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.

March 31, 2007
Wolfe Island Loses First Woman Councillor

On Wolfe Island, Marysville residents and business owners have been waiting for the return of the ferry from the winter dock to the village. They are gearing up for a busy tourist season of events and festivals. Locally they are looking forward to new summer sports activities in the planning stages. The Wind Power project is on their minds following the latest round of open houses. And Easter is coming.

All of which would have been eagerly anticipated by Marysville resident Margaret (Foley) Woodman, Wolfe Island’s FIRST Woman member of Council. But Margaret died March 21st, leaving a big void on the island and in Marysville particularly.

Margaret maintained a keen interest in everything island, its people, young and old, its joys, sorrows, activities and events (who will forget the watermelon cutting she took great delight in doing every year at the Island Classic Road Race) and its local government while maintaining a close relationship with family and friends in Kingston from whence she came when she married the late Bruce Woodman. She was a devoted wife, mother grandmother, great grandmother, aunt and friend to all.

Marg had a way of welcoming new comers to the island, bestowing on them her good humour and broad smile, urging them to become involved. She herself was involved at a pace that was distinctly her own. When you heard the word W…E…L.. L.. you knew you would get a straight answer to any question.

Knowing her it did not seem unusual, but perhaps it was surprising that a small community like Wolfe Island would elect a WOMAN to serve on council. Margaret was elected for the first time in 1973, again in 1975, 1983, 1991 and finally in 1994. Following her retirement from local politics she continued her interest in the community. A consummate Councillor, never out of touch, she welcomed visitors to talk about things, to offer opinions or to share a laugh from her perch on the porch of her home on Main Street.

A full church bade Margaret Woodman good bye and at the reception, friends and family set aside their sadness to tell instead the wonderful stories about Margaret’s life and times. The Wolfe Island community extends sympathy to Wendy and “the Boys” and to her extended family.


Posted by Margaret Knott at 11:52 AM
March 27, 2007
March Meeting a Reminder of Water Problem on Wolfe Island

The Frontenac Islands March council meeting looked at a major issue confronting Wolfe Island. In 2005 a small heating oil spill at Wolfe Island’s town hall and its effect on two shore wells brought Water to the forefront in a big way. The Ministry of the Environment (MOE) during the clean-up presented 6 different scenarios to deal with the more difficult of the two , suggesting that the municipality take it and possibly the other over. The township decided instead to review the scope of the present problem and to develop a future plan for drinking water in Marysville, engaging XCG & DCA Consultants Ltd. to carry out a preliminary study. Janet Noyes, XCG project Engineer attended the meeting to outline the results of that study.

“Basically we were told to look at two shore wells and to see if the municipality was in full compliance with the issues and to provide some direction regarding your responsibilities,” she said. “The other issue was to look at the larger picture realizing that a safe secure water system was not currently available in Marysville and to carry out a scope for the entire village. With regard to the shore wells, there are two side by side each with two pumps, one servicing the town hall and 3 or 4 households which according to the Clean Drinking Water Act makes a small municipal non residential system and is the responsibility of the municipality. The other shore well serves 8 households and is privately owned system. Because it serves more than 5 households, it is classified as a non municipal year round privately owned residential drinking water system. It has to be registered with the Ministry of the Environment and become compliant with regulations, operation, testing, a big step for 8 or 10 homeowners,” she noted.

According to Noyes different MOE scenarios were explained to the home owners who in turn asked that the municipality take an interest because the MOE could come and force the hand of the private homeowners if they cannot or will not comply with the regulations which could inevitably lead to it becoming the responsibility of the municipality.

XCG met with the homeowners. They also conducted a water survey. (Water supply systems in Marysville include drilled wells, shore wells, direct surface water lines, hauled water and bottled water) More than half of the respondents drink bottled water although most have a disinfection form of water treatment systems. Some are using untreated shore well water. “ I think at this point that with the oil spill and neighbouring municipalities discharging waste at certain times of year these water supply systems are not secure,” Noyes said.

