It is not unusual for Wolfe Island to be chosen for military field trials and war games with its many isolated, easy to get lost in, fields and back roads. Recently Frontenac Islands Councillor Dennis Doyle agreed to participate in one such simulated search and rescue operation organized with the Canadian Search & Rescue team located at Trenton. They along with the Canadian Coast Guard provide primary search and rescue (SAR) in Ontario, Quebec and the far North.
SAR must always be in a state of readiness to respond to a downed plane. To do that 424 Squadron flies a helicopter and a CC-130 Hercules.
For the last 20 years all aircraft in Canada carry an emergency locator transmitter (ELT), a low powered radio transmitter usually located at the tail of the aircraft and activated on impact or by a switch.
Councillor Doyle , a pilot with his own plane agreed to activate such a device from his plane located on land near his home. This action then would initiate a SAR Operation allowing squadron members to test their skills. “First they had to hear the transmitter which indicates a downed aircraft, send out the very low flying Hercules to locate the exact spot of the transmitter on the ground, and flying across the area a number confirm the downed aircraft,” Doyle said. “They then dropped streamers to test the strength of the wind, and accurately dropped a small hand held radio hoping that the occupant in the plane could use it.
Flying at a 300 foot altitude they dropped a larger kit, (food water, medical supplies, stretchers etc.) no further than 50’ from the plane. Jamie Baldry, the son of one of the SAR organizer took on the roll of the downed, hurt pilot, who could not retrieve the radio.” Doyle continued. “The plane climbed to 1500 ft., more streamers with weights on the bottom for wind testing which simulates the weight of skydivers and where they should be coming down.
Two took a run off the plane ramp, opened their chutes and landed on the ground , checked the situation, stabilized the victim, and then called for a helicopter (which was ready to go as soon as the SAR began)
and within a short time landed at the site and boarded the victim. It was all very real.”
Doyle commented that the military always go through an exact procedure and evaluation process for every situation.. “These guys are standing by 24 hours a day, 365 days a year just to respond to any real life emergency. Because they don’t get all that many calls, they carry out frequent simulated practices in isolated areas further north. In populated areas people see an incident and call 911. This was a great experience,” Dennis concluded.
SPRING HAS FINALLY ARRIVED: Right on queue two serious cyclists, carrying filled saddlebags, prepared for what appeared to be a long trip, disembarked from the Wolfe Islander III and made their way to Horne’s Point for the May 1st reopening of Horne’s Ferry to Cape Vincent, NY. The Horne’s have operated a seasonal ferry service from Wolfe Island to New York State since 1802. It was a sure sign of spring, and a clear indicator that the summer tourist season on Wolfe Island has begun in earnest.
That is also confirmed daily since the return of the ferry from the winter dock to Marysville by the number of service vehicles coming to the island, the boats and trailers that have already begun arriving and the vehicles carrying furniture and the like for cottage re-openings and the fishers at the dock.
There is much activity at the Wolfe Island Bakery where some interior renovating is underway in advance of the May long weekend which sees the formal opening of the island’s Tourist Information Centre and the beginning of the many events planned for the season all outlined on the Wolfe Island Business & Tourism web site at www.wolfeisland.com.
To begin the season a Bicycle 20K – 40K Poker Run will be held on Sat. May 19th beginning at the Wolfe Island Town Square at 9:30 am. The $25. cost includes a T-shirt, a BBQ lunch and prizes of course. Why not grab your bike and take the 8:30 a.m. ferry from Kingston and join us for this fun event.
Also on that day, there is a Bake Sale at St. Margaret’s Hall and later a Fish Fry & Plant Sale at the Wolfe Island United Church. (doors open at 4:30 p.m.)
Major summer events on the island include, the Summer Music Festival, Scene of the Crime and the Bass Derby among others.
The 27th Annual Wolfe Island Classic 5&10K walk/run takes place Canada Day, Sunday July 1st beginning at 9:30 a.m. A Kiddy Run is part of the day. Did you know that more than 500 runners come from many parts of Canada and the US, to take part in this annual event. For on line registration check the WIBTA web site or register directly at The Running Room.
