Mayor Jim Vanden Hoek speaking in his capacity as Warden of Frontenac County presented his personal plan for economic development for the Frontenacs at the regular February meeting of Frontenac Islands council. It calls for the establishment of a Frontenac Development Fund administered by the county and focusing on creating cultural, community, and financial wealth in the Frontenacs. Vanden Hoek believes the success of individual communities is directly tied to the successes of the region. The plan had a first hearing at his inaugural meeting as County Warden. (Available at www.frontenaccounty.ca )
In addressing council the Mayor commented on the change to 4 single level townships, North, South, Central & Frontenac Islands, not tied together and a very thin County level responsible for Fairmount Home, Ambulance Service and the Howe Island ferry. He spoke of the changes brought about by amalgamation and the downloading of services to the townships, user pay and area rating. He noted that Kingston, while not interested in the islands now, they probably will be in the future. He suggested some changes that could be made for the Frontenacs to achieve success.
Vanden Hoek sees a need for economic development at the county level including an overall county policy but he informed council that at this time there is no appetite for change in the other townships. He has been looking for feedback and will present an amended version of his plan to the Joint Councils (Sharbot Lake, Feb.20th) including a request for a collective commitment to a Frontenac Development Fund administered by the County.
Chief Mike Quinn was present to discuss the development of Municipal Policy regarding the usage of public buildings, specifically the use of the new Howe Island Fire & Rescue Building by outside organizations. Quinn pointed out that there was a misconception that the new facility had a “ Public Meeting Space” which is not the case. He also noted that a letter which served as the kick start component for fund raising, signed by both the Mayor and Deputy Mayor, described the new facility as the Emergency Services Building and nothing more. Quinn recommended that the Township not open the Fire & Rescue facility to outside organizations. Council accepted Chief Quinn’s report and adopted his recommendation. The facility can be used for municipal meetings as well as events specifically organized for and supervised by the Fire& Rescue Service.
A piece of land on Howe Island discussed “in camera” at last month’s meeting has (by resolution) been declared surplus ( part of Lot 5, North Range) and will appraised. If sold in the future, the money received would be placed in a Parkland Reserve Fund account for future use. Councillor Fiene was not happy with any decision to sell because the property in question is waterfront property. Council will review the situation at the April Council meeting on Howe Island.
Manco Recycling Systems Inc. will take over recycling for the Howe Island Ward. A second bin will be rented for paper and cardboard. Glass will be collected and disposed of by the Township.
The Township considered the proposals/quotes submitted for the Official Plan Review scheduled for 2008 and have agreed that Tunnock Consulting Ltd. be hired to carry out the review at a cost of $10,000. Some of the significant areas for review are agricultural and aggregate designations, green energy, private roads, Marysville, and transportation. Tunnock wants more input on aggregate and land use by owners. Public involvement in the process will happen during the summer monthsThe review is expected to take 9 months.
Council accepted the Frank Cowan Company 2008 municipal insurance proposal at a cost of $62,012.00 plus taxes. Regarding the automobile fleet insurance Deputy Mayor Norris wants replacement values on trucks covered when they buy a new one. Staff will ensure consistency for replacement and values and clarify the vehicle list.
The Township has petitioned the Ministry of Transportation for a 2007 subsidy for the Howe Island ($165,097.09) and the Simcoe Island ($184,146.18) ferries.
It has also requested an Ontario Infrastructure grant in the amount of $151,450.00 for a number of road projects. The township has the authority to move funds around between the two wards as required. With regard to committee appointments, Councillor Doyle has been appointed as a representative to the Frontenac County Trails Committeee, and member of the Wolfe Island Medical Clinic Board. Dep. Mayor Pat Norris has been named to the Howe Island Fire & Rescue Board and Councillor Grant to the W.I. Volunteer Fire Dept. Board. A committee to deal with the First Impression Program is being formed. A discussion about the appointment of citizens to Township committees will be reviewed at the March meeting on Wolfe Island.
