by Linda Thomas
GRANTS AND PROJECTS
Bicycle Map Project
With funding received from the Frontenac Community Futures Development
Corporation, FCFDC we were able to redesign our ever-popular Bicycle Map.
The main reason for the redesign was to ad the route to Big Sandy Bay. FCFDC
provided funds to pay for a graphic artist for the map design and to purchase
software which will enable us to produce, in-house the brochure, map and
many other of our publications. The grant also provided for tutorials for Linda
Thomas, and Margaret Knott on the use of the software, purchase of manuals,
and additional metal cut-outs and arrows for the Big Sandy Bay route which
were produced by Metalcraft Marine.
Growing Up on Wolfe Island
This collection of stories has been in the works since the summer of 2004. The
FCFDC again came through for us with funding that allowed us to complete the
editing and formatting of the book. The Davies Charitable Foundation has
given us a grant to cover publishing. This has been a monumental effort on the
part of the WIBTA/WI Women’s Institute Heritage Committee – we look forward
to seeing our finished product very soon.
We are all in awe of the talent and generosity expressed in the donation of the
Heritage Mural project to the community by Island artists, Patricia Sanford,
Linda Sutherland, and Kim Woodman.
Frontenac Community Futures Development Corportion, FCFDC contributed,
through a Local Initiatives Grant, $4,500 of the $5,008 spent this year to
purchase supplies for the next three murals.
Plaques for Murals
The Community Foundation of Greater Kingston, CFGK has provided $2,100
to enable us to provide cast plaques for each of the first 3 murals – the Ferry
Dock in 1907 – Grant Allan – Canada’s First Crime Writer, and the Installation of the Bubble System.
Friends of Big Sandy Bay – Cabinet for the Gatehouse
WIBTA has partnered with Friends of Big Sandy Bay in a grant from CFGK to
build a display cabinet for the side of the gate house at Big Sandy Bay. It will
house site information as well as a map of the management area. Our
contribution was $200.00
Wolfe Island Classic Road Race and the Early Years’ Kiddie Kilometre
The 2007 race took place on July 1st. Our numbers were down a bit from the 2006 record of 503 participants to just under 400. We knew this would be the case as there are so many competing events on July 1st - the Kingston Road Runners Limestone Mile being the main one so we didn’t have a lot of those
participants who had been in the race the year before. In recognition of our loyal and hard-working volunteers we this year provided T-shirts and Caps.
The 2008 race will be held on July 6th and we expect numbers to be back to the 2006 figure.
The Early Year’s Kiddie Kilometre race adds a lot to our event. Through the generosity of Running Room we are able to give each child taking part a medal – they are all winners - and it is a blast to see them giving their all
into getting to the finish line. The Early Year’s staff with some volunteer
assistance has also been providing entertainment for the children at the end of
the race at the Community Centre – face painting and we are still getting great
value out of the kite kits that were provided by CREC a couple of years ago.
Bicycle Poker Runs
We held two poker runs this year – one in May, and a second in October. We
did not have as many participants as we had hoped but those who did come
were enthusiastic and if we decide to repeat it in 2008 the event should grow.
The Garden Tour
The garden tour wasn’t held this year – the main reason for this being a lack of
gardens. It has been done for 3 years the first year covering the head, the
second the foot, and the third the centre of the Island. We may revive it in a
little different format.
Small Business Week Mixer
The General Wolfe was the scene of our Business Mixer in September. A
number of local agencies were represented and it was an excellent opportunity
to network with these people. Dianna Bratina from Frontenac County, Ann
Pritchard and Jennifer Curtis from the FCFDC, Diane Kelly from the CFGK and
Brian Ritchie from OMAFRA were in attendance.
The Photo Contest
After a one year rest the ever popular Photo Contest was back this year. With
assistance from Maureen Lollar and the the W.I. Women’s Institute the awards
were given out in conjunction with PumpkinFest.
Redo of the brochure
This year the Business Brochure was redone and simplified. The response to
the brochure has been good. We produced 20,000 brochures at a cost of
After Wolfe Island, the next largest distribution centre is the Tourist Information
Centres in Kingston – both at Confederation Basin and at Fort Henry. They are
distributed to Gananoque, Brockville, Prescott, Belleville etc. – and to the Bed
and Breakfasts and Hotels in Kingston. We send large quantities to Cape
Vincent Chamber of Commerce, as well as Chambers in Alex Bay, Sackets
Harbour, Clayton, the 1,000 Island Bridge and the youth Hostel at Tibbets Point
Light House. The Bicycle Maps are also sent to appropriate points. Crew on the
Wolfe Islander III and Horne’s ferry also hand out lots of brochures.
