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.

November 28, 2006
Frontenac Islands Wind Plant & Quarry Official Plan and Zoning By Laws

Please note the following article was not published in The Heritage but was published in the Frontenac Gazette

Frontenac Islands Council held meetings back to back to complete long standing files before the new council is installed in December.
At the regular November meeting held on Wolfe Island, Mayor Vanden Hoek acknowledged newly elected council members Dennis Doyle (Wolfe Island) and Pat Fiene (Howe Island).

Regarding the Wind Plant, Planner Bob Clark outlined the changes made by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing to the Official Plan Amendment requested by CREC. and recommended approval of the modifications including a clarification by CREC planner John Uliana (when natural heritage features or functions are identified in the Official plan, an impact study to describe the feature and the potential impact of a wind turbine may be required), as well as approval of the Zoning By-Law.

Prior to resolutions Mayor Vanden Hoek noted the importance of the issues facing council. Deputy Mayor Hobbs asked whether the burying of power lines can be guaranteed or is it still an issue. (It is well known that the ground is shallow and some optioned properties sit on rock. )

Residents came to the meeting to talk about the zoning by law amendment, questions raised at the Oct. 24th public meeting and unanswered concerns.

Wolfe Island resident Gail Kenney expressed concern over property appearance and values resulting from additional power lines on the current right of way (Road 96 West) and the 350 metre setback from property lines.
Carol Leonard remains concerned about the destruction of birds and wild life on Simcoe Island resulting from towers. Howe resident Heather Lippert suggested the zoning bylaw might need amending to include personal turbines not to do with the Wind Plant.

CREC’s Geoff Carnegie said it was their intent to release the site plan including power line locations and environmental screening at the same time. “We are looking at alternative ways of moving power without using that stretch of the highway 96 West, by burying power lines and/or rerouting to the back of optioned properties and other alternate routes and variables.” Carnegie commented that the average setback of turbines is 600 to 700 metres on #96. He encouraged residents to submit information about birds to web site adding that studies have been going on for two years. Mrs. Kenney thanked council for clarification of issues and asked, “is there still room for negotiation or exceptions?” Mayor Vanden Hoek was satisfied with the process. “We will hold the developer to the fire and no doubt vice versa,” he said.

The Official Plan amendment received council’s endorsement and a supporting resolution to resubmit it to the province for a final decision. Council also accepted the Wolfe Island Wind Plant Zoning By-Law Review. Residents who submitted written comments will receive Clark’s report. Council concluded that the changes recommended for the zoning bylaw are minor and no further public meeting is required. Council passed a bylaw to amend the zoning bylaw to allow the establishment of wind farms.

Following an in camera meeting Council passed the wide sweeping amenities agreement between Frontenac Islands and Canadian Hydro Developers which will bring into the township $7,500 per turbine per year. A further resolution put forward by Pat Norris and Geoff Hobbs that council seek clarification that the amenities agreement revenue is general revenue and as such is to be shared between both islands was carried.

In further business a severance application by Broeders & Sons Ltd. was approved. Another application by Don Bayne to rezone a lot was deferred to allow time to research whether a township road allowance had been closed. Regarding the Fire Chief job description. “There are different aspects of emergency services and we need clarification of the role,” Mayor Vanden Hoek said,
*Signage on Spit head road will go up. *A resolution to pay F. Goodfriend for a long standing livestock claim was defeated. *An application regarding OMAFRA’s Premier ‘s Award for Agri Food Excellence will be submitted naming Wolfe Island’s Jason Pyke.

The Howe Island meeting the following night saw Frontenac Islands council vote for the re-opening of the Keyes Quarry on Howe Island. The meeting was held to review the Clark Consultants report and to hear further public comment.

Prior to the application review the mayor presented Councillor Pat Norris with a plaque acknowledging his long standing service to both the former Township of Howe Island (Reeve ,councillor) and Frontenac Islands (deputy Mayor, councillor). Norris expressed surprise. “It is a pleasure and a privilege to serve. Thanks for 4 more years.”

