Wolfe Island was the scene of a devastating fire on Holiday Point Road that completely destroyed the waterfront home of Leanne and Murray McNeely. No one was at home at the time of the fire.
The fire, visible from the roof of the house was spotted by neighbour, David Clark, who called the Wolfe Island Volunteer Fire Department. Clark attempted to save the two dogs he knew were in the home but was unable to do so. One, an older dog, died in the fire, while the second, a Lab, was later found alive under a lower section of the house.
Despite the best efforts of the Fire Fighters the house and its contents could not be saved. However, and in spite of the prevailing wind they were able to keep the fire from spreading to the neighbouring homes and stayed on many hours spraying the propane tanks in the area to keep them cool.
“I was really impressed with the efforts of our Fire Department,” Clark said. “We are very fortunate to have such a well trained and dedicated group of Fire personnel on the island.”
The McNeely’s, who are presently staying at Brown’s Bay Inn remain in shock over the complete loss of their home.
And, as is so often the response of the island community to family tragedy, Wolfe Island’s Anglican Parish and friends of Leanne and Murray are organizing a benefit concert on their behalf, to be held on Sunday July 1st at St. Margaret’s Hall 3:30-5:30 p.m. featuring Island musicians and friendly bands. The afternoon will also include a Super Silent Auction, as well as an opportunity for a Freewill Offering at the door.
For more information regarding donations: 613-385-2648
Lynne Moore, a seasonal Wolfe Island resident representing WIRE (Wolfe Island Residents for the Environment) returned to the June meeting of Frontenac Islands Council on Howe Island. Ms Moore was looking for answers to a series of questions (amenities agreement, landfill site, environmental, transportation etc.) related to the proposed 86 tower Wind Power Plant and answers to the many questions regarding the process (Official Plan & Zoning By-Law Amendment) she submitted to council at their May meeting.
Moore said this approach was recommended by MPP John Gerretsen who suggested WIRE make council aware of their issues and ask for a response so that they can determine if council is acting in their best interest and not in the interests of the Canadian Hydro Developers. Moore read the content of a petition WIRE is circulating calling upon council to immediately rescind the zoning bylaw amendment because of certain alleged irregularities in the process. She presented petitions with 150 signatures to Mayor Vanden Hoek. (“with more coming”).
Supported by a number of vocal Islanders she said she had a legal review of the recently released ERR ( Canadian Hydro’s Draft form Environmental Review Report) and certain issues in it have not been addressed in that review. She noted lack of openness by the proponent regarding the island as an Important Bird Area requiring the highest level of scrutiny; the visual impact of the towers; the 256 non participating receptors (residents) who have NOT been involved in the process; skewed time lines by the proponent, insufficient information re the economic benefits, the amenities agreement split, ferry transportation, landfill site, sound levels, etc. with the most important environmental issue, the impact on the bird population left unaddressed.
In response Mayor Vanden Hoek said that the amenities agreement was shared information and there should be no confusion about what the community will receive. He said no council decision has been made as to the split of the general revenue outlined in the agreement. “But the suggested 56/44 split is wrong, inaccurate. I take exception to the notion that we have misled the public. This project has been before us since 2001. Every one has had the right, the privilege and the opportunity to interact in the process. In terms of leadership in this process we had a team of professionals advising us ,” he said.( professional planners, corporate lawyers, accountants)
The mayor expressed displeasure with some of the misinformation in the community noting that the zoning bylaw amendment was not ‘proponent driven’ but was something council wanted done. “In terms of the environmental issues, you have the opportunity to appeal the ERR. Certain issues are not the municipality’s, but rather the responsibility of MOE.”
Angry comments followed Moore’s presentation, with calls for the Mayor to rescind the by-law, answer the questions and resign , along with mutterings that the community had been left uninformed.
Long time Island resident Gail Kenney spoke against the 86 wind tower plant questioning certain items in the ERR. She also was looking for answers to long standing questions submitted to council and Canadian Hydro. (Her major complaint has been that individual questions posed at public meetings were not answered). She said that if the wind plant project proceeds she and her husband will have 28 turbines within 2 km (1.25 miles) of their house. She expressed amazement and horror that since joining WIRE, members have been called radicals, nimbys, tree huggers, hypocrites and “my husband and I, non participant receptors.” The question, “Is it radical to expect our elected council to faithfully and impartially exercise their office?” was accompanied by yeas from the crowd directed at the mayor .”Is it radical to express one’s feelings? Is it hypocritical? Since when is, not in my back yard a 4 letter word?”
Kenney said 256 ‘non participating receptors’ will be affected by the Wind Power project , noting letters addressed to Canadian Hydro Developers (Stantec), Federal, Provincial and Municipal governments received few or no reply’s. “What is it I have to do to get answers from this council? When I asked I was told they didn’t know the answers. How dare you change the environment of these islands when you changed the zoning from agricultural residential to industrial without knowing the impact of this mega project. How dare you dismiss our concerns as tree hugging , radical, hypocritical. to disguise the fact that you don’t know the answers. You did not practice due diligence if you can’t answer. At the last meeting Mr Tim Wilkins defended the project as legal but he did not say anything about appropriate, .moral or ethical,” she said.