The Tourist Information Centre
The season ran very smoothly this year under the management of Betty Doyle
and Linda Bruckmann. We are so lucky to have our great staff of volunteers to
cover so much of the open time of the centre. Mary Broeders picked up some
of the slack in the info centre and helped out with administrative jobs.
Betty and Linda are moving on after having filled this really important function
for two seasons.
1000 Islands International Tourism Council’s Hospitality Expo
In past years Wolfe Island has had representation at the 1000 Islands
International Tourism Council’s Hospitality Expo held in June at Boldt Castle.
This year it was held on June 6th. The Island was represented by Mary Broeders, WIBTA Summer Student, and Denis Doyle, who was also representing the Big Sandy Bay Stewardship Committee. This is a great opportunity to meet and be met by members of other Chambers of Commerce-type organizations, as well as other members of the tourism industry on both sides of the border. It is also a good value – the cost being only $30 which includes a lunch for those manning the booths.
Fort Henry Hospitality Expo
On the Victoria Day weekend Fort Henry also hosted a Hospitality Expo – our
team of Mary and Denis again represented us well to those who attended.
KEDCO Tourism Advisory Committee
We have maintained a membership in KEDCO. President Pat Sanford has been a member of the KEDCO Tourism Advisory Committee for the past 2 years –
bringing Wolfe Island to the attention of area Tourism planners.
Land O’Lakes Membership
We have maintained a membership in Land O’ Lakes Tourism association. Wolfe
Island is now included on the Land O’Lakes Vacation Region Map, with an ad, as
well as a write-up in the Rural Adventures Guide. It also affords the
opportunity of distribution of maps, lure brochures and guidebooks at various
trade shows and at Tourist Information Booths across the province!
Margaret has faithfully kept us up to date again this year!! Many thanks to her
for that. This year she has also made sure that Island events are listed on the
Whig-Standard’s UR Kingston Community events website. This, along with the
Calendar of Events continues to be a great asset for all Island groups.
Three ads were placed on the Community & District Marketplace page of the
Whig-Standard. There was a general “Visit Wolfe Island” that ran for 3
weekends in August, the second one running in September that outlined
upcoming Island Events and the third advertising the Art and Craft sale in late
November. This seems to be a good “bang for the buck” source of advertising
which we will continue to use.
Calendar of Events
Margaret is in the process of collecting information for the 2008 Calendar –
please pass the word around so that it can be as complete as possible.
The December meeting of Frontenac Islands council, the last for the year 2007, held a few surprises that with the busy season of Christmas and the holidays might have been missed by readers, in an earlier report. One was the direct reference to the question of sewer and water in Marysville. Mayor Vanden Hoek said the issue of water must become part of the future game plan for Wolfe Island and that an Environmental Assessment for that purpose must be considered sooner than later in budget talks. “It will be a contentious issue but we have to move on with it. It will never just go away,” he said. (Heritage Dec.18th) Add to that the discussion that took place at the same meeting regarding ferry transportation, and 2008 looms BIG for Frontenac Islands.
Regarding ferry transportation, it was noted that the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) is proposing to undertake a new study of the ferry service between Wolfe Island and the mainland “to determine appropriate capacity improvements for Wolfe Island access.” Included as part of the December meeting’s agenda package was a report commissioned by the township to fulfill a request made by MTO that Frontenac Islands identify some of the main issues caused by the current level of ferry service for the residents of Wolfe Island. The document, written by Brian Donaldson, developed as a result of a series of meetings with council and staff, etc., is considered a first step in developing a clearer understanding of the key problems to be addressed by the proposed MTO study and outlines environmental, medical, social, cultural and educational issues as well as employment, economic and business concerns.
”In the 10 years that I have been on council we have not been able to advance the municipal initiative regarding ferry service,” Mayor Vanden Hoek said. “The main driver of the issue is the Wolfe Island service and with this report there is now a creeping initial action to start a Transportation Environmental Assessment, which will also include Howe island.” Deputy Mayor Norris however felt that Howe Island did not receive enough concern in the report.