Council approved amendments to the Official Plan and the Zoning By-law but not before hearing from seven residents. George Thomson thinks quarry should be dealt with by incoming council; onus is on applicant to prove why agricultural designation should be changed; questions applicant’s long term plans. Kathie Piercy presented an additional 200 names to a previously submitted petition indicating strong opposition to the quarry. “I implore you to maintain our quality of life.” Realtor Patti Gray was adamant that a quarry will negatively effect property values and had letters from 18 signing brokers to prove claim. Kevin Reilly questioned the quarry business plan’s for Island use only ( estimating 10,000 tons per year) while Kim Nossal does not believe the plan is in the public interest or for the good of the community. ”Either defer or do appraisal of compatibility.” Gary Hall notes no petition favouring the quarry. “The majority want you to vote no,” he said. Mat Fiene wants council to heed the petition. “I urge you to vote no.” Dennis Bremmer notes that without approval Dan Keyes can blast but not sell product.

Councillor Hobbs had concerns about water issues and wants a peer review of hydrogeology study first and did not vote in favour. Councillor Norris questioned the 10,000 ton figure suggesting it is closer to 20,000 ton. He said as many people favour the quarry as are opposed, a statement which really upset residents.
The applicant Dan Keyes asked council to make a decision stating nothing has changed from the original quarry proposal, size and scope including tonnage.
Residents were there who indicated support for the project and were unhappy with the proceedings.
This was not a happy meeting. Verbal attacks were directed at council members and at each other. But in the end council approved the changes required for the reopening of the quarry. Residents declared they will see the township at the Ontario Municipal Board which suggests their intent to perhaps register an appeal.

Coming Events: * W.I.’s Annual Santa Clause Parade Saturday, Dec. 2nd with the parade beginning from the Fire Hall at 5:45 p.m.
* Sun. Dec. 3rd, at 4 pm Annual Ecumenical Advent Service at Sacred Heart of Mary Church.
* The Christmas Art & Craft Sale at Wolfe Island Community Hall 9 a.m.- 4 p.m Sun. Dec. 3 rd.

Posted by Margaret Knott at 10:08 AM
November 18, 2006
$13million 20 Year Deal For Frontenac Islands

Wolfe Island: Frontenac Islands Council signed an historic deal to enter into an Amenities Agreement with Canadian Hydro Developers at their November council meeting held on Wolfe Island.

Canadian Hydro Developers, through their fully owned subsidiary CREC, are completing siteing plans and the environmental screening process for the 86 wind turbine plant on Wolfe Island as approved by the province. Once the Wind Plant is operational the township will receive $13million over 20 years, ($7500 per tower per year for 20 years) and the potential for increases.

The amenities agreement arose after the province capped the assessment for each multi-million dollar turbine at $40,000. While good for the province this would leave the township with the equivalent taxes equal to about 18 new houses, and a major impact on the community. The township and the residents were adamant that this Wind Plant must benefit all of Wolfe Island, not just the optioned land holders and thus negotiations were entered into.

The township created a team of staff and consultants, including Howard Allen C.A., Tim Wilkins, lawyer, and Planner Bob Clark, to negotiate the wide ranging amenities agreement including the financial benefits.

The Mayor expressed much satisfaction with this outcome and congratulated the team and council. “A precedent has been set. There has been a good relationship between us all, and I am very pleased,” he said.

Geoff Carnegie, CREC Projects Manager, who was also present, said the amenities agreement is very significant for the community. “I commend the council who had the foresight to make it happen. I look forward to bringing this project to the island.”

Posted by Margaret Knott at 07:29 AM
November 17, 2006
Rain Never Dampens Wolfe Island Remembrance Day Service

November 11th saw Wolfe Islanders gathered in the rain to honour the island’s war dead. Flanked by Royal Military College cadets, members of Wolfe Island’s Fire Department, and ambulance and paramedic services MTO”s Captain Brian Johnson, Frontanac Islands CEO Terry O’Shea welcomed all.