XCG also identified some long term potable water system options for Marysville coming up with a short list and estimated costs (upgrade existing and point of entry systems, communal surface water system with distribution and communal ground water system with distribution) but took a step back from a full Environmental Assessment at this time.. The question of how to pay for any of the high priced options came up . “Obviously you would have to look for funding . COMRIF (federal-provincial) has nothing right now… but whatever you do you need to have ducks in a row and know what you want…”

Council accepted the “Scoping Study For Drinking Water Systems In Marysville” and entered into an agreement hiring XCG Consultants ( at a cost not to exceed $5000). XCG will continue to investigate different water supply approaches for Marysville and identify possible funding options available to the township in their drive to move forward in this process. “There is a very long road to go,” Mayor Vanden Hoek commented.

In other business: Island residents, Linda Bruckman and Hank Connell have been appointed to the Wolfe Island Waste Disposal Advisory Committee together with Councillors Dennis Doyle and Wayne Grant, Road Superintendent Leo Greenwood and Consulting Engineer Guy Laporte of the firm Totten Sims Hubicki. They will review the waste disposal and recycling operations of the “dump.”
1. Council will seek further nominations to the Howe Island Social Cultural and Recreational Activities committee before formal appointments are finalised.
2. The Frontenac Islands Site Plan Control By-Law will now indicate that developers are required identify, protect and repair (as much as possible) unavoidable damage of all existing hedgerows on site and adjacent properties, as well as give public notice of applications for site plan approval.
Treasurer Christina Lott presented a picture of the members of the Peace Support Training Centre and Civil Military Cooperation Operator Course given to council with thanks for the continued support of the Canadian Forces and their exercises. (Wolfe Island is frequently used as a military exercise site) “ I was thrilled to attend,” she said. “For your information based on the last exercise we can handle about 800 displaced persons without severe military support, “ she said.
Ms Lott requested a budget meeting. One will be held Aug. 16th on Wolfe Island.
Councillor Doyle noted that job postings are up for Big Sandy Bay. He also reminded council that residents would like to receive more communication from the township on certain issues. Doyle also wondered about land sales. “At the last meeting we talked about residents specific concerns about public land, its use and sale. I am wondering about guidelines,” he said. Clerk O’Shea commented that within the community development process with OMAFRA’s Brian Ritchie, a committee will assess and compile a public land inventory and make recommendations to council. Councillor Grant reminded council that the tidy up and installation of the no parking signs recommended for the Town Hall square should happen before the ferry returns to the village. The Mayor said all the spaces on the east side have been designated for visitor & business parking. Council meets TUESDAY, April 10th on Howe Island.

Around Town: * There was much anticipation regarding wind farm meeting on Wolfe Island (March 27th). *The same night on Howe Island local ferry transportation and other issues were on the agenda. * The St. Patrick’s Day Social for Seniors was a wonderful event as usual. *Thanks to Jackie St. Pierre’s for her insights into event planning provided at an FCFDC “SPECIAL EVENT SAVY” workshop (sponsored by WIBTA).

Posted by Margaret Knott at 08:57 AM
March 22, 2007
Local Post Master Cuts Hair For Cancer

Wolfe Island’s Post Master Marilynne Leggett let her hair grow very long with one purpose in mind. To have it cut off and to donate it for the production of wigs for persons suffering hair loss (baldness) resulting from cancer treatment.

The date arranged for the great cut was the day when a winter storm left many homes and businesses on Wolfe Island without power. But not the Post Office. Local hair stylist Debbie Knox , owner and operator of Deb’s Hair Salon, walked to the post Office with the tools of her trade in hand where she carried out the deed.

Marilynne’s Pony Tail, a magnificent 13” length, was cut away leaving her shorn but not bald with a very short attractive haircut.
“I have been growing my hair for the last year with this plan in mind. I think most of us are close to someone who has been affected by cancer,” Leggett said. “My hair will actually go to the Kingston’s , All Hair Alternatives hair donation program. They collect untreated hair, at least 10” in length, to make wigs. It takes about 16 donated ponytails to make one wig, so it all helps.”

She is also collecting pledges for the Canadian Cancer Society. Post Master Leggett travels from Elginburg each day to Wolfe Island’s rural Post Office, one of the busiest in Frontenac County.


