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.

August 28, 2007
An Ice Rink or Arena for Wolfe Island ? Frontenac Islands Tackles the Question

A first order of business at the August meeting of Frontenac Islands Council was the presentation of a framed photo to Deputy Mayor Pat Norris by Mayor Vanden Hoek. The photo was taken at the 2006 Ontario East Municipal Conference during a presentation where Norris was recognized for his over 25 years of service on municipal council.


A long time dream held by Wolfe Island’s Community Centre Board is for an outdoor rink with refrigerated ice. They have even bigger dreams for the future development for a covered rink and community facilities. CCB Chairman Dan Hulton and Board members Scott Hulton, Steve Fargo and Bill Joy presented a case for proceeding based on a report (requested by council) prepared by Thompson Construction Management Services as well as a financial summary prepared by Allan & Partners Inc. of Community Centre Options (basic refrigerated ice rink; enclosed refrigerated ice and refrigerated ice with Community Centre). The estimated costs range from $1.7. to $4. million plus GST.

“After discussion we are not in a position to do the whole project but we have to do something,” Hulton said “Our thought is to determine architectural and engineering requirements for a 180’x 80’ refrigerated rink with boards (also for summer use), getting solid costs and holding a public meeting.” The CCB has the funding for the study, an offer for free architectural work and the engineering component at cost and want to proceed now. They will be looking for further direction from council later.

“If they (CCB) are out fund raising we have to be clear about the project. I haven’t heard this council say to what extent they would go, a million dollar rink or a 4 million. “If you are asking me to go ahead and spend $8000. I’d rather have the debate and the acrimony now but council has to find a way of dealing with the issue,” the mayor said.

Hulton said the $8000 would be for determining the hard costs on the rink surface, the boards and the roof . “We want to pour a slab with curbs lines for freezing,” Bill Joy said. (refrigeration equipment from Queen’s could reduce cost. ) “We’re talking about doing the project in phases, and doing the roof later,” Steve Fargo commented.

The mayor wondered if there was anything in the criteria for niche tourism and a multiuse facility to which Fargo commented that the roof could be designed to accommodate the music festival and perhaps collapsible. In the end council authorized the Wolfe Island Community Centre Board to spend up to $8,000. for architectural drawings and engineering for a 80’x180’ outdoor rink as a first step.

In other business Howe Island residents Carl & Heather Lippert asked council to remove the restricted hours for heavy trucks now in place on the Howe Island ferry. Carl Lippert said the restrictions hindered his business, that he had notified the County and received no response. ”It’s up to you,” he said, and asked why a car and boat can load while their empty truck cannot. A lively discussion ensued. Deputy Mayor Norris remains against any change to the bylaw while Councillor Fiene wanted a compromise, better ferry loading. ”there is a bigger problem here, it’s not that simple,” he said. The ferry has been a bone of contention in the community for some time, running very slow, difficult to load etc.

Council will recommend to Frontenac County that travel restrictions on the ferry be amended to allow tandem axle trucks access to the ferry with ‘gross weight limited’ allowing the ferry to be filled with other vehicles during all hours of operation. In a recorded vote there were 2 nays and 3 yeas. The yeas have it in spite of opposition from the Howe Island Rate Payers Association. Their letter will be posted.

Another citizen concern came under scrutiny, not for the first time when Wolfe Island resident Trevor Van Allen again asked council to take over Emma and Elizabeth Streets in the Woodman subdivision. He maintains there is a provision in the subdivision agreement allowing the township to do the work to bring the roads up to standard and charging the Woodman’s whom he says failed to fulfill the agreement. Van Allen said the existing roads are not up to standard and drainage ditches are bad but that Dave Woodman views them as satisfactory. “I have tried a number of avenues to sort this out. Its not happening and 20 years is too long,” Van Allen said.

According to the mayor the township has tried to determine responsibility for the road, and solicitor information indicates no further obligation on its part suggesting instead that those who purchased the land should have sued the developer. “There was a plan of subdivision way back,” he said. “And if the roads were brought up to a certain standard the municipality had the obligation to provide service. That was not done. We stand by this position.”
Van Allen suggested it was time for the township to right a wrong, to bring the roads up to standard and bill the developer. The mayor countered saying previous requests have been denied, and all legal planning issues have been exhausted. “It really is a political decision whether the municipality wants to pursue this.” Council members requested more information. Van Allen’s request is deferred to the next meeting.

