A January editorial by Kingston Heritage reporter Kristina Chryssanthis spoke of the uniqueness & specialness of community news. She said among other things that, “not even a daily newspaper brings a reader as close to their community as a community paper does.” She said that “no other news source is as personal and connected to their audience.” She also said that “the community should take part in its newspapers content.”
For many of the last 30 years I have done just that, choosing to write for community newspapers about the community I was living in at the time. For nearly 16 years I have written about Wolfe Island and the Township of Frontenac Islands for The Kingston Heritage and the communities it serves.
Until very recently “The Kingston Heritage” was distributed to every mail box on Wolfe and Howe islands. Now due to certain financial constraints the paper faces at this time of expansion , it is no longer delivered on Wolfe, Howe and Amherst Islands or South Frontenac.
Instead on Wolfe Island a couple of local island businesses receive a number of copies for distribution, which certainly limits circulation of not only local island news, but the news of the broader Kingston community as well as notice of events, goods, services and municipal advertising.
What Kristina did not say in her editorial was that a community newspaper depends on advertising for its very existence and it is the lack of advertising (not only from the islands) and increased expenses that has led The Kingston Heritage to make this decision.
With major wind power development coming to the island, the on-going concerns about ferry transportation, our location relative to Kingston and the USA, the safety of the water surrounding us, a budding focus on tourism, the artistic community, festivals, recreation, hunting, fishing and wildlife, a developing Big Sandy Bay, as well as the concerns of our farmers, Paramedics, Fire Fighters and Emergency Services, new business development and increased housing on the islands, and the affairs of our ratepayers and Frontenac Islands Council, I will continue writing about the community I live in for the information of my community and the broader Kingston community with the hope, that in time, advertising will increase and/or The Kingston Heritage can reverse its decision.
Frontenac Islands Council Re-Visits Trailer By-Law
The subject of trailers has been on the agenda of Frontenac Islands Council for some months. In October 2005, Council heard reasons why the rules governing trailers, in the municipality (Comprehensive Zoning By-law 28-2003) needed to be clarified and changed when Mrs. Lynne Moore presented a petition to amend the by-law to include trailer use for seasonal recreational and storage purposes on vacant land or residential property. She wanted a clearer definition of trailers, mobile homes etc. and a re-working of the bylaw.
At the time council agreed there is a need for fairness in taxation, property standards and a consistency of position regarding trailers and bylaw enforcement however, they were not keen to change the bylaw.
Again in November 2005 Ms. Moore again to council about By Law 28-2003 and its lack of transparency, which she said results in severe restrictions for trailers and mobile homes. “ You can’t use park or store a trailer. With no trailer licensing you are counting on people to register a complaint to enforce the by law,” she said.
At that time council requested information about licensing, storage of trailers and mobile homes bylaw enforcement etc. from other municipalities.
Councillor Calvin was prepared to look at licensing. Councillor Norris concerned about storage. Deputy Mayor Hobbs suggested a need for a phase-in period.
Trailers and mobile homes were a topic of discussion at Frontenac Islands January 2006 council meeting. “I like what they are doing in South Frontenac,” Councillor Calvin said. “They require a health inspection certificate; a time limit (sun set clause) to 2010 for trailers removal; trailer use while a residence is being built; and licensing fees which allows the township to monitor where they are.”
He suggested the need for further health inspections (sewage inspections) for legally conforming trailers in place for some time. Councillor Norris suggested trailer storage as an accessory use. Presently some trailers on the islands have been “grandfathered” but they cannot be replaced with another.
Council instructed Clerk/CAO O’Shea to draft a Trailer By-Law which would include licensing of existing trailers until Jan. 1, 2010 and would allow trailer use during construction of a residence.
In other business: 1. Council agreed in principle to support a project celebrate the in 2010 the 250th Anniversary of General James Wolfe’s victorious demise at Quebec in 1759. Brian Johnson, Captain of the Wolfe Islander 111, President of the fledgling Wolfe Island Historical Association was present along with Treasurer Ms. Victoria Stewart, who asked for council’s encouragement and support for the project. The Society is presently seeking incorporation . “What is moral support?” Mayor Vanden Hoek asked . “We need encouragement and someone like Councillor Calvin on our board,” Stewart said. Council will provide a letter of encouragement.
Stewart also brought to the attention of council, that way back when, General Wolfe left 1000 £’s to Howe Island in his will. 2. Each Wolfe Island Volunteer Firefighter will receive a $100.00 transportation allowance for 2005. 3. Howard Allan Chartered Accountants, the consultant hired a to guide council to an agreement with the wind power developer Canadian Hydro Inc. will be presenting a draft agreement to council.
Council meets on Howe Island Feb. 13th at 6:30 p.m.
Around Town: Euchre Thursday’s, 7 p.m. W.I. United Church Hall; Monday’s 8 pm at St. Margaret’s Hall. Euchre/Bridge, Howe Island, 7pm Feb.3rd, 17th, March 3rd, St. Philomena's Parish Hall. *Augusta Cecconi-Bates (315) 654-4854 recently announced that “Molly Brant”, a musical narrative based on the life of the 18th century Loyalist Mohawk Clan Matron, is returning to W.I. on April 30th.. * The annual general meeting of Wolfe Island Business & Tourism Association will be held Tues. Jan 24 at the W.I. United Church at 7 p.m. * W.I.’s annual Chili Fest 1- 4 p.m., Sat. Feb. 11th, Chili, wolf tails, skating, hay rides, kite festival (weather permitting.) * W.I. Fire Department Calendars are still available. * Have not yet heard of anyone prepared to let their name stand for Mayor of Frontenac Islands since Mayor Vanden Hoek has indicated he will not seek re-election.