Mrs Kenney said questions regarding the 86 wind tower plant ( eg.- burying of cables, setbacks, transmission wires, emergency services , ferry transportation, construction, sound levels) needed to be answered. She presented council with a copy of her intervention as well as letters from Environment Canada concerning the islands sensitive bird habitat.
The mayor encouraged the use of the ERR appeal process as one way of having questions answered which are not in council’s area of expertise.
There was a request to have the complete presentations included in the minutes. Clerk O’Shea said that was impossible and not legally required. Councillor Doyle said that he had heard many good points and some answers will come at the OMB hearings in July and through ERR appeal process “but at this point you have to go through the documented process of the Municipal Act.”
OMB hearings regarding the process and the environment begin July 23rd.
Angry words, some personal, and loud shouts of, “ Do you have insurance?” “What’s your step- out clause?” “What are they paying You?” “What were you thinking signing something like that?” were directed at the mayor. Many in the crowd said they would continue mounting pressure against the Wind Plant Project. One island citizen in attendance expressed dismay at the abuse inflicted on council.
The meeting moved on to other agenda items.
Around Town:* A Retirement Farewell - Open House for Long time teacher, Mrs. Elizabeth Bates – Wed., June 27, 2007, 5:00-7:00 pm at Marysville Public School. Colleagues, past and present, parents, students, former students, friends and community members are invited to attend.
*The 2007 annual meeting of the Wolfe Island Medical Clinic will be held Thursday, June 21st at the Clinic at 7:30 p.m. For information call 613-385-2461
While a large part of the Frontenac Islands May Council meeting was taken up with the concerns about the process around establishing a wind plant on Wolfe Island, other items were on the agenda.
A major zoning issue has put the plans of a Wolfe Island couple hoping to build their dream home on hold once again. Sherry and Jarda Zborovsky had gone through a difficult 18 month process regarding land owned by the Bolton family and to acquire a small piece from the Township so that the property could be severed into two building lots. Mayor Vanden Hoek summarized all that has gone on with the property since the fall of 2005. “Now this property and a number of others are identified as part of a Waste management Assessment area,” he said.
Mrs. Sherry Zborovsky spoke about the most recent turn of events regarding the property they finally purchased in March 2007. “We are disappointed and bewildered that the township did not notify the Bolton family or any other property owner about the zoning bylaw, approved in 2005, creating a 500m Waste Disposal Assessment zone,” she said outlining their costs to date, building plans, septic assessment, etc.
“Specifically my husband and I have been paralyzed since we requested a building permit and were informed that no buildings may be built on our property. Why didn’t we know. Why didn’t anyone else know,” she asked. She called upon council to abolish the assessment zone and to study the information provided in the most recent Totten Sims Hubicki and Associates report on the Wolfe Island Landfill site to make it happen and correct the problem. She noted that 16 other property owners are affected by the assessment zone.
Speaking to the same issue was Peter Bowers owner of a property, zoned for a single family dwelling between the 7th Line Rd. and Going Street fears he might also fall within the assessment zone, something his lawyer was not made aware of. In this case Bowers asked the township to move quickly to resolve the issue so he can move ahead since he sold a house in Kingston, paid for building plans, and made financial commitments that impact his family’s future.
The Mayor advised Mrs. Zborovsky and Peter Bowers that council will discuss their situations and seek the advice from the Township Solicitor and their Planning Consultant and be in touch as quickly as possible. ”The debate will be how do we make it work,” he said.
In other business Brian Ritchie of the Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs, presented his report entitled “Looking Forward, Frontenac Islands 2007 & Beyond, the result of a community consultation process on both islands to identify 4-5 community priorities and/ or projects that might be acted upon by council in the future.
“A challenge was identifying priorities that were common to both islands,” Ritchie said. “One that bubbled up was the use of public lands and the creation of walking trails, public parks, access to the water and enhancing cycling routes.” The report recommends that council establish a committee of council to spearhead the development of a comprehensive inventory/assessment of all township public lands, (suitable for recreational purposes or for sale with proceeds used to develop other properties). A second priority is the need for enhanced recycling programs which could be considered and proposed to council through its newly formed Waste Management committees.
The quality of life for the elderly was identified as a significant issue but the prospect of Senior’s home is unlikely since water and sewer were not identified priorities. It was recommended that a committee of council research innovative solutions and services (safety & security) to prolong quality of life for its most senior residents.
According to Ritchie, Wolfe Island’s community centre is a major priority The report asks council to consider the results of the feasibility study they commissioned. The revitalization of Marysville through a Community Improvement Plan (CIP) a Planning Act mechanism allowing Council to offer incentives to business owners to improve properties was suggested. Also that the township consider First Impressions Community Exchange (FICE) program supported by OMAFRA. Ritchie said the County’s Economic Development Department is completing a Business Retention and Expansion exercise that included Frontenac Islands businesses. It might identify priorities that did not surface in the consultation. He also suggested independent groups might be interested in partnering with council or to take the lead on priorities. (HIRA, WIBTA, etc.)