This year in conjunction with the Road Race, a local Canada Day Market is presently in the planning stage. It is proposed for the Town Square from 10 am to 4 p.m. and it will include local produce, vegetables and flowers, (much organic), probably too late for strawberries, but you never know, arts and crafts and more. The galleries will be open and bicycles will be available for rent. If anyone wishes to Showcase their product on that day call Linda at: 613-385-1947.
Around Town:* A recently formed group, WIRE (Wolfe Island Residents for the Environment), their purpose to ensure that the proposed Canadian Hydro Developers Wind Plant does not proceed as planned. They are calling for letters and are circulating a petition asking Frontenac Islands Council to rescind the Zoning By-Law asserting lack of proper legal and environmental process. WIRE, Box 218, Wolfe Island, K0H 2YO
- FYI the Wind Plant Environmental Review Report is expected any time soon. Also with regard to the two current appeals, they will be heard by OMB beginning July 23rd.
- A 3rd mural depicting the laying of the bubble system is nearly ready for mounting on the side of Mosier’s Convenience.
- Registration for the Wolfe Island Day Camp is underway. For further info call Sue at 613-354-5093 Ext.31 or email email@example.com
At their regular April meeting Frontenac Islands Council declared April 23-29 Pitch In Canada Week on the islands and will invite all citizens to show their civic pride and concern for a healthy environment by actively participating in “Clean Sweep” projects to keep the communities clean and beautiful.
Councillor Matt Fiene spoke of Howe Island’s annual clean up day scheduled this year for the 28th or 29th of April as part of the week, while local school children on Wolfe Island participate in an annual village clean-up.
Committee of Adjustment: There were letters of objection as well as a petition opposing the construction of dwelling by Rebecca and Paul Soudant, over the maximum height allowed on Howe Island The application was deferred until the applicants can confirm the exact height as recommended by Township Planner Glenn Tunnock.
In other business: The members of council had in hand a comprehensive Wolfe Island Wind Plant project ‘Site Plan Control Area draft by-law’ prepared by Clark Consulting Services which they will review and comment on. The proposed by-law applies to all lands in the municipality, all wind turbines and plants/facilities including small scale wind turbines (such as one proposed for to Sacred Heart school).
Consultant Bob Clark outlined the process regarding the proposed ‘Site Plan Control Area by-law.’ He outlined the status of the site plan application noting that the Zoning bylaw (ZBA) is under appeal, also that the “Holding” provision removal requires an approved site plan. (The site plan control requires a by-law and a process to review and approve individual site plans either on a turbine by turbine basis or on property leases. Agreements can be registered through title.)
The Environmental Review Report (ERR), providing details of environmental issues and their resolution will be circulated with agencies (later this month) by CREC and will be included in the application. A building permit requires site plan approval and the removal of the “Holding” provision. The Site Plan Control bylaw itself is not subject to appeal and can proceed before the resolution of the ZBA appeals “ The by-law sets in place the approval process, it is not approving the development. All comments will be collected for any revisions. We are also proposing a public meeting for a site plan review.” Clark said. Council members will review and comment on the proposed bylaw. (All Information presented at the public meeting held by Canadian Hydro Developers in March is available at www.wolfeislandwind.com)
Council accepted the 2006 report for the Wolfe Island Waste Disposal site prepared by the firm of Totten Sims Hubicki authorizing its submission to the Ministry of the Environment and to Mrs. T. James , a neighbouring property owner. Guy Laporte presented a site plan and statistics. While the site is in compliance and there is good diversion and recycling by residents, Laporte said that the site is not being covered as often as it should be but with good stewardship and continued improvements, the longevity of the site could be extended another 10 years. He noted also that the well water testing including the resident's well are okay and surface water samples are good. He suggested that the township should begin planning for the site closure expenditure ($140,000) now. Mayor Vanden Hoek said that residents are looking for more recycling opportunities. “We are waiting for a creative report from the land fill site committee,” the mayor said. A brief in camera session related to the site followed.