The mayor noted that MTO has been informed by the township that within an EA one option (a bridge) would impact both islands and that in their overall planning they, (MTO) need to give consideration to a municipal link connecting the two islands. The Township has a commitment from MTO that the EA will begin in 2008 but according to the mayor, his experience with EA’s tells him that it will be a long, slow, and painstaking process followed then by an attempt to find the money required for the preferred solution. “I don’t think we should mislead ourselves or create the impression that there is a short term solution (by any definition) to the Wolfe Island problem.” Relative to the problems facing the Howe Island County ferry, Vanden Hoek commented there are maintenance and repair solutions that are ongoing and can be resolved.
In other business:
1. Because CKLC –FM will replace 4 existing Am towers on Concession 9, Wolfe Island and have a rental agreement for space on the tower with Kingston on Line Service (KOS) who will contract to provide internet service to the islands, the township declined the funding from Community Futures Development Corporation to build communication towers and proposed its use instead in another municipality without broadband.
2. The township will purchase a snow plough/sander to be financed in the 2008 budget.
3. The township will contract with Limestone Marine for the repair of the Simcoe Island ferry dock at a total cost of $ 44, 320.00. 4.Council wants an extra 4:45 am ferry trip from Wolfe Island without any changes to the present schedule. To accommodate a 4:45 am trip, MTO suggested changes to the schedule in order to keep it expense neutral.
5.Once certain information is obtained from the Township Solicitor, Howe Island residents, Gene Manion, Frank Vellone and Jack French will be invited to meet with council to discuss drainage problems affecting their residential properties.
A Word of Thanks: Darryl Mullin on behalf of all crew members of the Wolfe Islander III extends heartfelt thanks to Wolfe Island’s travelling public, friends and neighbours for the many wonderful treats and gifts that arrived on the ferry for them during the Christmas Season. Your thoughtfulness was most appreciated. The staff and crew of the Wolfe Islander extend best wishes to all for a Happy New Year 2008.
An Afterthought: The City of Kingston recently celebrated the 10th anniversary of its amalgamation with Pittsburgh & Kingston Townships. Before that however, the townships of Wolfe, and Howe Islands and Pittsburgh were talking about amalgamation with Wolfe Island at one end and Howe at the other. Another scenario was that rural Pittsburgh Township amalgamate with the island townships and only urban Pittsburgh join Kingston. In the end however, both rural and urban Pittsburgh Township determined they were best to stay together and take their chances with Kingston, leaving the islands out there to dry.
Neither Pittsburgh nor Kingston for that matter wanted to take responsibility for any of the ferries and in particular, the Wolfe Island ferry. That left the island reeves of the day, Jan Hasselaar and Pat Norris to determine what to do next. Their decision was to join forces, though separated by two ferry rides and 11 km to become Frontenac Islands, the smallest municipality in Ontario, a left over structure without a clear reason for amalgamating. Perhaps it might have worked to the advantage of both islands, that is until the downloading of highways and services by the province, including the threat of downloading the Wolfe Island Ferry to Frontenac Islands.
Both islands have history, fringe development and ferries, but Wolfe Island has unique issues with its business community, wind power development and Marysville. Does amalgamation really exist other that at the council level, filling out a tax bill, sharing staff and equipment? How much of what happens is area rated? Do Howe or Wolfe Islanders say they come from Frontenac Islands? Is there an alternative? Should there be a bridge between the two communities? Would a bridge create “One Community”? The islands have all the problems of a big city and a population of 1600. Makes you wonder!
It is customary at this time of year to wish friends and neighbours a Happy New Year and at the same time to take a look back at the events of the past year.
So with that in mind I begin this column about Frontenac Islands with the Best of Wishes to ALL for a Happy “GREEN” New Year 2008 and reminder that “Going Green” is now on the Radar Screen for Canada, Ontario, the Township of Frontenac Islands and in particular for Wolfe Island where the Environmental Screening Review Report for the Canadian Hydro Developers (CREC) Wind Plant is now under scrutiny by the public for any fine tuning that may be required before the project can begin. The Wolfe Island Wind Project has a capacity of 197.8 MW, and will generate an estimated 537,000 MWh per year of renewable energy.
