The regular meeting of Frontenac Islands Council was attended by well over 150 Howe Islanders present to protest the possible re-opening and licensing of a quarry on Howe Island. The passage of an Official Plan and a Zoning Bylaw amendment for the quarry made by island business man Dan Keyes was previously deferred at an angry meeting late last month where Deputy Mayor Geoff Hobbs, at its conclusion requested additional stringent conditions be added to any license for the quarry operation.
Jennifer Current of Clark Consulting Services updated council regarding the quarry application including draft MNR conditions, (noise, blasting times, records, aggregate crushing on quarry floor, non transport of aggregate by island ferry etc.) prior to presentations by Howe Island citizens. Mayor Vanden Hoek asked that presentations be directed to council and that there be no interruptions.
Delegations speaking against the quarry included Randy Zarichney (on behalf of Joe de Mora) who said concerns include its future size, lowering of property values, changes to the island, overuse of ferry, no evidence of need, perception that no one wants to live near a quarry. George Thompson outlined similar opposition. “It is not what the applicant wants to do tomorrow but what could ultimately be done in the future that should drive council’s decision. The onus is on the applicant to show that this application is in the interest of a community very much opposed to it,” h e said.
Kathleen Peircy presented council with the petition (250 names) against approving the zoning amendment. “We believe council should give great weight to this petition which indicates a majority of Howe Islanders are opposed based on quality of life issues.”
Kevin Riley spoke about the need for further conditions to rezoning if the quarry (which he opposes ) is approved. David Moizer is concerned about the precedent zoning the quarry would be set seeing it as a major industrial operation leaving a big hole that could be used as a landfill site.
Patti Gray referring to the petition said, “overall opposition is rock solid. A quarry within a half to one kilometre of housing is not good planning, ” leads to declining property values. Just vote no,” she said. Howe Island Ratepayers Association president Austin Page presented some statistics from members for and against.
Because the petition represents new information it was agreed that more time was needed to arrive at a decision. Dealing with the amendments was deferred onceagain. Clark Consulting will further consider residents concerns and report to council. Council anticipates making a decision at a Howe Island meeting prior to the end of the present council’s term of office.
Committee of Adjustment: Tunnock Consulting Ltd. was present to discuss decisions regarding applications for consent referred to them by council. Glenn Tunnock commented that when reviewing an application one must look at the criteria set at the land office and in the Official Plan noting that the Mosier application meets all the criteria except for one item, infilling (a provincial policy to carve out as little as possible of agricultural land). He recommended that the application be denied but suggested that since there is a cluster of houses and Mosier owns the entire piece of property that another piece in that area would meet the criteria of the Official Plan. “I think it is important for a planner to find an alternative in an effort to resolving a problem,” he said. Mr. Mosier in addressing council said that in a rural situation sometimes the official plan doesn’t fit and defended the rural location of the requested lot severance . He also said that the entire property was zoned rural residential. “I would ask council to take into account what your planner has said and look at your Official plan to revise it so that in future a hundred yards does not mean you can or cannot get a lot.” While council members indicated their own reservations at not deferring to the Official Plan, in this instance after some very interesting debate they acknowledged the rational of the request and approved the application.
Further applications were approved as well one with a similar difficulty related to infill and also requiring 20 metre road approved right-of-way; another requiring LSR rezoning and the extension of Ferguson Point Lane to 20 metres wide with a township approved turn-around to the east .
In other business: *The township will obtain a legal opinion, if required, regarding the request by Mr. Gene Manion for an extension for severances approved last year.
*Building permit fees have been waived for the Howe Island Fire Hall now underway under contract with Patrick Thompson, TCMS for construction management.
* A draft Role Description for the Fire Chief and by-law for appointment has been circulated to Fire Chiefs Michael Quinn and James White for comment. Both items will be on the agenda of the November Council meeting.
* A by-law to set a date for an advance poll was passed. Frontenac Islands Council will meet Wed. Nov.15th on Wolfe Island at 6:30 p.m.
Around Town: * Have you been wondering about the road work? The Islands received $69,610. (More Ontario) and $93,981 from the county, splitting the amount 56.88% to Wolfe and 43.12% to Howe.