Major Randall Comis, an island resident presented an outline of Canada’s Military history from the beginning of the last century to the present. He noted the large numbers in the army, navy and air forces and merchant marine who died or were wounded in the many conflicts.

Major Comis spoke of the military’s roles in fighting, peace keeping, the cold war and Peace Making since the collapse of the USSR. “The United Nations signed an innovative proposal suggested by Canada’s Lester B. Pearson to deploy contingents of soldiers drawn from member states operating under the United Nations flag to come between combatants to keep peace until lasting solutions can be negotiated. Today he said “in our new reality to keep the peace we enjoy here in Canada, we deploy forces abroad to confront threats before they reach our shores. Today we remember the sacrifices of all of our veterans and reflect on the meaning of their service.. It is the very least we can do,” he concluded.

Poems of Remembrance and scripture were read by Fire Chief James White, Major Keith Walton, Lt. Colonel Billy Allen, Brian Scovil and Mrs. Mabel McRae. United Church Pastor Terry Wood offered prayers and reflection. Teachers Tara Beers and Craig Pitts read the names of islanders who lost their lives and those who served during war and in peace keeping.

A special moment included the playing of the Last Post and the Reveille by Ms. Celina Walker.

Laying wreaths were: representing Peace Keeping and Peace Making, veterans Major Keith Walton and Colonel Jim Calvin; Merchant Navy veterans R.F. Fawcett and Vern Yott ; the St Lawrence and the Wolfe Island Women’s Institutes Mrs. C. Fawcett and Mrs. R. White; the schools Mrs. Tara Beers and Craig Pitts.

Missing at this year's event was island resident Lt. Colonel Dave Patterson who is in Ethiopia serving as a military attaché in Addis Ababa. Thanks to Maureen Lollar, organizer of the annual event, and her assistants.
(This article was not published in The Heritage.)

Posted by Margaret Knott at 07:23 AM
November 16, 2006
Changes for Frontenac Island

This year was not a Mayoral election for Frontenac Islands. Instead Mayor Jim Vanden Hoek from Wolfe Island was acclaimed in his position and now begins a 4-year, third term as Mayor.

Frontenac Islands is the amalgamated township of Wolfe and Howe Islands and there were races for 2 seats in Wolfe Island’s Ward #1 and in the one hour and two ferry rides away Howe Island’s Ward 2 two seats were also contested.

Denis Doyle and Wayne Grant (incumbent) were elected councillors in Ward 1 representing Wolfe and Simcoe Islands. Also running on Wolfe Island were Dan Hogan, Trevor Van Allen and Mike Bromley.

Matt Fiene and Pat Norris (incumbent) were elected as councillors in Ward 2 representing Howe Island. Carl Lippert also ran on Howe.

Wolfe Island Councillor Jim Calvin and Deputy Mayor Geoff Hobbs (Howe Island) did not let their names stand for re-election.

One issue of concern to Howe Island residents during the campaign was the proposed re-opening of the Keyes Quarry. On Wolfe Island the proposed Wind Plant and its anticipated benefits to the community is on everyone’s mind these days, those for it, land owners with optioned lands and the community as a whole while concerns remain for a number of residents.

There are approximately 1300 full time residents on Wolfe Island and 400 + on Howe Island. Seasonal residents and cottagers raise the number of eligible voters to maybe 2500.

Council meetings are held the second Monday of every month and they alternate between Wolfe Island and Howe Island.