Posted by Margaret Knott at 12:34 PM
March 17, 2007
Where Have We Been? Where Are We Going?

At the request of the Frontenac Islands, Brian Ritchie, Economic Development Consultant with the Ministry of Agriculture and Food has undertaken a community consultation on Howe and Wolfe Islands to develop an economic and business development plan. It would include possible job creation opportunities which at its conclusion should identify 4 or 5 priorities to help each island community move forward. Thus far, Ritchie has met with both communities on two different occasions, the first to brainstorm and the second to focus on a few specifics, noting that the preliminary focus on Wolfe Island has been on recreational activities and community centre development. It is anticipated that a report with recommendations from each community will come to council in May. (Please note that while transportation is always a priority issue it is not being included in the consultation but has been referred to MTO by the Township.)
And while this consultation with Ritchie is a first for Howe Island it is not for Wolfe Island when in 1999 OMAFRA’s Bonnie O’Neil undertook a similar consultation. Again in January of 2001 a W.I. Development Review Committee of Frontenac Islands council was formed to assess, develop and prioritize development opportunities. The committee produced an extensive report with a 4-component plan referred to as “the cornerstones to success” which included: a Comprehensive Wolfe Island Water And Sewage Management Strategy; Big Sandy Bay; a Multi-Use Community Facility; and the Wolfe Island Canal. In describing each of the four priorities, the report offered short and long term recommendations and consideration was given to direct and indirect job creation, as well as to the long term effects for the community. The 8 committee members were a very diverse group of islanders.
Since then of course, Big Sandy Bay, in spite of all odds, and through the energy and persistence, cooperation and the hard work of many, is now open to the public and is recognised by the Province as an ‘Area of Natural and Scientific Interest ‘ and an island jewel. It is managed by the Township of Frontenac Islands’ Big Sandy Bay Management Area Stewardship Committee. At this time of the year, they are already seeking students to work as Environmental Stewards during the summer months. BSB is supported in many different ways through the volunteer efforts of Friends of Big Sandy Bay. Denis Doyle is Council representative and Chair of the Big Sandy Bay Stewardship Committee. As the news travels out about the Big Sandy Bay conservation area and beach many more visitors are coming to Wolfe Island.
However, the Multi Use Community facility recommended in 2001 is not a reality- YET. But a number of good things have happened and in particular, a water line has been extended to the community centre grounds. And at this time 3 arena proposals presented by the Community Centre Board Committee are being assessed and analyzed through the township. One can only hope this means a proposal will be selected, funding will be sought and fund raising will begin in earnest for the project. It’s a big hope for the entire community.
When it comes to the historic Wolfe Island Canal, it is hard to believe there is any water in it at all. It is now so overrun with weeds. This project was pursued with a great deal of energy by a Canal Committee appointed by council with plans to reroute and repair the road (bridge) over it, install a large pipe and clear it somewhat to allow small craft travel through its waters. However there were differences of opinion, those for it, and those against, and in the end the committee chaired by Councilor Grant was shut down. Alternative plans for the canal without boat traffic never materialized. Interesting to note that the canal came up again at recent first meeting with Brian Ritchie and has made the short list.

Water and sewage of course is the biggest issue facing Marysville as it does so many small communities. Unfortunately a small oil spill affected the water supply to the town hall and a number of residences. Division Street residents are now facing major costs to bring their affected water systems into conformity. Water in the village is drawn from the river by way of shared shore wells and individual lines and is treated for use though systems in each home. Marysville businesses have approved water systems but for the most part drinking water is purchased and “No drinking water” signs are posted in public buildings. (Fortunately the new island business “Septic Solutions” has helped with the sewage haulage problems.)
But solving the water situation could spell the beginning of new economic development. Recently some one made the comment that instead of building and operating a costly water treatment plant for the village, having a water pipe laid from the Kingston water filtration plant would be a far simpler and less costly long term solution. It will be interesting to see what new approaches to economic development and job creation will come from the consultation now underway with Brian Ritchie.
Around Town:*And speaking of laying something across the water, Wolfe Island’s next mural features the laying of the bubble system so important to winter ferry travel.*A notice of Application and Hearing has been filed with the Ontario Energy Board by CREC (Canadian Hydro Development) to construct a 12 kilometres electric transmission line from a new transformer station on Wolfe Island to a new customer switching station in Kingston to connect the CREC Wolfe Island Wind Farm to the Hydro One Inc. transmission system. (Construction is proposed to begin July 2007 to achieve a May 2008 in-service date). For information on how to participate visit the Board web site: * There is no news yet about the Wind Power project appeals. * “The Gospel of St. Mark” with Kingston actor Matthew Gibson takes place at Sacred Heart of Mary Church March 16 at 7:30 pm. Free Admission.* WIBTA is already planning for the many events to take place during the busy summer tourist season. Information will be posted on their website: * Howe Island’s “Garden Buds” are gearing up for spring.