After some 5 years of trying, one way or another, to get the ear of the Ministry of Transportation for improvements to the Wolfe Island Ferry Service, Frontenac Islands Council will try again with the assistance of Kingston and the Islands MPP John Gerretsen.
At their December meeting Mayor Vanden Hoek said , “in spite of meetings with different ministers, letters and discussion over the years, the long lingering issue for improved ferry service to Wolfe Island has gone nowhere.”
More recently members of Council met with MPP John Gerretsen who asked for a letter from the Township directly to him, indicating what its residents would accept and that it was time to try again. “John (Gerretsen) is looking for what we would go with, ”Councillor Calvin said. “ We were told, if we don’t give him something council thinks would go through, without polarizing the community, the provincial government is going to ignore the issue as just politically too hot and thet won’t do anything.”
Councillor Calvin suggested a letter to MPP Gerretsen indicating that the Wolfe Island ferry is the only ferry link in the region that has not benefited from any meaningful capacity improvements since the 1994 IBI study, and further suggested that few would find fault with a ferry of increased capacity traversing the existing route.
Councillor Grant, on the other hand, said he would prefer that the ministry be reminded of our need for transportation enhancement but that they (the ministry) say what they are willing to do for us, not the other way around. “That would be my approach,” he said.
Note: The 1994 IBI Report offered three alternatives (one preferred) and also recommended a bridge needs study.
Alternative 1B, a lengthened Wolfe Islander operating between Marysville and Barrack Street which would meet capacity requirements up to 2001 with limited expansion flexibility is the technically preferred option;
Alternative 1C, Operating the Wolfe Islander and the Frontenac II from Marysville to Barrack Street, offered limited expansion flexibility beyond 2001;
and finally the third alternative was the Wolfe Islander III running between Dawson Point and Vimy. This shorter alignment allows future expansion beyond 2001 and ½ hour service.
The report stated that in the long term, the options involving Dawson’s Point to Vimy offered superior flexibility in addressing ferry travel to Wolfe Island. (A further recommendation of the study was to seek, through discussion between MTO and DND, the protection of a transportation corridor at CFB to Wolfe Island.)
“ Locally we think we have 2 options,” Mayor Vanden Hoek said. “The bigger boat or move the ferry. But the reality is that in the last 9 or 10 years, I haven’t seen anything that would suggest a relocated ferry is on anybody’s radar screen. It’s good talk locally. What I have seen is a determined City of Kingston that sees it (the Wolfe Islander III) as an integral part of their downtown. We may not like it politically, but 500 votes from the middle of the river is not going to sway anything” he said.
Deputy Mayor Hobbs added “but from a political point of view we have to do something. We can’t sit and not get answers.”
“That’s why the bigger boat is the better option,” Councillor Calvin countered. “ People have a hard time shooting at it and, keeping the same route, you avoid the downtown angst. I got the sense John Gerretsen would love to do something for us and that if council gave him a path we were willing to support, he would be prepared to talk to the Minister of Transportation on our behalf. We can go with something or close the file,” he said.
“We can continue to go in circles and the next council will have the same issues,” Mayor Vanden Hoek said. “That boat (Wolfe Islander III) without some definitive strategy by the municipality will finish its design life on exactly the same route, exactly the way it is today. It is going to take a politically painful decision by the municipality and the politicians to take the next step and actually say what they want, and wear the grief that is going to come from one side or the other,” he said. “ This discussion is not about money. It is about how do you move the province from not wanting to recognize our need for an improved transportation system to acknowledging the problem and doing something about it,.” The Mayor concluded.
The discussion ended in a unanimous resolution that Mayor Vanden Hoek write the Honourable John Gerretsen to request that the Ministry of Transportation implement the recommendations of the 1994 IBI Ferry Study.
In other business council passed resolutions to extend Linda Van Hal’s appointment to the Economic Development Advisory committee for one year; support a cooperative approach to assist and/or direct new investment/ development for benefit of the Frontenacs; set up a reserve account to support economic initiatives and to enter into an MOU with the County and the Frontenacs for Sharing Ontario Road Network (ORN) as requested by County Development Officer Dianna Bratina and GIS Intern Joe Jarbeau
Council accepted the Frank Cowan Company Ltd year 2006, ($62,601.00 plus taxes) municipal insurance proposal. Only 3 companies continue to provide municipal insurance and liability claims go up.
Mr. Brent Burns presented year 2004 Consolidated Financial Statements noting a healthy financial position and a need for a long term capital plan and an Investment Policy.
Council awarded the contract for the replacement of the Howe Island wheel house and engine cover to Metal Craft Marine; accepted the quote of Stark Battams for Howe Island garbage collection; Sydney Eves’ quote for Simcoe Island snow blowing; agreed to work with the Cataraqui Conservation authority (CRCA) to prepare source water protection plans.
Simcoe Islander Carol Leonard again presented her case for township snow removal of Nine Mile Point Road and was advised it is a Limited Service Road and the westerly portion of was never fully serviced for snow removal. Council meets Jan. 9th, Wolfe Island 6:30 pm
Around Town: * W.I.’s first Kite Festival Festival, Feb.11/12th,WEATHER PERMITTING, is timed to coincide with the island’s annual Chili Fest. * Euchre resumes Thursday’s, 7 p.m. W.I. United Church Hall; Monday’s 8 pm at St. Margaret’s Hall.
1. Wolfe Island Business & Tourism Association Annual General Meeting, Tuesday, Jan 24th, 7 pm, W. I. United Church.