In other business, council members were reminded of the first budget meeting to be held Feb. 28th at 10 am on Wolfe Island. Councillor Grant will refer a request for a new sander to that meeting. He also noted a sign review is underway. Councillor Doyle sees a need for a dispute resolution protocol with regard to the Wolfe Island Wind Plant and other island issues. Who will be responsible to resolve problems, deal with issues and answer questions as they arise once the project is in place and operational? Is another staff person required ? CAO O’Shea will check with Consultant Bob Clark for mechanisms beyond the amenities agreement. Mayor Vanden Hoek announced that the Township lawyer as well as the township planner will be at the March meeting.
And finally at the end of the meeting, a Howe Island resident questioned two Howe Island agenda items that had been dealt with, that of surplus land and the use of the Fire Hall noting that the timing of the agenda precluded residents who might have had an interest in the items from attending and commenting. It was suggested that a Notice of Motion be published in advance to allow for public input. Council meets on Wolfe Island Monday March 10th at 6:30 pm.
Around Town: *WIBTA will be requesting that the Township develop standards for signage on the island.
*The Friends of Big Sandy Bay Annual General Meeting Wed. Feb. 27th 6:45 pm, WI United Church Hall features a Presentation on Monarch Butterfly Migration by Dr. Barrie Frost, Queen’s University. All Welcome.
*World Day of Prayer, W I United Church 1 pm. March 7th
* Seniors Lunch, March 15th 12 pm St. Margaret’s Hall.
Wolfe Islanders and many friends came in large numbers to support the benefit for Jitka Virag, a former resident of the island who was left paralysed by a hit and run accident when she was bicycling near her home in Greenwood, N.C. The event organized by friends, Lori Woodman and Mandy Clark raised more than $10,000 for the “Jitka Virag Recovery Fund” to help cover hospital, home and family expenses for Jitka, who is now a paraplegic.
And what an evening it was. There were over 200 individual donations of time, goods or money before the doors opened . But perhaps it was the entertainment organized by Sherry Zborovsky during the silent auction that was the highlight of the evening. Sherry, herself a wonderfully versatile vocalist belted out a number of popular melodies accompanied by the island’s very talented Robert Graham. Much other local talent included Pat Barber and company (guitar and voice); Murray McNeely, (accordion); the Regiopolis Notre Dame brass band and Tammi Redpath, violinist. Finally Robert on piano key board sang a number of his own exciting compositions accompanied by drummer Pete Bowers, bass Bill Caskey and Corrie Summer, violin. The RWI band were on hand for the dance that ended the evening. Vincent Mosier (RWI) provided the sound system.
Jitka Virag moved to Wolfe Island with her brother Kalid and parents, Mustafa and Eliska Ismail as a teenager. She worked for her grandparents, the late Miro and Hanna Zborovosky at the General Wolfe Hotel throughout high school and university and over those years she made many friends. Further doctoral studies followed in the US where Jitka, a research scientist, is married to Jani and is the mother of two young children. Her parents own the General Wolfe Hotel. Read more: www.jitkavirag.com
Please take note that the January 30, 2008 Annual General Meeting of Friends of Big Sandy Bay was cancelled because of high winds and moving ice that put the Wolfe Islander out of service for a time. The meeting has been re-scheduled to Wed. Feb. 27th at 6:45 pm, Wolfe Island United Church Hall. It will include the presentation by Dr. Barrie Frost (Queen’s University) on Monarch Butterfly Migration.
And speaking of the weather, high winds pushed ice so hard up against the ferry that it actually tipped it to one side at the dock. Before the ferry went out of service for a time, high waves rocked the boat sending water across the deck and into the cabins. Quite a ride…. George Cardinal Pell, Archbishop of Sydney, Australia who had been visiting the island was on that trip.
The Wolfe Island Business & Tourism Association Elects new Executive: Linda Thomas was elected President of WBTA at the recent meeting of the organization. Linda brings to the task great administrative skills, grant writing prowess, and a wealth of creative business & tourism ideas. Mike Bromley, owner of Signs from Above is Vice President, Liz Crothers, secretary; Walter Knott, treasurer. Directors are Brian MacDonald, Dave Joy and Maryanne Walker. Linda extended thanks to outgoing president Pat Sanford, owner of Stone Heron Gallery, and director Jarda Zborovsky (PCNet Solutions). She also presented: 2007 A year in Review, outlining the year’s activities, available at www.wolfeisland.com
Anne Prichard, Executive Director Frontenac Community Futures Development Corporation outlined what FCFDC can offer the community in the way of business support, loan funds, business directory, workshops, etc. WI’s Liz Crothers is chair and Linda Van Hal Treasurer of FCFDC. www.frontenaccfdc.com
Special Guest Speaker Don Ross, from the Frontenac Arch Biosphere (designated in 2002), explained in his slide presentation that biosphere reserves are areas of terrestrial and coastal ecosystems. He said the Frontenac reserve is located between Brockville, Gananoque and Westport, encompasses many protected natural areas and is expanding to include all of South Frontenac Township.