Posted by Margaret Knott at 09:37 AM
March 14, 2007
Crime Writers Short Story Contest

Island’s Short Story Contest Honours Canada’s First Crime Writer
Wolfe Island’s Scene of the Crime Festival announced its 2007 short story contest on Feb. 24th, the birth date of Grant Allen, Canada’s first crime writer born on Wolfe Island in 1848.

Introduced four years ago, the contest gives other Canadians a chance to publish their first crime or mystery stories and is open to writers who are previously unpublished in the mystery or crime genre.

“Since Canadian crime writing started with a Wolfe Islander, it seems fitting the Island be a centre for promoting new writers from across the country,” says contest co-ordinator Violette Malan. “Last year we were delighted to see Canadians from the Maritimes to British Columbia turning to crime.”
Stories must be original and unpublished up to the time the winners are declared and must not exceed 3500 words.

For Complete contest rules visit <

Deadline for entries is May 15, 2007. Winners will be announced June 30, 2007, and presented with their prizes at Wolfe Island’s annual Scene of the Crime Festival on Saturday, Aug. 11, 2007.

Posted by Margaret Knott at 09:44 AM
March 10, 2007
Three Island Churches Host the Gospel According to Saint Mark

“The Gospel According to Saint Mark” will be performed in its entirety by one man at Sacred Heart of Mary Church on Friday 16 March 2007 at 7:30 hosted by the 3 Wolfe Island churches.

“This play is being offered free, as a gift to the island by the churches as we prepare for Easter,” Rev. Canon Chris Carr rector at Trinity Anglican said in announcing the free event, also supported by Sacred Heart of Mary Church and Wolfe Island United.

“According to all the reviews,” Canon Carr said “the brilliant solo performance by Kingston actor Matthew Gibson, will bring The Gospel According to Saint Mark to vivid life through storytelling and theatre.”

“Further reviews,” he said, ”suggest the focus of the King James version of Mark is a remarkable tale that will capture peoples imaginations.”

A cautionary reminder however, when coming from Kingston to Wolfe Island personal transportation is required as the ferry lands at the winter dock. “But do come and bring a friend.”

Posted by Margaret Knott at 04:12 PM
March 09, 2007
Short Story Contest Honours First Canadian Crime Writer

Wolfe Islands Scene of the Crime Festival announced its 2007 short story contest on Feb. 24th, the birth date of Grant Allen, Canada’s first crime writer born on Wolfe Island in 1848.

Introduced four years ago, the contest gives other Canadians a chance to publish their first crime or mystery stories and is open to writers who are previously unpublished in the mystery or crime genre.

“Since Canadian crime writing started with a Wolfe Islander, it seems fitting the Island be a centre for promoting new writers from across the country,” says contest co-ordinator Violette Malan. “Last year we were delighted to see Canadians from the Maritimes to British Columbia turning to crime.”

Stories must be original and unpublished up to the time the winners are declared and must not exceed 3500 words. For Complete contest rules visit

Deadline for entries is May 15, 2007. Winners will be announced June 30, 2007, and presented with their prizes at Wolfe Island’s annual Scene of the Crime Festival on Saturday, Aug. 11, 2007.

Posted by Margaret Knott at 04:22 PM
March 08, 2007
Wolfe Islander John Posthumus Receives Award of Merit

Retired Wolfe Island farmer, John Posthumus was the recipient of the Ottawa Regional Soil and Crop Improvement (SCIA) Award of Merit at the 2nd Annual Harvest Festival hosted by the Ottawa Regional SCIA.