The Big Sandy Bay Stewardship Committee operating budget was approved for 2007 and calls for $22,300.00 in revenues and $21,705.00 in expenses.
Staff will contact Greg Caldwell, who was unhappy with a letter from the township which did not correctly spell out what was expressed in a ferry options presentation by him in February, and they will confirm to him that MTO will include all options in any Environmental Assessment of Frontenac Islands transportation.
Mrs. Rosa Hession, a Howe Island resident wants council to install “Children at Play” signs as well as to reduce the speed on a portion of Howe Island Drive. Councillor Norris agrees with Watch for Children signs near park area but questions lowering the speed limit. Councillor Fiene supports a 60 mph speed limit (which would require a bylaw). It was concluded that the present Children at Play sign will be freshened up, the situation will be discussed with Roads Superintendent Leo Greenwood, a decision will be arrived at and Mrs. Hession will be informed of the results.
Staff will advise Howe Island resident Gene Manion that Council has no objection to him repairing the culvert in front of his driveway but he is to use his own materials.
At this time members of council were invited to bring forward items for consideration. Councillor Doyle commented that a substantial donation was made by Don Cherry for the community centre project on Wolfe Island.
Councillor Fiene is looking for members for the Howe Island recreation committee.
Mayor Vanden Hoek noted that the Howe Island ferry is not running properly. “We need to find a strategy, a way of solving the problem,” he said.
The Mayor also wants to see a budget prepared with “Area Rating” and another prepared with “No Area Rating.” And finally, A resolution was passed instructing staff to take whatever steps are necessary to ensure that the Howe Island link (bridge) is included in any Environmental Assessment undertaken by the Ministry of Transportation for Frontenac Islands.
Frontenac Islands Council meets next Monday, May 13th @ 6:30 pm on Wolfe Island.
Coming Events: *The Frontenac Stewardship Council & WI resident Dr. Jim Day are sponsoring a free lecture to help raise awareness of the habitat requirements and grassland management needs of the Bobolink- a unique bird. Thursday, April 26th, 7:00 PM at the Wolfe Island Community Hall. * Wolfe Island Women’s Institute presents Spotlight on Africa , to raise awareness of the social issues in Africa, Thursday, May 3, 2007, 7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m., WI’s Sacred Heart School, presented as part of the Rural Ontario Sharing Education (ROSE) initiative of the Federated Women’s Institute’s of Ontario.
* On Mother’s Day, Sunday May 13th the Friends of Big Sandy Bay are hosting a Mother’s Day Walk at WI’s Big Sandy Bay from 1-3 p.m. (All info is posted at www.wolfeisland.com)
Many people attended the Public Meeting held in March regarding the Wind Power Plant proposed for Wolfe Island .
The progress of Wolfe Island Wind Plant project to date and information about what has yet to be completed along with a number of maps showing the proposed sites for the turbines as well as the makeup of the Ammenities Agreement was all displayed on large readable panels throughout the meeting room.
The entire panel presentation presented at that time is available on the Canadian Hydro Developers website at:
You will notice that web site is also cited in a recent event listing
CREC, a subsidiary of Canadian Hydro Developers, held their most recent Open House on Wolfe Island from 6 to 9 p.m., where island land owners, residents (full and part time) and interested visitors from Kingston and Watertown, N.Y. drifted in and out of the gathering to see and to hear what was new regarding the Wind Farm proposal for the island. At its height about 200 people filled the Fr. O’Reilly Gym of Sacred Heart School.
Canadian Hydro personnel, many of whom islanders have already come to know very well, included Canadian Hydro CEO John D. Keating, C.A; John Forrester, liaison officer for Canadian Hydro Developers; Geoff Carnegie, Manager, Ontario Projects, and many others prepared, ready and willing to answer the many questions, some new, some that have been answered before and some which will be answered as soon as the answers can be confirmed.
Quite a number of maps of the island showing the locations of the proposed 86 wind turbines towers were on display through out the gym. As well, a series of display panels lined the walls describing the project, what has happened to date and what must happen before it is completed. (For most islanders it was the first time they saw the proposed turbine locations.)