The mission of the Arch is to facilitate co-operative action towards a more sustainable way of life and healthy communities. The Arch is currently developing a national model for the promotion and identification of sustainable tourism opportunities in partnership with the Ontario Ministry of Tourism and Recreation and is conducting a series of related workshops. For more visit: www.fabr.ca
Wolfe Island Wind Plant Update: An article in The Heritage (Feb.6), stated some island citizens remain concerned about the CREC (Can. Hydro Developers) W.I. Wind Plant as outlined in the Environmental Review Report. Counsel Peggy Smith (Eliot Smith) has submitted a request on behalf of Dr. James Day and Ms. Sarah McDermott , this time to the Director of Environmental Assessments and Approvals Branch that the ERR be elevated to an Individual EA. Their request including a number of reports was submitted in advance of the Jan 4th comment deadline period for the ERR.
Their position cites layout and siting of the Wind plant as not taking into account the potential negative impact on the island’s environmental resources particularly on wildlife habitat. They specifically identify the location of more than 5o towers of the proposed 86 as problematic. The Day/McDermott position was supported with a submission. by Mark Mattson, Lake Ontario Water Keepers. They believe not only that there is sufficient concern regarding the project to call on the Province for a ERR “bump up” to Individual EA, they are also seeking a Federal decision to elevate the project to a Panel Review (peer review) with no approval of the project at this time. While outlining their issues with the ERR and the ERR process, essentially the Requesters concerns remain the same, bird species, habitat and delay.
What happens now is that the Director of Environmental Assessments, Ms. Agatha Carcia-Wright must decide whether she agrees with the request for individual EA (bump up) as submitted, Or she does not agree with their opposition and views the ERR as adequate, comprehensive and dealing with all the issues and mitigations and meets the requirements of the environmental screening process. Canadian Hydro and the requesters are waiting for the Director’s decision ……and so we all continue to wait.
Around Town: The Scene of the Crime ( www.sceneofthecrime.ca) 2008 Short Story Contest opens Feb. 24th, the birthday of Grant Allen with a submission deadline of May 15th. The Contest is open to Canadian citizens or those resident in Canada and not previously published in the mystery or crime fiction genre. Previous 1st place winners are ineligible. Send submission as MSWord or RTF attachment by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Every Frontenac Islands Council meeting generates two or 3 interesting stories and many items of business important to the community. January’s meeting was no exception. A very frustrated Wolfe Island resident, Trevor Van Allen, left the meeting with essentially the same “NO” answer, he has received a number of times to his request that the Township assume responsibility for maintenance of Elizabeth Street and Emma Street in the Woodman subdivision, developed some 20 years ago. (The streets were to be developed to township standards by the developer, before a request could be made by the developer that they be assumed by the township, but the streets never were brought up to township standards.)
In his presentation Van Allen focussed on the words in the agreement specifically the phrase ‘the township engineer finding that the work is not progressing shall cause the work to be completed.’ “It is based on the word shall that I am standing here again. This work should have been completed by the Woodmans but it wasn’t. I am hopefully looking to council to correct this ongoing 20 year problem.” Van Allen said he spent $25,000 on a tractor and snowplough and extended his garage to accommodate the equipment and has paid many years of high taxes to the township.
Council members in general indicated some sympathy for the situation and specifically Van Allen but were quite unanimous in their belief that the township solicitor is correct when he maintains that the municipality can continue to refuse to assume the roads until the original subdivision requirements are fulfilled and, that the problem of upgrading the roads is between the Woodman’s and the residents. Councillor Doyle wants another look at the agreement. At Van Allen’s request, staff will determine if a surety specified in the Subdivision Agreement was received by the Township and if so, its current status.
