Two months and counting before the Nov. 13th Municipal Elections. A time perhaps to look at what it means to be a member of a municipal council, the commitment it requires and the kind of work it involves. I have been attending council meetings and writing about them primarily for this paper for the last 14 years, first about the Township of Wolfe Island and laterally about Frontenac Islands.
Both are small townships, Wolfe Island with its 1300 or 1400 permanent residents and Howe boasting maybe 400 full time residents, both accessed by ferry. Both have a large seasonal population. Both have heavily assessed waterfront properties that belong not only to summer residents but to full time residents and members of the farming community, people who have lived on the land and the water all of their lives and whose livelihoods are in a decline.
Life as a member of council is not easy. It requires dedication, co-operation, stick-to-itivness, fortitude, honesty, a willingness to study the issues, to make decisions, to change one’s mind, to be on call 24 hours a day, to expect no praise, to accept criticism, to relish the good times, face a lot of travel, many meetings, low pay, and to accept the fact that the wheels of change turn very verrrrry slowly.
So what are the issues in island communities such as ours, every day, every year, year after year? First and foremost transportation, taxation, roads, the land fill site, fire& ambulance, policing, recreation and our relationship with Frontenac County (Ambulance, Fairmount Home, Library) and percolating in the back ground wind power (for and against), economic development (for and against), water, sewage in the village (for and against), land use planning (for and against), and always transportation.
A case in point was the September meeting of Frontenac Islands Council where the issue of a Wolfe Island land transfer, first brought forward in February finally ended. There is one happy resident, Larry, who will pay $1000. plus other costs for a small piece of township property which when added to an existing lot will allow for the construction of a home. There is another unhappy resident, Penny, who feels that it was an underhanded deal to sell township property that could have become a park. February to September is a very long time for one issue. For a sliver of land, many words, many hours.
In other business at the same meeting Frontenac Islands will welcome a 3rd year, St. Lawrence College, Business Administration student Heather Lott in a 3-month co-op placement at no cost to the township. “Sometimes we do have an obligation to support youth,” Mayor Vanden Hoek said.
Based on the Livestock valuator’s report, Greg MacDonald will be compensated $507.00 for the loss of a beef calf killed by a coyote. Council also approved, with a few minor changes, the monthly payment voucher in the amount of $158, 315.30.
Guy Laporte of Totten Simms Hubicki Associates met with council to further discuss the annual 2004 and 2005 Wolfe Island Waste Disposal Site reports which indicate certain criteria must be met in the future. Further meetings are required.
Later on in the meeting councillors expressed concern with how quickly “the Wolfe Island dump” appears to be filling. It is their intention to look at tipping fees, what should not be thrown over the side (hard plastics for instance), more intense recycling etc. in an effort to increase its longevity.
A lengthy discussion about drinking water and sewage disposal took place following a final draft water report presentation by Janet Noyes and Paul Cassin, XCG/DCA Consultants, retained to conduct a scoping study to determine suitable and cost effective approaches to dealing with the water needs of Marysville; shore well issues, funding etc.. The scoping study which included a survey came about as a result of the oil line rupture at the Wolfe Island Town Hall which impacted two shore wells, one involving municipal buildings and 4 residences, which requires no further action, and the other, 8 residences. The consultants suggest a proactive role in the second case, meeting with residents regarding management (who takes over, payments). They also proposed long term options for council consideration. Council will sponsor an information meeting with 8 homeowners to discuss management and financing of the system. “They need to know what MOE could roll out and hit them with,” Councillor Calvin said. In November, council assisted by XCG/DCA, will also attempt to move forward with a larger water investigation, (water systems, class EA municipal water and waste water studies, funding etc.
Council was in receipt of a draft County Medical Tiered Response report, (to provide rapid first response quickly,15 minute default time, by whom etc), comments by Howe Island’s Chief Quinn, and a proposed draft agreement between the County and township. Mayor Vanden Hoek recommended a special meeting with Chief Quinn, Chief White, someone from dispatch and land ambulance. “We need to spend the right amount of time on this so that we don’t simply rubber stamp something.” Deputy Mayor Hobbs noted different dispatch criteria resulting in difficulties on Howe Island. Councillor Norris said the chiefs’ also need to iron out some things.
The township will set aside a number of parking spaces for township guests, business people and taxpayers at the W.I. Town Hall parking lot and remove some curb cement to allow an easier turn around.
Hobbs believes council should attempt to come up with an amendment to complete the trailer bylaw.
Mayor Vanden Hoek wonders aloud about community consensus building as was done some years ago on Wolfe Island with Bonnie O’Neil. Council expressed interest in some discussion with Brian Ritchie from OMAFRA about how to engage in community consensus building, strategic planning (water, recycling, transportation etc) at no cost, no commitment.
Council was in receipt of two letters from the Howe Island Ratepayers Association, one in support Fire Chief Quinn, another about their concern for Emergency Response Time and a meeting they are holding on Howe Island Oct. 13th about Public Security. Mayor Vanden Hoek was in invited to speak.