The award was presented to Mr. Posthumus by Jason Pyke, regional Vice President of the Association, also from Wolfe Island. “ John is most deserving of this award. He has always been there,” Pyke said noting that John is an active participant in every farming event that takes place in the county.

The Merit Award recognizes a regional Soil and Crop Improvement Association member who has made an outstanding contribution to both the regional and local Soil and Crop Association and to agriculture in their own county.

Most often the accomplishments of local farmers are only written up in farm reviews and periodicals, information lost for the most part to the larger community, in spite of the fact that agricultural activity continues most important to Frontenac County and Ontario. So to continue……

Mr. Posthumus was among the Dutch immigrant families who began arriving on Wolfe Island in the late 40’s and 60’s to farm on the island. He was named Frontenac County “Farmer of the Year “ in 1976. He has been a member of many agricultural organizations at all levels including the Frontenac SCIA, as president in 1973, the Ottawa Regional SCIA, the Frontenac Milk Producers, Frontenac Federation of Agriculture, Farm Safety, Wheat Producers, the Wolfe Island Plowmen’s Association, and though retired, he is presently active with the Ottawa Valley Seed Growers Association and the Kingston Agricultural Society.

On a very positive note, two of his sons continue the Posthumus Family farming tradition on Wolfe Island.

Posted by Margaret Knott at 04:16 PM
March 04, 2007
Slow Going Howe Island County Ferry Causes Frustration

It’s a fact. Howe Islanders are not getting what they were promised from the new 15 car Howe Island County ferry. They were promised faster turn around, more hourly vehicle capacity and increased tonnage.

Instead the current ferry moves only 3 more cars per hour than the previous service with longer trip times than the ferry it replaced, and has only one winch drive (which burns out at high speeds causing the slow down) instead of the two described in the original design report.

This all came to light at the Frontenac Islands council meeting where Howe Island resident Wade Coulter presented a analysis and performance comparison between the previous 9 car Howe Island ferry and the current 15 car ferry.

“ Previously the 9 car ferry moved 38 cars per hour based on a 14 minute round trip time.” he said. “The foot ferry moves 24 cars per hour for a total of 62 cars per hour. Without the foot ferry from January to March we move 47 cars per hour. To compensate we would need 1.6 extra trips per hour. And yes, peak period wait times have really increased by 30 minutes,” he said.

“The bottom line is we have a problem,” according to Jim Mills, a Howe Island Ratepayers Association (HIRA) director who earlier presented the results of what he called an unbiased ferry service survey. The returns from 234 full time residents (400 sent) indicate only fair turn around times and increased wait times. Most complaints are based on peak periods. “Taking the 3 car ferry out of service in the winter has a very serious impact especially for commuters.

Mills asked that council to keep the Township ferry in service as long as possible and that they support HIRA’s request for an engineering study of the County ferry. “ How can we get it back up to what we were promised?” he asked.

Mayor Vanden Hoek said the township has been aware for some time that trip times are longer than with the old service.

Council passed a resolution directing staff to continue operation of the Township ferry weather permitting effective Jan. 1, 2008 and to secure the provincial subsidy for its operation through negotiations with Frontenac County.

”The province has had time to live up to what it promised and the township is justified in asking for our subsidy dollars,” Deputy Mayor Pat Norris said. “The ferry we expected was to have two winch drives instead of the one.” Councillor Doyle wondered if reports indicate how to speed it up or is it simply a bad design.

Paul Charbonneau Director of Transportation Services for Frontenac County present at the meeting, acknowledged that the county ferry operates at a slower speed with only one winch drive. “There is no doubt the perception that people have is correct, the ferry is running only 3 trips an hour instead of four and wait times are longer.”

Councillor Fiene thanked HIRA for it efforts on behalf of Howe residents causing laughter from Wolfe islanders, (for whom ferry wait times are a bane), with his mischievous comment that no Tim Horton’s or a village coffee shop is available for waiting Howe Islanders.

Posted by Margaret Knott at 02:26 PM