Frontenac Islands - Election Results
Mayor Jim Vanden Hoek – Acclaimed

Councillor Ward 1 Wolfe Island
Dennis Doyle – 453
Wayne Grant – 372
Dan Hogan – 220
Trevor Van Allen - 139
Mike Bromley - 124

Howe Island Ward 2
Matt Fiene – 231
Pat Norris – 230
Carl Lippert - 157

Posted by Margaret Knott at 06:31 PM
November 08, 2006
Candidates Love Wolfe Island But Residents Not All Happy at Candidates Meeting

“ I love Wolfe Island” was the prevailing theme of the four candidates at the Frontenac Islands, Wolfe Island ward all candidates meeting moderated by Peter Millar and sponsored by the Wolfe Island Business & Tourist Association. (Algonquin Lakeshore Catholic District School Board candidates, Cathy Turkington and Wilf Garah spoke briefly at the outset).

Denis Doyle, retired business man; Dan Hogan, nurseand young family man, Trevor Van Allen, long time resident, retired RCMP; Mike Bromley, new resident, business man; and Wayne Grant, life long islander and farmer who is seeking re-election; are the candidates for the two council positions.

Mayor Jim Vanden Hoek welcomed the community and quoting said” the prose of government is entirely different from the poetry of the campaign,” as he thanked the packed hall for their support.

In their opening remarks the candidates spoke of their love of the island, why they came and continue to live here and why they wish to serve the community. All four cited transportation as the priority issue. Other concerns were issues surrounding the landfill site, poor road conditions, lack of communication, policing, parking, road conditions, recreation, water in the village and sewerage hauling and the Wind Plant project monies.

Trevor Van Allen regarding transportation, said residents told him what they would like to see happen and he has stored that information for future reference to be dealt with in a fair and just way. Road work, policing with more OPP presence, and the dump are priorities. He sees the wind plant as a legitimate choice for the island.

Dennis Doyle thinks it’s time to re-establish a local lagoon rather than hauling to the city, believes in a systematic approach to road repairs, community recreation as a priority, has ideas about the dump, communication and has time to devote to the community which includes Simcoe Island, also sees revisiting the marriage of Howe and Wolfe islands.

Mike Bromley suggested that being new to the island might be a benefit. He said he has become acquainted with the existing issues of transportation, policing, security and recreation facilities through actual experiences since his arrival which he explained with humour. Sees a real need to draw young families like his to the island and to solve problems of parking and speeding , (speed bumps, neighbourhood watch etc.)

Wayne Grant wants to continue working for esidents of Wolfe and Simcoe Islands on all community issues (noting transportation first), encouraging young people and families, searching out local job opportunities, improving roads, recreation, community policing, and listen to what volunteer groups have to say.

Dan Hogan offered his youth, family history of political service, involvement with Big Sandy Bay Development and cited as major issues transportation, maintaining the island schools, encouraging young families to come, need for recreational facilities, day care, more community development, water in the village and implementation of bylaws re parking etc.

All of the candidates spoke of the Wind Plant amenities agreement and the $645,000 that will flow to the island annually when the plant becomes a reality and what it will mean in terms of dealing with the many costly issues facing the island., providing jobs, etc. Candidate Doyle suggested that a Heritage Fund be established. All reflected on water in the village. Bromley discussed the scoping study results.

A Q& A period followed and at this late date, came those angry and opposed to the Wind Plant and calling for a referendum. One question asked for confirmation that the annual $645,000 is area rated to Wolfe Island. (This was not answered.) Further questions revolved around the future needs of seniors, community supports, retirement home, social services presently non existent, the essential services agreement in the event of another ferry strike; a request for a Simcoe Island bubble system; the need for more tourism or none; representation for Simcoe Island; communication; a recreation facility and day care provisions as essential requirements to keep young families. The candidates attempted to answer all of the questions and remained to talk individually with residents following the meeting.

On Howe Island a meeting sponsored by the Howe Island Ratepayers association moderated by Roger Scott Taggart was held the same evening to meet candidates vying to fill two ward positions. They are, Pat Norris seeking re-election, Carl Lippert and Matt Fiene. The meeting offered the candidates the opportunity to offer their own positions on development, taxes, ferry services, emergency services, as well as municipal and county issues. An open question period followed.
In an as yet unconfirmed report, Councillor Norris apparently said that the Wolfe Island Wind Plant amenities agreement is not Area rated meaning a percentage of the money expected from it can also flow to Howe Island.