Next Regular Council Meeting : Note change in date due to Thanksgiving , Tuesday,Oct. 10th, Howe Island at 6:30 p.m.
Around Town:*Wolfe Island commuter traffic has not slowed down. * Friends of Big Sandy Bay welcomed island Seniors to the site. Many had not been there ever, others only as children. * WIBTA meets Tues. Sept.19th 7 pm, General Wolfe Hotel. *As this is posted only two candidates have filed for the Nov. 13th Municipal election for Frontenac Islands: The are Mayor Jim Vanden Hoek and Councillor Pat Norris.
Wolfe Island: A cool north wind blew over the dry fields at the Henry Postumus farm on Wolfe Island for the 50th Annual Plowing Match held since the formation of the Wolfe Island Plowmen’s Association in 1956. (Competitions have been held since 1947.)
More than 40 plowers were on hand to take up the challenge with horse and plough and on mounted tractor. Friends, neighbours and the island’s Queen of the Furrow Allison Posthumus were there to cheer them on.
Along with the more experienced there were young men and women plowing in a bid to keep up the long tradition of expert plowing on the island. The judges for this year’s match were Keith Davenport and Ken Mosier.
Lunch for participants provided by KFC (Paul Lollar). TRI Heart provided fuel for participants. Twnty-five businesses and individuals sponsored the event.
List of Winners and Runner’s Up: (Trophies donated by businesses, industries & the W.I. Plowmen’s Association)
Class 1 - HORSE - open
1. David Gamble; 2. Kaye Fawcett; 3. Elwood Gamble
Class 2 - tractor (12 & under)
1. Hunter Chown; 2. Derek Posthumus; 3. Jeremy Posthumus
Class 4 - Tractor - mounted - open
1.Everett Hogan; 2. Lee Grant; 3. Dick Posthumus
Class 5 - Tractor - mounted - open
Class 6 – Tractor – 3 furrows
1. Tom Berry; 2. John Posthumus; 3. Danny Berry
Class 7 –Tractor – mounted-semi
1.Dave Woodman; 2. Rebecca Woodman; 3. Raymond Shannon
Class 8 - Ladies Open Class
1.Wendy Grant; 2. Allison Posthumus; 3. Lois Tisdale
Class 9 - Antique Equipment (12 entries)
Benny Green wood; Peter Myers; Lyle Streight
Class 10 – Novelty
Cole Chown; Reed Chown
Best Dressed Team- Best Plow Team: Dave Gamble
Oldest Plowman:Lyle Streight, 83; Youngest: Reed Chown, 4 years old
Best Effort Under 21: Jeremy Posthumus
Safest Plowmen: Lee & Wendy Grant; Morgan Roy; Allison Posthumus
Best Finish Horse: Kaye Fawcett; Best Finish Tractor: Peter Myers
Best Crown: David Gamble
Champion Land: Benny Greenwood
Frontenac Islands Councillor Patrick Norris, Howe Island Ward, was awarded a Long Standing Service Recognition Award at the recent Ontario East Municipal Conference (OEMC) held in Kingston.
Councillor Norris was the Mayor of Howe Island prior to the amalgamation of Howe and Wolfe islands bringing to his role, first as Deputy Mayor of Frontenac Islands many years of municipal experience, shrewd decision making skills and now, as a councillor he is a strong representative of the Howe Island ward and the community as a whole. After 30 years he continues to be a strong public servant.
The Honourable John Gerretsen, Minister of Municipal Affairs, there to address the delegates, presented awards to nine Eastern Ontario municipal politicians. This award program was introduced by the Ontario government in 2004 to recognize municipally elected officials celebrating 25-50 years of public service.
OEMC is held annually in September and is hosted in partnership by the Ontario East Economic Development Commission (OEEDC) and the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs & Housing (MMAH).
It is hard to believe that when you read this, Labour Day has come and gone, the children are back at school, we are preparing for fall events like Terry Fox runs, plowing matches and pumpkin weigh-in’s, thinking about the coming municipal elections, worrying about the future and pondering Remembrance Day in a whole different way and finally perhaps being annoyed with stores that have begun to advertise for Christmas.
Summertime on the other hand has been filled with many memorable events, one happened when:
Many of Canada’s top mystery writers descended on Wolfe Island for the 5th annual Scene of the Crime Festival.
Authors and guests included James Powell, Joan Boswell, Therese Greenwood, Tanya Huff, Jeffrey Miller, Violet Malan, Sue Pike, Peter Sellers, David Skene-Melvin, Roy Bonisteel, David St. Onge and Captain Brian Johnson. The authors were welcomed prior to the event by the Wolfe Island’s Wildlife Association.
This year’s Scene of the Crime Festival which is dedicated to celebrating Wolfe Island's heritage as the birthplace of Canada's first crime writer Grant Allen, began with a beginning writer’s workshop with Violet Malan, writer of mystery and fantasy. Authors and presenters were available for discussion.