* W.I. Wind Power Meeting Tue. Oct. 24th, 7 pm at the Community Hall.
* W.I. All candidates meeting Wed. Nov. 1st, 7-9 pm at the Community Hall. W.I. candidates include: Dan Hogan, Mike Bromley, Dennis Doyle, Trevor Van Allen & incumbent Wayne Grant.. Howe Island- Patrick Norris, Carl Lippert, Matt Fiene.
* Municipal Elections Advance Poll Sat. Nov. 4th 10 am-6pm at the W.I. Town Hall & the Howe Island Municipal Office.
* Fr. De Souza’s parents here visiting from Calgary. Welcome
* Successful Terry Fox Run by Marysville Public and Sacred Heart Catholic school students. Congratulations.
*W.I. United Church Turkey Supper Sat. Oct. 28th Doors Open 4:30 pm. *Check www.wolfeisland.com for island events.
At the close of the Frontenac Islands October council meeting Mayor Vanden Hoek talked about the amenities agreement referred to so often with regard to the proposed Canadian Hydro Developers, 86 turbine, Wind Farm for Wolfe Island.
“Canadian Hydro Developers, the wind farm proponent is prepared to share $7,500 per year per tower (86 towers) with the township, (for Wolfe Island) that is the bare number and changes over time,” he said. “Because it is election time, it is important to be fair to the incumbents and to the challengers so that all are on the same page with this information and that there is some clarity for the public on the issue before the election. The agreement, presently in our solicitors office is virtually ready to be voted on with the final text coming soon, and whatever further information council has available will be presented at the Public Meeting on Oct. 24th.”
In conversation with Mayor Vanden Hoek following the meeting, he said the amenities agreement is a big issue for the community. “The question on Wolfe Island has always been, will the whole community benefit from the wind farm? All Wolfe Islanders respect that there is benefit to those individuals who have leased land to the developer but there was always the expectation that the entire community must benefit as well. The community knows that we have been working on this for some time and I didn’t think it was fair to go through an election without providing Wolfe Islander’s with the MONEY information they are most interested in knowing, but even in the most optimistic scenario the first money won’t arrive until 2009 giving the community time to discuss how to move forward.
The mayor went on to say, there has been agreement for some time on the financial side, that is $7,500 per turbine per year ($645,000), that it is a long term ,comprehensive agreement which includes escalation clauses. He noted that there is a clear understanding between Canadian Hydro Developers and the township with regard to the planning process for the wind farm, its size and so on. “The developer realizes that they are in this for the long haul and there must be a good relationship between themselves and the community,” he said.
“ The amenities agreement that I expect council will endorse is an agreement that doesn’t exist anywhere else in this country. The negotiating team, (Howard Allen CA, Tim Wilkins, Splicitor and Bob Clark, Planner), staff and council members deserve credit for having achieved this on behalf of the Wolfe Island community,” Mayor Vanden Hoek concluded.
More than 70 delegates from the Ontario East Municipal Conference held recently, toured Wolfe Island prior to a session on Wind Power presented by Frontenac Islands Mayor Jim Vanden Hoek and John Forrester, liaison officer for Canadian Hydro Developers, the successful applicant for the project planned for the island.
Anne Pritchard , executive director of Frontenac Community Futures Development Corporation noted in her intro that when the suggestion to showcase “The Frontenacs” during the OEMC conference was accepted, the proposed Wolfe Island Wind Farm was one place to start.
In his presentation Mayor Vanden Hoek told a brief story of the island, about ferry travel, fewer active farms, missed opportunities, downloading, when CREC came to town, communicating with the community, leased lands, the provincial $40,000 assessment cap on wind turbines, the successful bid by Canadian Hydro, the amenities agreement, council’s role and all that has led the community to this point, what comes next and what it means for the island’s future as a possible leader in the production of alternative energy.