A resolution passed in July concerning use of municipal equipment was revisited. It now says that at the Road Superintendent’s discretion, road equipment and operator can be hired at current market prices, but there must be a completed township work order with rates charged when the equipment goes out.

Canadian Hydro Developers is seeking a temporary facility Oct.-May. Council agreed that they can rent the Information Centre and that a lease , (at the going square foot rate and including utility costs.) be prepared by the township for signing.

*Question regarding use by Howe Island Rate Payers of new Fire Hall deferred.
*Councillor Grant proposes camera at the recycling center.
*Road Superintendent will inspect ditch problems on Howe Island Drive.
*There is legal recourse through the building code act regarding a house built without a permit on Howe.
*A current TS Hubicki Associates letter will go to land owners affected by the 500 meter influence area from the Wolfe Island landfill site outlining D-4 Study requirements.
Next Council Meeting Sept. 10th, 6:30 pm. Wolfe Island.
Coming events listed at (Corn Maize in full swing, Plowing Match, Bicycle Poker Run etc.)

Posted by Margaret Knott at 08:29 AM
August 13, 2007
Eric Wright Recipient of 2007 Scene of the Crime Grant Allen Award

Wolfe Island: Canadian Crime writer and teacher Eric Wright was presented with the 4th annual Grant Allen Award in honour of Canada’s crime writing pioneer, at the 6th annual Scene of the Crime Festival on Wolfe Island. (Grant Allen born on Wolfe Island in 1848, is recognized as Canada’s first crime writer.)

Wright who arrived in Canada in 1951 from England (his birthplace) started out in Churchill , Manitoba where he was ‘Canadianized’. He graduated from the University of Manitoba, pursued graduate studies at the University of Toronto, and taught Enlish at Ryerson (1958-89). The recipient of many writing achievement awards, he is the author of Death in the Old Country; The Night the Gods Smiled (twice optioned for TV0); The Kidnapping of Rosie Dawn as well as short stories and his early life memoir Always Give a Penny to a Blind Man. The Grant Allen award created by local artist Linda Sutherland takes the form of a uniquely designed kaleidoscope. In this case it contains 10 shards of glass representing Wright’s children was presented by Festival Board member Rev. Canon Chris Carr.

During a lively interview conducted by Therese Greenwood, author and Festival Founder, Wright said “when it comes to the Governor General's Literary Awards I think that overlooking the serious and really important novels that come under the heading of crime literature is a disgrace.” He commented that it is recognized in other places. “It has got to happen here.”

Island librarian Sharon Hogan accepted the annual donation of books from this year’s guest authors including Giles Blunt, Peter Clement, Lyn Hamilton; Edward Hoch, Maureen Jennings; Vicki Cameron. The library has a cabinet built to house and display selected works from the Grant Allen collection, including a first edition, donated by literary historian David Skene-Melvin.

The guest speaker at the closing church supper (hosted by the Women's Guild of Trinty Anglican Church) was Rev. Rod Carter who spoke about Restorative Justice.

For more information on Grant Allen & Scene of the Crime Festival:

The Scene of the Crime Festival was just one of the many well attended events on Wolfe Island the same weekend including the Music Festival, the Acacia Gold Puppy Reunion, and a local Horse Show.


Posted by Margaret Knott at 01:36 PM
Wind Power Not the Only Issue for Frontenac Islands

While Wind Power has had a way of taking up much of the agenda at Frontenac Islands council meetings many other important issues have been dealt with including the 2007 budget. It was passed at a special meeting on June 27th. and resulted in an overall tax rate increase of 4.06% on Wolfe Island and a 3.46% increase on Howe Island. At the same meeting new criteria (regulations, fee schedule, hours of operation, etc.) was approved for the recycling depot on Howe Island and the Wolfe Island Recycling Centre.

A resolution was carried that township equipment is not to be available for use or used on private lands unless authorized in the case of an emergency. (However this will come back to council in August for further discussion). Transient fares on the Simcoe Island ferry are increased, a round trip to $5.00 per car and $12.00 per large truck. And finally, a bylaw was passed to designate ‘a Head of the Municipality’ for purposes of the Municipal Freedom of Information & Protection of Privacy Act.

During an informal discussion during budget deliberations, Mayor Vanden Hoek spoke of the wind plant amenities agreement and how those revenues might be dispersed between the two island wards, Howe and Wolfe. He said the subject often comes up and is a political hot potato, “but how those future revenues are dealt with is a council decision.”(Wolfe Islanders believe all wind power revenues should remain on Wolfe Island).