Historian David St. Onge, curator of Kingston Penitentiary Museum, followed at the Stone Heron Gallery. St. Onge gave a brief history of the penitentiary, told tales of penitentiary life, and of course the story of a daring 1930 escape across the ice from “the Kingston Penitentiary to Wolfe Island.
Emcee Ken Keyes, reminded the audience that the community hall they were in had been renovated and painted by a team of “residents” of the pen he was instrumental in bringing to the island.
Lawyer, author Jeffrey Miller (Murder at Osgoode Hall, Where There’s Life, There’s Lawsuits, etc.) guest speaker at the luncheon at St. Margaret’s Hall hosted by the Trinity Anglican Women’s Guild regaled the audience with court room stories.
Violet Malan announced the Winners in the Scene of the Crime Short Story contest. In 1st place: Margaret Abela, Scarborough, Ont., “The Strange Case of Camellia Sinensis.” 2nd: Christina Decarie, Kingston, “Dark Coming on Quick.” 3rd: Dave Eves, Harrowsmith, “The Forestvale Grave Robbery.” Honourable mention: Dorothyanne Brown, Kingston, “The Idle Crows.” First prize is $50 and publication in the fall issue of Kingston Life magazine. Second and third prizes are $25 gift certificates from Kingston's Novel Idea bookstore.
A vote of THANKS was extended to Maureen Lollar for all her effort in organizing the festival.
At Trinity Anglican Church Peter Sellers introduced authors Tim Wynne-Jones, Joan Boswell, Tanya Huff and Therese Greenwood who read from their own works.
Rev. Canon Chris Carr, pastor at Trinity introduced writer James Powell, winner of the 3rd annual Grant Allen award as a Canadian writer “of the mysterious and humourous sort whose stories make for a “lively and surprising read”. Powell’s stories have appeared in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Playboy magazine, are reprinted regularly in The Best Detective Stories of the Year and The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror anthology series.
During an interview with the author conducted by former broadcaster Roy Bonisteel, the self effacing Powell said that when he began writing, folks would challenge details in his stories, so instead of becoming an expert in every field, he resorted to inventing detail, thus reducing his amount of research. “The greatest fiction writing of all is to make people believe you know what you are talking about,” he said. “The challenge of the short story is having to wind it up tightly using an economy of words but still convey the picture.”
Powell who works as an editor, has written non-fiction and two novels but said his sense of humour is better suited to the short story.
Mr. Powell was presented with a beautiful kaleidoscope housed in a large box designed to look like his book “A Murder Coming” both created by local artist Linda Sutherland.
Bookseller Brian Fenlon, from As the Plot Thickens Mystery Bookshop displayed a wide variety of mystery publications during the day. Scene of the Crime Board members include: Peter Sellers, Violet Malan, Ken Keyes, Chris Carr, Maureen Lollar, Brian Johnson.
Another memorable event was Wolfe Island’s Music Festival: More than 1200 persons turned out for the annual Music Festival held in perfect weather according to Festival Coordinator, the island’s Sarah McDermott.
The festival was established in 1999 and Sarah’s commitment from the beginning has been to bring the best of independent Canadian music to Wolfe Island, certainly a unique venue for local and national talent. Past festivals have featured acts like Joel Plaskett, Sarah Harmer, By Divine Right, and many more.
This year’s line up was no exception and included on opening night, The Hootenany Tour, a rotating review of Canada’s cow-punk scene with Luther Wright, Carolyn Mark, Shuyler Jansen and Jenny Whiteley and R.W.I. The following day the Toronto rock outfit Constantines lead a bill of bands, Wintersleep, Holy F*ck, Great Lake Swimmers, Jon-Rae and the River, Lady Racers, Fat Robot, FembotsChris Brown All Star Band featuring Kate Fenner and Hidden Cameras.
“While we had a great music line-up, and we encountered no problems at the event and ticket prices were reasonable, each year it becomes more difficult to get sponsors according to Sarah. “Makes you wonder if you can do it again because it is a costly event. For the festival to continue we need the ongoing support of the community and we need to support our sponsors, ” she said noting that the Community Centre Board members were wonderful to work with.
Ms. McDermott and the artistic director Virginia Clark worked with the CCB to co-ordinate the licensed charity event. Once expenses are paid, all proceeds will go to the Wolfe Island Community Centre for on-going and future upgrades at the site. No date has been set for next year’s festival.
*Last day to file for Municipal Elections, Sept. 29th. Election Day Nov.13th.
*Howe Island Ratepayers web site:www.howeisland.org
* Many thanks to the young men and women who directed ferry traffic this summer. Good Luck in all your endeavours.
*Wolfe Island Schools’ Terry Fox event Sept. 29th
*Friends of Big Sandy Bay, Seniors Day Sept.12th. Check WIBTA web site.
*Howe Islan's Terry Fox Run, Sunday Sept. 17th check www.howeisland.org