A touch of humour was added to the meeting when David Hurley, a Simcoe Island property owner asked council to refund the $225.00 special Simcoe ferry charge added to his tax bill. He has no land access to his property, only by boat. “I wish I did, it would make my land twice as valuable,” he said. “But I don’t and my neighbour has gracefully declined land access to me.” Council agreed to the refund but a further request to build a small accessory building on the property was denied.
Council received the report of the WI Recycling and Waste Disposal Advisory committee presented by Councillor Doyle . The report includes recommendations for further recycling items, changes in fees etc. and is available for review at the W.I. Town Hal.
Howe Island will appoint a Social, Cutural , Recreational Committee and a Waste Management Committee. The Stone Heron Gallery will open at the WI. Community Hall June 23-Sept.3rd.
Next Council meeting - Howe Island, June 11th , 6:30 p.m.
Wolfe Island resident, Janet White believes she was misquoted in an article about the W.I. Wind Plant written (by me). Correction: “For 6 years, 3 companies have knocked on our door and we have said no. No means no. In this day and age of zero tolerance I feel I have been bullied by this council and by these companies with there ‘done deal’ attitude. Jim, if you didn’t follow procedure, rescind the bylaw. If you don’t do that, then that is anarchy.”
Around Town: *The Environmental Review Report (ERR) / Environmental Impact Statement (“EA”) for the proposed Wolfe Island wind plant is NOW available in DRAFT form for review on the Project’s website (www.wolfeislandwind.com) with hard copies at the WI. Town Hall & Library, Kingston City Hall & libraries, Cape Vincent, etc.) Send comments to Stantec on or before 4:30 p.m. on June 29, 2007. *It’s picture taking time for 2007 Wolfe Island Photo Contest (watch for details).
Canadian Renewable Energy Corporation (“CREC”), a wholly owned subsidiary of Canadian Hydro Developers, Inc., is proposing to develop a wind plant on Wolfe Island, in the Township of Frontenac Islands, near Kingston, Ontario.
As proposed, the Wolfe Island Wind Project will consist of 86 wind turbines, strategically placed throughout the western portion of Wolfe Island, and will have a nameplate capacity of approximately 198 megawatts. Key ancillary features on Wolfe Island and City of Kingston include access roads, transformer station, operations and maintenance building, interconnection at Hydro One’s Gardiners Transformer Station, and collector and transmission power lines.
CREC has retained Stantec Consulting Ltd. (“Stantec”) to complete the Environmental Screening Process (“ESP”) for a Category B project, as required under Ontario Regulation 116/01 of the Environmental Assessment Act (http://www.ene.gov.on.ca/envision/gp/4021e.pdf). CREC and Stantec are also in the process of working with federal authorities to ensure the project fulfills applicable federal permits and approvals as well as the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.
The purpose of this Notice is to inform you that the harmonized Environmental Review Report / Environmental Impact Statement (“EA”) is now available in DRAFT form for stakeholder review and comment. Stakeholder comments on the DRAFT EA will be received by Stantec on or before 4:30 p.m. on 29 June 2007. The DRAFT EA is available for public viewing on the Project’s web site (www.wolfeislandwind.com) and for hard copy viewing at the following locations:
Township of Frontenac Islands Office
Highway 96, Wolfe Island
Kingston Frontenac Public Library, Wolfe Island Branch
10 Highway 95, Wolfe Island
City of Kingston, City Hall, Clerk’s Office
216 Ontario Street, Kingston
Kingston Frontenac Public Library, Central Branch
130 Johnston Street, Kingston
Kingston Frontenac Public Library, Isabel Turner Branch
935 Gardiners Road, Kingston
MP Peter Milliken Constituency Office
Suite 14, The LaSalle Mews, 303 Bagot Street, Kingston
Village of Cape Vincent Municipal Office
127 E. Joseph Street, Cape Vincent, New York
Although not required by the ESP, CREC is providing the DRAFT EA for public and agency review in recognition of the high level of community interest in this renewable energy initiative. This approach provides stakeholders with the benefit of an additional four weeks of consultation on the EA, beyond the formal ESP requirements, and continues to demonstrate CREC’s commitment to undertaking a rigorous and transparent ESP. CREC is working hard to ensure responsible wind development is brought to Wolfe Island and to address the interests of all stakeholders and the community.
Comments received from stakeholders will be addressed in the EA as appropriate. However, individual letter responses to stakeholder comments are not planned. Following the DRAFT EA review and comment period, CREC will release the FINAL EA to all stakeholders for the formal 30 day Notice of Completion review and comment period required by the ESP.
To provide the study team with your comments, or for further information, please visit us at www.wolfeislandwind.com. All comments and correspondence should be sent to:
Stantec Consulting Ltd.
361 Southgate Drive
Information will be collected and used in accordance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, and solely for the purpose of assisting CREC in meeting environmental assessment and local planning requirements. This material will be maintained on file for use during the studies and may be included in project documentation. All comments will become part of the public record.