Lately, the $410 million (86 turbine) wind farm approved for Wolfe Island has been a topic of conversation on the streets of Kingston, in the local papers and more recently in Queen’s University paper “The Journal.”
And you can be sure wind power is also on the minds of Wolfe Islanders who will not see a turbine erected until 2007 when federal and provincial environmental screening processes are completed and Official Plan amendments, site plan approvals and re-zoning applications are finalized with the Township of Frontenac Islands.
Because the province put in place legislation that caps the municipality’s tax assessment base at $40,000 per turbine per year, which limits the overall tax benefit to the island, the wind power project is also on the minds of municipal councillors. They are working with the developer to make sure all of Wolfe Island benefits. To that end Frontenac Islands Council met (in camera—solicitor/client privilege) to discuss items related to the wind farm project with Howard Allen, Allen Chartered Accountants, Bob Clark, Clark Consulting Services and Tim Wilkin, Cunningham Swan Solicitors, prior to the regular February meeting of council.
At the regular meeting of Council newly hired Ms. Christina Lott was introduced as the new Frontenac Islands Municipal Treasurer. Ms. Lott comes with municipal experience from the City of Kingston and North Frontenac and “we are pleased to have her,” Mayor Vanden Hoek said. Carol Dwyre was appointed Deputy Clerk- Deputy Treasurer. Further appointments included James White, Wolfe Islands Volunteer Fire Chief, Deputy Fire Chief Tim Hawkins and Captains Frank Van Hal, Anthony Greenwood, Glen Hulton and Ben Woodman.
Land use and zoning bylaws took up much of the meeting, in particular a proposed licence agreement to open the Base Line Road westward to Fuller Road on Howe Island. A lengthydiscussion took place between Solicitor Tim Wilkin and Messrs R. Vrandenberg and B. Allison who essentially want to take a public road allowance, improve it by 600 metres and limit its use by others because of certain liability issues during construction and ongoing maintenance.
“We need to have a dialogue on this,” Councillor Calvin said “Its all stated: liability, cost recovery, financial security, hazardous materials and overlay zoning.” The insurance issue will be referred to the township insurance provider, and a meeting arranged between the applicant, solicitor and planner.
Wolfe Island resident Larry Bolton was present to discuss a 0.5 acre of land at the end of a piece of property his mother owns and wishes to sell to a family member. The pie shaped portion was severed in 1873 for a public school operational until 1955, and is in use now as part of the barn yard. Bolton assumed based on statements by his late father, Richard that when schools closed, the land was given back. However Bolton was informed that the property was expropriated by the Ontario Dept. of Highways (1959) (for possible road widening) and turned over to the township in 2000 as part of provincial downloading. He believes the property should be turned back to the original owner or if that can’t happen can it be acquired? It is not uncommon for the township to receive requests for the purchase of township property. Councillor Norris said that all properties used for schools on Howe Island were returned to original owners. This has been deferred till March.
Agent Brian MacDonald and Mrs. Kerryn Graham came to discuss a transfer of land to the township. Kerryn and Robert Graham own a building lot in Lot 5 (original site of Wolfe Island’s first Catholic Church, less the cemetery) only accessible by right of way. Mr. J. Weatherall (Scarthingmoore Farms Ltd.)will transfer a parcel of land between Hillcrest Street and the Graham property provided it becomes a legal extension of Hillcrest along with a further piece for snow plough turns. (Deferred till March).
In other business: 1. Council authorized a Memorandum of Understanding with Frontenac County for the sharing of annual Howe Island ferry fares; 2. accepted a quote from T.R. Excavating ($35,750.00) to install a water line to the W.I. Community Centre. with costs above $27,000.00 assumed by the Community Centre Board; 3. Council will petition MTO for the 2005 subsidies for the Simcoe and Howe Island ferries.4. Treasurer Lott will review and recommend which Frontenac County plan for updating office equipment will best serve Frontenac Islands.6. In a letter to council David Cruickshank described the misuse of Allen Street (beside his home) by gangs of Kingston young people and is looking for help. They leave garbage, including condoms, needles; trespass, have damaged the fence, swear, throw rocks at the dogs and have threatened the use of poison. Councillor Grant who is working with the W.I. Community Policing volunteers will follow up with the Cruickshanks. Council meets March 13th 6:30 pm Wolfe Island.
Correcting an Error. In a recent column I repeated a comment made at a council meeting that General Wolfe left 1000 £’s in his will to Howe Island. I was taken to task for repeating a statement that’s apparently not true, and a distortion of history. General Wolfe who died in 1759 did not leave money to Howe Island. According to my critic, Wolfe never got further west into North America than the Plains of Abraham. Wolfe, Howe and Amherst Islands did not receive those names until 1818, 59 years after General Wolfe’s death, when the British Admiralty made a chart of the region at which time all the 1000 Islands were named. Howe Island was named after General Sir William Howe, the youngest of 3 British military brothers, including Vice Admiral Richard Howe born in 1726, and General George Howe who was killed fighting near Ticonderoga in 1758. No doubt the establishment of the Wolfe Island Historical Society will provide many opportunities to brush up on Canadian history.
Around Town: When Ernie’s Café on Wolfe Island closed it marked the end of an era and came as a complete surprise to long time islanders for whom the place has always been where they go to meet friends and have a coffee * Great Chilifest, beautiful day, skating on the creek, hay rides, kids flying kites, good food with good friends and neighbours. * Feb. 28th Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper W.I. United Church 4:30 pm. * World Day of Prayer March 3rd 1 p.m. at Trinity Anglican Church.* Euchre /Bridge St. Philomena’s Hall, Howe Island March 3 at 7pm.
