what it was in the 50’s. “With the closure of the canal environmental changes began according to Howell. Now there are long wide stretches filled with cattails, no flow through of water and fewer fish although there are good fish in both Barrett and Bayfield bays. Bayfield is also a staging area for waterfowl.

Doug spoke with the enthusiasm of an environmentailist when he talked about what could be done and divided the canal into four sections. He recommended the removal of cattails to create a large body of open water in one area, leaving some in the others. Creating temporary wetlands on either side of the canal in the drainage ditches.Dredging and achieving a channel 25m wide, placing dredged material behind the berm or off site. He said that the centre section offers the most potential for habitat diversity..

His general recommendations included fencing the berm areas to reduce the risk of ongoing erosian, planting of native grasses, shrubs and trees., nest boxes for water fowl and bluebirds along the fence, securing the area with a long term management agreement, interpretive signage and so much more.

In response to one (of many) question about change and canoes he said whatever happens depends completely on the land owners. It is private land except for birds and fish. It won’t create a canoer’s or walkers right of way. Humans have to accept it is not about creating parkland. Howell offered no opinion regarding the crossing of Highway #96.

In the 1850’s the canal was a private project (90’wide, first 4’ then 7’deep) constructed to provide a shipping route from Barrets Bay (north side) and Bayfield Bay(south side) across Wolfe Island and into Kingston from the US. There was a high wooden swing bridge across the canal. During the 1800’s it was used first by barge and passenger steamers and finally pleasure craft until 1932 when the canal closed to through navigation when a causeway with small culverts replaced the bridge. Since that time there have been many attempts to have it re-opened as a navigable water way, but none has been successful.

Around Town:*The cold winter weather has meant excellent skating on the wonderfully maintained rink at the Marysville dock. People of all ages are using it. Hope it lasts through spring break. * Plans for the annual Easter egg hunt Sat. March 26th are underway.The event is for children ages 4 and under, 5to 7 and 8 to 10 years. Great fun and begins exactly at 1p.m. at the Community Centre.*Sacred Heart School Council has covered the cost of a music program during March. The school is now accepting Kindergarten registrations.*Walter Knott and Mike Ezay were interviewed recently by CBC Radio for a documentary about the effects of hospital acquired infections. Both men contracted MRSA following surgery.

Coming Events:
1. March 25th Pilgrimage Way of the Cross begins at 10 a.m at W.I. United Church
2. March 26th Easter Egg Hunt begins at 1 pm sharp at the Community Centre.

Posted by Margaret Knott at 11:11 AM