In other business : Mayor Vanden Hoek welcomed members of the St. Lawrence and Wolfe Island branches of the Women’s Institute and received their banner representing 80 years of service, for display in the town hall. He acknowledged the importance of the Women’s Institute to the community recalling their response to a call for help to hold Country Fest. He said their dedication, records and support helped make it a success.
Linda Van Hal, on behalf of both branches, thanked council for displaying the banner. “The Women’s Institute is proud to be recognized for its years of service to the island.” she said, acknowledging the leadership of such capable women as Joan O’Shea,(50 year member), Ellie De Vette, Maureen Lollar, Theresa Broeders, Eleanor Taggart and Ruby White. St. Lawrence Institute 50 year members are Marette Fawcett, Connie Fawcett, Margaret Fawcett, Doreen Joslin, Audrey Mullins, Pearl Niles. “We are always looking for new ideas and welcome new members”, Val Hal said, adding that both groups work hard to maintain island history through their Tweedsmuir Books. The Institute helps fund community projects and provides educational opportunities. Members present on this occasion included Pearl Niles, Donna Morton, Louise Greenwood, Jeanne White, and Ruby White.
The By-Law to designate the Township of Frontenac Islands as a site plan control area for the development of a wind plant and its accessory facilities, delayed final approval in December, was passed. Bob Clark, Planner and Rob Millar from Canadian Hydro Developers were present. Clark reminded council that the road system evaluation needs to be undertaken. He anticipates that if the wind plant project goes forward, sessions with Can. Hydro and their construction people have to be coordinated and suggested the township identify key people to meet with them initially and perhaps on a regular basis. “It would be most important to anticipate issues as this large project moves forward,” he said.
Mayor Vanden Hoek noted the importance of getting lined up to do a review of the roads, working with a coordinator, the engineer, getting a grid of the roads etc. “There is a role for someone to do this coordination effort so that all the issues that come up are dealt with or we are going to get lost.” The township has to decide who will do the review and when it has to get done,” he said. Rob Millar also confirmed the importance of getting started. Bob Clark will facilitate a ‘Who & What, Which roads (before & after). This is all contingent on ERR outcome.
Mr. Terry Shea, General Manager of the Land O’ Lakes Tourist Association provided a very positive 2007 annual activity and publication overview citing particularly the “Guide to Rural Adventures” (day trips) and outlined proposed activities for 2008. He cited his frustration that their ‘Let’s Go’ theme is now being used by a major company. Wolfe Island is now identified on maps and in other tourism materials.
Mrs. Pat Sanford was present to discuss the the township’s proposal to rent the Community Hall on Wolfe Island for June to September 2008. She won’t agree to the terms offered and outlined the costs she incurs not only operating the Stone Heroin gallery but the costs she has assumed for improvements to the community hall. Following further discussion with the Clerk/CAO a recommendation will be presented at the regular meeting of Council in March 2008.
A first budget 2008 meeting will take place Feb. 22nd at 10 am Wolfe Island. Council meets next Feb.11th at 6:30 pm Howe Island.
Around town important events are scheduled. 1.Friends of Big Sandy Bay Annual General Meeting Wed. January 30th ,6:45 pm Wolfe Island United Church Hall Featuring a Presentation on Monarch Butterfly Migration by Queen’s Dr. Barrie Frost.
2.Wolfe Island hosts the annual hockey tournament February 9th, 10 am at the Community Centre with teams from Toronto, Kitchener and Wolfe Island. Contact Cathy 613 549-1311.
3.On Feb. 12th a Diabetes Awareness Night, St. Margaret’s Hall at 7 pm. A representative of the Diabetes Association and a Dietician will offer insights about the disease and answer questions. Call Sherry at 613-385-2486.
4. Sat. Feb 16th, the Wolfe Island United Church 7th annual Beat the Winter Blues, Garage and Bake Sale 9am-2pm.
5.You heard it here FIRST! Wolfe Island will host the Canadian Ploughing Championships August 24-30. 6. And finally, Chilifest, the island’s premiere winter event WILL happen.