Christmas has come and gone. The new year 2006 is well underway. Winter! What winter ? Winter is playing games with us all. Snow, rain, freeze, thaw, freeze, thaw, snow, rain. There is no skating on the river or at the skating rink on Wolfe Island. Island snowmobile owners and cross country skiers have had a day or two or three of decent weather. The February KyteJam scheduled for the island is officially off. Although an alternative March date was set for the event it is doubtful it will happen unless we have a really deep freeze. And finally where is the sunshine my Scandinavian genes yearn for? Makes you wonder what summer will be like this year.
Frontenac Islands Councillor Wayne Grant, an island dairy farmer tells me that consistent ice cover on the fields is really hard on the hay crops.And certainly hay is a big Wolfe Island export. “Its better to have snow although there is very little frost in the ground now,” he said. “I am not worried yet but I will be if we get this kind of weather in April and the plants grow a little bit and then you get a really cold night and it breaks the roots. That’s what kills them.”
Referring to last year’s poor spring hay crop, Grant said it was a cold dry spring noting that plants that didn’t come up with the first crop came up with the second crop. “I don’t think we will have a dry spring this year with all the water that is in the ground right now. It’s been a terrible winter for our roads too,” he added. “Good road work wrecked by the weather. You put stone on the roads, then you get snow and it ends up in the field.
Fortunately there was a carry over from last year’s roads budget which will be a big help this spring.”
No money from the provincial lump sum was used last year although the township did borrow from it for the new grader but this is being paid back with interest.
Wolfe Island’s Community Centre Board received a $30,000 grant from the Frontenac Community Futures Development Corporation for a waterline extension project supported by Frontenac Islands Council
The project involves digging a 4’ deep trench through rock and laying water lines on a street in Marysville leading to the Community Centre grounds and building which presently has a small holding tank for fresh water that is costly to refill. Waterlines were installed to some residences on that street last year with one line designated for the Community Centre but it was capped half way due to lack of funds. With the funding, the project will take about 5 weeks to complete with a pump at the source and a hydrant at the receiving end. Providing a good water supply will make it easier for the CCB to hold its many events and fundraisers. Their immediate goal is to replace an old outdoor rink with an ice pad requiring water for flooding. The long term goal is to build a hall that must include a good water supply.
Wolfe Islander III 30th Anniversary: Wolfe Islander III Captain Brian Johnson, writer and local historian reminded me that the ferry celebrates its 30th Anniversary on Feb.5th. The ferry was inaugurated into service on that date in 1976 by then Minister of Transportation, James Snow. Speakers on that day included the Mayor of Kingston, MPP Keith Norton and Wolfe Island Reeve (the late) Tim O’Shea. Later that night, just two blocks over, the running lights of the old Wolfe Islander were turned off and she joined the already winterized Upper Canada.
The Wolfe Islander is the ferry represented in the first Wolfe Island mural located on the side of Fargo’s Store on Wolfe Island.
February is Heart Month : Wolfe Islands Heart & Stroke campaign will see 23 canvassers cover Wolfe and Simcoe Islands. Last year ever generous islanders contributed $3200. They consistently rank right at the top of the results for Kingston,Frontenac, Lennox and Addington. To help out, canvass or if you have been missed contact Team Captain Linda Thomas at 385 1947.
The Wolfe Island Business & Tourism Association recently elected Patricia Sanford (owner of the Stone Heron Gallery) as president of the organization. Joining her as Vice President is Dave Joy; Secretary Cindy Day; Treasurer Linda Thomas and directors Brian MacDonald, George McAllister and Jarda Zborovsky.
Out going president Cindy Day outlined the work accomplished by W.I.B.T.A. during 2005 noting in particular the marketing study, operation of the Information Centre and the many successful events including the Road Race and Art in the Garden Tour. Wolfe Island business owners are encouraged to join WIBTA.
*The Wolfe Islander III continues to operate from the Marysville Dock with little likelihood of it moving at this late date, with the water remaining at a good level (lots of rain) to keep it there and thus far no ice to hinder its travel.
* Two new murals by local artists Kim Woodman, Linda Sutherland and Pat Sanford who work as a team, are slated for completion in May. One based on the Scene of the Crime Festival and Canada’s 1st Crime writer Grant Allen ; the 2nd on the laying of bubble system used to keep the Wolfe Island ferry run open during severe winter conditions. *The Wolfe Island Old Timers hosted the Old Timers Hockey Tournament this year.
* The Wolfe Island Scene of the Crime 2006 short story contest, open to previously unpublished (mystery or crime genre) writers, begins February 24th Entry deadline May 15, 2006. For information contact Violette Malan at 613-272-3591.
- Howe Island Pot Luck suppers will be held at St. Philomena's Parish Hall Sun, Feb 12th and Sun, Mar 26th. Social hour 5-6 pm. Dinner at 6pm.
- A potluck breakfast will also be held at St. Philomena's Hall on Sun, Apr 23 at 10am.
- Also Euchre /Bridge at Parish hall Fri. Feb. 17th, March 3 at 7pm. $3 cover charge.
*Wolfe Island’s Annual Chilli Fest will be held at the New Fire Hall Sat. Feb. 11th from 1- 4 p.m. Chilli, wolf tails, hay rides are all part of what makes this a fun event, no matter the weather. The Community Centre Board will distribute kites (150) to the children to make and fly at the event.
- Council meets Feb.13th, Howe Island.