Posted by Margaret Knott at 07:23 AM
November 07, 2006
Wind Power Meeting Good for Some, Raises Concern for Others

The concern that arose at a well attended public meeting was not about the Wind Plant (WP) itself, but about how little land is really available for the proposed 86 towers when setbacks, environmentally sensitive areas, wood lots etc. enter the equation.

The meeting called by Frontenac Islands council was to consider a Zoning bylaw amendment prepared by Clark Consulting for the Wolfe Island Canadian Hydro Developers Wind Plant. Many landowners saw their hope for a turbine(s) on their optioned land diminishing. Present at the table, with all members of council and staff, were Ross Keating, President, Canadian Hydro Developers and John Uliana, IBI Group assisting Canadian Hydro, Bob Clark and Jennifer Current.

Mayor Vanden Hoek said that while there may be more areas of interest, setbacks, nature of the amenities agreement and the size of the project’s footprint on the island are of interest to all. “I hope this meeting helps provide this information.” The agenda included information from Clark Consulting , followed by Canadian Hydro, Q&A session and council members.

Reviewing the process Clark said that the Official Plan Amendment to add wind turbines as a permitted use in the agricultural designation (already permitted rural) was passed by council and is in the hands of the province. Following the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing’s decision there is an opportunity for appeal on this high level policy document.

The Zoning By Law is very precise bylaw setting out the rights and regulations that affect the ability to get a building permit on any particular land parcel. “In this case the purpose of the meeting is to review an application for a zoning bylaw amendment to the comprehensive zoning bylaw to permit wind turbines as part of a wind plant on lands that have been optioned by CREC. Because it is the municipality’s bylaw, if it is passed, the appeal period begins directly.” Also required is a specific site plan for turbines and accessory facilities, and on a property by property basis for removal of the holding provisions. Ms Current said the setback of a wind turbine is measured to the closest point of the base of the tower with the minimum setback from a dwelling in the wind plant zone is 5metres plus the blade length; setback from a dwelling not in a WP zone is 350 metres and gave further setback figures related to abutting land, village residential, improved streets, unopened road allowances as well as setbacks for accessory facilities. Removal of the holding provision requires the developer to provide a final Environmental Screening report and individual landowners to have an approved site plan.

Comments and questions were accepted until Oct 31st. Notice of council’s decision to approve or deny must be made within 15 days. Once given there is a 20 day appeal period to the OMB.If no appeal the zoning Bylaw will come into effect the day it was passed subject to passing of the Official Plan amendment.

Canadian Hydro’s Ross Keating, an engineer, said that he and his brother John, an accountant started the company in 1990. He gave a brief overview of the company, including the acquisition of CREC and GAIA Power’s land options which were incorporated into the bid to the province to supply 198 megawatts consisting of 86, 2.3 mega watt towers (80 metres high with 93 metre diameter blades).

They are close to finalizing the turbine layout (an area of frustration for all) which must be submitted to the Ministry of the Environment who do their own analysis to see if they are compliant (mostly sound levels) and once approved this goes into the screening report “which is another thing you have been waiting for,” Keating said. “It will take 30 days to review including the community’s review as well,”so assuming we can get approvals by spring we will begin the construction of roads, pads and the underground distribution wiring and sub station to be complete by year end.

Siemens supplies and constructs the turbines coming by ship in 2008 from Denmark landing probably in Oswego, ( Kingston does not have a port) transferred across on another vessel directly to Wolfe Island’s winter dock. Each turbine takes 3 days to assemble and they contracted to be operational in 2008. “Our objective is to minimize any disruption to the ferry service.” The interconnection is to the Gardiner’s sub station and one on the island on the west side of the 4th line.” Keating indicated that the land shown on the map in purple is the envelope in which they can put turbines.