John Forrester spoke of Canadian Hydro’s arrival on Wolfe Island, what has been accomplished by them in other places (Melancthon Wind Plant), the advantages to those communities where projects have been built, the economic boost, the revenue stream, the jobs created and filled locally and the siteing (of towers) process that is underway on the island and required set backs. “There are sound restrictions by MOE in this process,” he said. ”When the siteing is complete on paper we then meet again with landowners.” In his recommendations to the gathered municipal delegates, Forrester said that if a developer comes their way it was important to have free flowing open dialogue. “The worst thing is if the developer thinks everything is okay and a project stalls,” he said. “Try to digest all the information from the developer, and find out about the approval process because everything hinges upon what YOU do.” A spirited question period followed.
And the Following Day: Quarries & Wind Farms
Frontenac Islands council met in a special meeting on Howe Island to further discuss first, the proposed Howe Island Keyes Quarry (deferred following the August council meeting), and the Wolfe Island wind power progress report.
In both instances Bob Clark, Clark Consulting presented updated information regarding the Official plan and zoning by law process for both projects.
Clark noted with regard to the quarry application that the turning lane at the site has been deemed adequate, also that no further hydrological study is required because the risk of well interference is extremely low. He has received written comments and concerns about blasting, possible basement cracks and a request for prior notice of blasting dates, among others.
Residents were present to express concerns about the quarry such as noise, well contamination (what if it happens then what?), the devaluing of adjacent properties, over use of ferry by trucks, dust, water table, quarry size, for island use only and, restrictions on the amount extracted and quality of life issues. They were looking for stringent licensing conditions under the Aggregate Resources Act plus a further public meeting. With few exceptions, they were not happy.
At the request of the applicant Dan Keyes, the official plan amendment and zoning by law resolutions were deferred until the regular meeting of council, Tuesday, Oct.10th on Howe Island.
In the case of the Wolfe Island wind farm Clark said that the Official Plan Amendment was registered on the Environmental bulletin board, and that it won’t come forward as approved until October. He is presently preparing the zoning bylaw amendment.
“What we have been waiting for is the Environmental Screening Report (ESR) and time is moving along. There are 3 options,” he said. “Continue to wait for the ESR making it difficult to schedule a public meeting before the municipal election posing timing concerns for the applicant. Or, set a date for a meeting on the promise that the ESR would be available. If the report is still not available council could go ahead with the meeting or cancel it putting the onus on them for non delivery.” Clark, who favours the 2nd option, noted a 3rd option which allows the applicant to go to the OMB.
The zoning bylaw is a critical document because it sets the ground rules. Clark said the applicant is willing to accept bigger standards than originally asked for but they want a single bylaw to zone all of the optioned lands because of possible site changes, which would each then, require a zoning bylaw. Clark suggests that council can remove zoning on all lands not used.
A vigorous discussion followed. Deputy Mayor Geoff Hobbs favoured option 2 but with information before hand. Councillor Calvin (who has optioned land,) does not like the implication of option 3 noting that the township has to maintain control. ”We have been very proactive in changing the official plan and the problems of this company are of their own doing. We need the documents before we schedule a meeting. This community wants council to maintain control over the magnitude of this project. They are expecting 86 towers not 200. If we zone on a wide scale basis we could lose control. I don’t care if we have to have 86 bylaws.”
Calvin does not favour a meeting without the draft zoning bylaw and the ESR in advance. He also pointed to an awkward position now that two island councillors (Councillor Grant) have optioned land.
Councillors Norris and Grant also agree with option two. Mayor Vanden Hoek believes option 2 maintains council’s control and reduces the risk of undoing the good work that has been done.
With that conclusion staff was directed to schedule a public meeting before the municipal election. A letter will be sent to Minister of Municipal Affairs & Housing Mr. John Gerretsen and Canadian Hydro expressing council’s concerns about the ESR, their desire to retain control of the Zoning Bylaw process and that a public meeting will be scheduled.
Take Note that A Public Meeting will be held on Tues. Oct. 24th at the Wolfe Island Community Hall with regard to the Zoning By Law Amendment for the Wolfe Island Wind Farm.
Municipal Election: Frontenac Islands Candidates, Wolfe Island Ward : Wayne Grant, Denis Doyle,, Dan Hogan, Trevor Van Allen, Mike Bromley.
Howe Island Ward: Patrick Norris, Carl Lippert, Matt Fiene.
By acclamation:Mayor Jim Vanden Hoek