I put the question to my husband, Walter a retired C.A., who looked over the budget and concluded that it makes little difference if the anticipated annual $645,000 from the Wind Plant went into general revenues or was distributed through area rating. This assumed that area rating was applied, or not applied, to both revenues and expenses. In either case he figured Wolfe Island became the major beneficiary due to the differing levels of costs between the islands, e.g. roads.

The regular July council meeting included the citizen presentations regarding the Wolfe Island Wind Plant reported in The Heritage, formal bylaw passage of the 2007 Budget, Simcoe Island transient fares and criteria changes to Wolfe Island’s landfill site which now includes a financial control protocol (mandatory receipts for all disposal site fees to be paid before off loading items); changes to hours of operation; non acceptance of construction materials, other than asphalt shingles.

Ms. Lisa Webb presented recommendations from the Howe Island Waste Management committee “We have come up with a two pronged approach,” she said. “One aspect deals with current waste problems including improper use of the facility. The other involves waste reduction which means education.” She noted improper dumping at the site, and elsewhere, particularly of large items and the need for more frequent pick ups (mattresses, etc.), new signage, also for Kimco & recycling bins, a yard waste site with a chipping program and free mulch distribution, disposal bins at the ferries and elsewhere, units for bottles, cans, waste. Long term goals include fencing, staffing more hours, site re-organization and no dumping signs. “We are asking to be involved in Canada’s Waste Reduction week in October and some financial assistance with for instance, yard waste controls.” Councillor Fiene is a member of the committee.

In other business Simcoe Island resident Carol Leonard’s recent letter to council once again requested that all of 9 Mile Point Road (Simcoe Ferry to Lighthouse) be fully reinstated as an Improved Public Street. Only the last 1.2 kilometres of the 6 kilometre road was demoted to a Limited Service Street making that portion ineligible for 4-season service. She bases her request on 2003 map showing 9 Mile Point Road as an Improved Public Street. Councillor Doyle felt she is owed an explanation. The Mayor polled council and it was the consensus (3 to 2) that no action be taken.

There was a request for the Women’s Institute flag to fly at the township building or have a banner inside. Conclusion: an inside banner was the better approach.

Larry Bolton and Jarda Zborovsky were present to hear whether there is a way of dealing with Interim Control bylaw which controls development in the 500 metre waste disposal assessment area and includes the Zboroskvky building lot and what planner Glen Tunnock Consulting Ltd. and Totten Simms Hubicki’s Guy Laporte had to say. Councillor Doyle said that both suggested the process (a release mechanism) could be simple. “Under the circumstances maybe we should pay for it. “The Mayor however said that an (engineer driven) peer review is required. The applicant Zborovsky is not eager to pay an independent engineer what could be $5000 or much more depending on the criteria. Guy Laporte will be asked to quickly prepare criteria for the peer review and pass it on to the applicant who said “we’ll talk about who pays later.”

Councillor Grant would like to have a public assessment meeting. The Mayor wants the Bylaw Enforcement Officer over as often as necessary to deal with parking violations. Council dealt with a Howe Island land sale/ acquisition, In Camera.

Since then Island (ers) received a township newsletter with their tax bill outlining island issues, for instance the completion of a new Fire Hall on Howe, bylaw enforcement, dog tags, building permits, the updating of the website, culture, recreation and parking as well as a separate sheet outlining changes at the landfill site on Wolfe Island, (also on web site). It also spoke of the recent OMB hearing which concluded after 3 days with a settlement (also on the web) including modifications to the Zoning Bylaw.

Around Town: Two plowing organizations, Frontenac County & Wolfe Island will hold their annual matches together on Wolfe Island, Friday & Saturday Sept. 14 & 15 at Pykeview Meadows Farm on Road #95. Plowing matches provide opportunities for fun in competition, the best judges to decide winners and excitement for the spectator.

New this year, organizers are planning an “Open Market Place,” at the event, a venue for anyone who wants to set up a table to Sell, Show or Demonstrate items such as produce, arts, crafts, garage sale items, books etc. No setup cost. What a great opportunity. For further information contact Wilma Sjonger at 613-385-2672 or

*For your information the wonderful Wolfe Island Corn Maze also on Road #95 is in full swing. For info call: (613) 385-1998.

Posted by Margaret Knott at 11:23 AM