John Uliana said not only is it important to the landowner but to the developer to know what the regulations will be from the municipality before he can finalize where the turbines can go. ”We must come away with a level of comfort that we have your support.”

While most questions were answered to the satisfaction of landowners there was some frustration even anger in the questions by residents not in favour, but more were about the wind plant, the screening report, available work etc. A few were referred to the planning consultant. Most specifically related to the siting of turbine 350 metres from a non participating dwelling, also severed lots ( non participating ownership) with no building. A question from a Howe Island resident asked what portion of amenities agreement money will flow to Howe Island. Clark Consulting will summarize all of the information , questions and concerns for council prior to their next meeting on Wed. Nov. 15th.

Councillor Calvin spoke of the impact of the amenities agreement ($7,500 per tower per year) noting that only one third of property taxes stays with the township. With the agreement $645,000 will come directly every year. “A $300,000 waterfront house pay $3300 taxes with $1100 staying. To get $650,000, we would need maybe 300 houses.”

Deputy Mayor Hobbs (Howe Island) noted that he and Councillor Norris are in the strange position since both Grant and Calvin have optioned land. He will consider all information. Mayor Vanden Hoek closed the meeting with thanks to all.
Council meets Wed. Nov. 15th 6:30 pm Wolfe Island.

Posted by Margaret Knott at 07:13 AM
November 01, 2006
The Wolfe Islander Celebrates 30th Anniversary of Service to Wolfe Island

The 30th Anniversary of the M.V. Wolfe Islander III, the ferry operating between Kingston and Wolfe Island provided the ideal opportunity for Ontario’s Minister of Transportation, the Honourable Donna Cansfield to visit MTO’s Eastern Region which also includes its Marine Division in Kingston.

Minister Cansfield, looking much like a captain herself, boarded the provincially owned and operated Wolfe Islander III for a regular round trip from Kingston to the island.

Accompanied by MTO Regional Director Ms Cathie Moore and Ferry Supervisor Terry McRae she was welcomed on board by Senior Captain Brian Johnson.. Undeterred by the rain, Minister Cansfield strolled the deck , listening attentively to Captain Johnson’s stories about the inauguration of the Wolfe Islander in 1976, and its Senior Captain R.F. Fawcett, before going below to the engine room.

This was followed by a trip to the wheel house where with Captain Mark Greene she took over the navigation of the ferry for a moment asking questions all the while. Looking out at Wolfe Island from that height she noted the many cars and trucks boarding the

On the upper deck along with invited guests including KEDCO President Jeff Garrah, Wolfe Island Business & Tourism President Pat Sanford and Frontenac Islands Mayor Jim Vanden Hoek, Minister Cansfield offered an Anniversary wish for the Wolfe Islander III on its “30th anniversary of faithful and uninterrupted service.”

Later the Minister took the opportunity to talk about the importance of the waterways to Ontario’s Highway System. “When you think of highways you think of land,” she said, “but this is the H2O Highway, it moves goods and services, it moves people. The Wolfe Island ferry service is a perfect example of that.”
She mused about the wind plant coming to Wolfe Island and the many trucks that would travel the ferry as a result; how the trucking industry and marine services can be more complementary to one another. Referring to Asia Pacific Gateway Mrs. Cansfield said. “There are many ways we can better utilize all of our transportation system,” noting that there is more external trade from Ontario than from the West Coast. “We think there should be a Southern Gateway and ultimately a National Gateway. When you look at a gateway you look at all forms of transportation including the H2O highways and how to maximize those uses”

About a bridge to Wolfe Island the Minister said she has not had time to think about it. “But I think the people are well served by the ferry. It is reliable and operates many hours a day.” Once on land Minister Cansfield met with the Marine Maintenance staff at the terminal.

At this time MTO, at the request of the Township of Frontenac Islands is looking at ways to increase the capacity of the WI Ferry service based on the 1994 IBI study.

Posted by Margaret Knott at 12:05 PM