One need only go to the Wolfe Island Business & Tourism website at www.wolfeisland.com to find columns available (with the permission of The Heritage) from 2003 to now about the evolution of the first proposals for wind farms on Wolfe Island by different companies, to the present proposal by Canadian Hydro for 86 wind turbines to get a sense of what has brought us to NOW.
Those columns also provide an abbreviated history of what’s been happening on Howe and Wolfe islands over the past year regarding the municipal affairs of Frontenac Islands as well as stories about events and happenings on both islands.
The November 2006 Municipal election saw a new (4-year term) council elected for Frontenac Islands with Wolfe Island’s Jim Vanden Hoek beginning a third term as mayor. (He is also the warden of Frontenac County.)
The primary issue for both islands is the same- ferry service. In the case of Howe Island, problems with the new county ferry began shortly after its inauguration resulting in delays, shut-downs, long waiting periods, extreme resident frustration and a ferry that operates at a slower speed than the one it replaced. Add to that, a long waiting period for parts to keep the (Howe) Township ferry in service. Of course the very low water level this year is causing a degree of difficulty at the docking facilities.
Good things have happening on Howe including the opening of the new Fire Hall and the community’s financial campaign to help pay for it, the work of the island’s Garden Buds to beautify the island, the involvement and the ongoing development of the Howe Island Residents Association including their web site, bulletin boards, flyers etc. all done to provide better communication for the residents.
On Wolfe Island there have been requests for increased ferry service to meet the needs of a community that increasingly travels to Kingston for the major portion of its needs, hospital, health, education, commercial, retail and WORK. While not a bedroom community per se, many more young families are choosing island living and the closely knit community of Marysville and nearby as their home but work in Kingston. Their enthusiasm has generated new community groups, activities and events that enhance community spirit as well as tourism. They join established groups like Wolfe Island Business & Tourism and Wild Life Associations, the Community Centre Board, the Friends of Big Sandy Bay etc.
All of which puts an added strain on the ferry. The ferry is overfull for the early morning and evening commutes to and from the city. The ferry generally leaves cars from May to October. The many island events and activities, (art, music, suppers, races, festivals, golf, Corn Maze, Big Sandy Bay) draw people to the island, to Horne’s ferry and the USA. Yet tourism is important to Wolfe Island. (Residents are now raising concerns about the extra use of the ferry that the Wind Plant might generate.) Parking in the village is a problem. Parking at the winter dock is also a problem. Low water levels this year are a problem at times, not only for the Wolfe Islander but for the Simcoe Island ferry as well.
But what happens with the Wolfe Islander III ferry transportation system rests in the hands of the Ontario Ministry of Transportation. Following a number of meetings with council, MTO is presently establishing the criteria for a Transportation Environmental Assessment (including Howe Island). So there you have it.
Makes you wonder What “Going Green” in 2008 will mean for us? After we have done the light bulb thing, and do better recycling, reduced our water consumption, no longer use pesticides that can drain into the water, figure out what to feed livestock that reduces the methane produced by them, grow food on our agricultural land, plant trees everywhere else and don’t succumb to growing crops for fuel instead of food, consider solar panels for our homes, built our wind plant, and undertake a host of other environmentally sound initiatives, what then?
Will the travelling public turn off their vehicles on the ferry, step out of their cars winter and summer, turn off the heat and the air conditioners, with no more idling in the line up? Will the size and age of cars and trucks be recognized as an issue? Will “Park & Ride the Ferry” on a shorter ferry route with public transit on the other side, make more sense now, when its all about reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere? Global warming is for real. Are we ready to bite the bullet? Pay the price ? Walk the Walk in the New Year 2008?
Around Town: Euchre has resumed at the United Church and St. Margaret’s Hall. The snow has melted away, hopefully replenishing what was very dry land. The water level is now at chart datum, a rise of a couple of inches. The Wolfe Islander is maintaining the regular ferry schedule without a glitch. However, one situation on the ferry that bears mentioning is the number of serious medical mishaps that have resulted when pedestrians making their way to the cabins, have tripped over trailer hitches that have not been removed or covered with ‘bright glow in the dark’ material like a tennis ball for instance, and have fallen, or deeply cut and bruised their legs. With the cars packed so tightly, ice on the deck, and the days at their darkest this time of year, every assistance is required to make travel safe for the walking public. Please Help.