As most everyone knows by now the Ontario Power Authority awarded a Renewable Energy Supply contract to CREC in 2005 for the Wolfe Island Wind Plant which will consist of 86, 2.3 MW Siemens wind turbines, located through agreement with local landowners, estimated to generate 537,000 MWh per year of renewable electricity and is expected to cost $410 million with construction to happen sometime in 2007. Once the project has gone through all the hoops required ( environmental screening, environmental review, further approvals, appeals etc.), commercial operation is expected in October 2008.
The project will also include other facilities, for instance an operation and maintenance building, access roads, electrical lines, (planned as much as possible underground) as well as a transformer station and an under water transmission cable linking it to the Kingston grid. (Wolfe Island has no grid.)
What’s in it for Wolfe Island? At one time Wolfe Island with its 30, 000 acres of land was defined as an agricultural community. There were many active crop and dairy farms, much of the land was cultivated and employment was created because of it, including the Kraft plant which is now closed. Dutch immigrants came to Wolfe Island to farm in the 50’s and again in the 70’s. Since those days however much has happened.
At the present time there are only 7 dairy farms and perhaps 20 farmers who support their families through farming ONLY. Farmers have retired, many with no one to take over. Much of the land at the head of the island, the primary location for the wind farm is zoned agricultural , is inland as opposed to waterfront and as such is difficult to sell with the general restrictions on the agricultural designation. While a great percentage of the land remains cultivated with corn, wheat, barley, soy beans and a lot of hay, grain crop prices are inconsistent, beef prices have dropped and milk quota is very expensive. Many islanders raise beef, grow selected crops and livestock, and carry on with commercial fishing but work at other jobs on and off the island.
Their wives and partners work, many off the island as well. Taxes are high particularly for waterfront properties whether farms, cottage or residential. Economic development has been slow coming to Wolfe Island or opportunities have been missed entirely over the years. So when CREC came along with a wind plant proposal it offered island jobs, income from the land and the opportunity for Wolfe Island to become a possible leader in the production of alternative energy, the project was hard to reject particularly when the amenities agreement offering benefits to the whole of the island was negotiated. The entire project will be situated at the head of the island.
The material presented at the meeting offered the following benefits: job opportunities for local area workers and contractors in construction ($64 million in income and 252 person-years of employment) and operation services ($2.4 million annually in income and 26 person-years of permanent, skilled jobs). Landowner royalties $1,300,000; property taxes $552,000; amenities agreement $645,000 all of which is essentially net new income or revenue.
Continuing the tour around the gym and the information boards which dealt with birds, bats, lighting, towers, etc., an artist’s rendering of what the project will look like from a number of different locations including Kingston, was the final offering.
Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder so what people thought remained between themselves. Suffice it to say the size of the project became a reality although the pictures themselves, based on set backs etc. appeared inaccurate.
Was every one happy? No. Concerns remain with regard to many issues: birds, size of the project, visual, poles, under ground wiring, set backs, lighting, location of the towers, process, road noise, dust, property values, etc. etc. Two appeals have been filed. (Regarding property values, those closest to proposed tower installations wonder if anyone would want to buy a property close to a wind tower.) Is the project a sure thing? Is anything these days?
If there is anger or anxiety in the community, is it villager versus new comer versus farmer versus cottager versus retiree versus major land owners, versus environmentalists versus green power? No voices were raised. No one group was pitted against another on this night, at this stage in the process.
One very interesting question did come forward. Why would Howe Island receive any of the amenities agreement money, when they will give up nothing for the project? And how is the Township of Frontenac Islands (Wolfe & Howe) going to resolve that issue if the project is successful?
Refreshments provided by Canadian Hydro, were prepared and served by the Wolfe Island Women’s Institute.
Around Town: *Due to Easter Holiday, the April Frontenac Islands Council Meeting was held Tuesday, April 10th on Howe Island. * WIBTA’s regular meeting will be held April 17th, Wolfe Island United Church 7 p.m. *As of Good Friday the ferry returned to Marysville. *Pastor Terry and Anne Wood are grandparents. Congratulations *Best wishes for a Blessed Easter Season.