In October 2001 I wrote a first article about wind power on Wolfe Island titled, “WIND…WIND POWER… the New Hybrid Crop” and now, Frontenac Islands council is at the end of the beginning. And Canadian Hydro, is at the beginning of the end. (my thanks to Winston Churchill for the phrasing). At a recent special meeting, council dealt with the request to remove the “H” Holding Symbol on the last of the properties where wind turbines are slated to be constructed, pretty much their LAST official act with regard to the Wind Plant. During the same week Canadian Hydro poured concrete for the FIRST of a total of eighty-six, 2.3 MW wind turbines which will generate an estimated 593,500 MW (hours) per year of renewable electricity.
ALL PHOTOS COURTESY CREC (Trudy De Ruiter)
And what a turbulent bunch of years it has been. What started in 1993 as an idea by Ontario Hydro to harness wind energy and to ask for alternative energy suppliers to sell it into the power grid has seen the break up of Ontario Hydro into Ontario Power Generation (OPG) and Hydro One and the development of a wind power project on Wolfe Island.
In 2001 Ian Baines then owner of Canadian Renewable Energy, (CREC now a fully owned subsidiary of Canadian Hydro Developers) began talking about clean electrical power created from sources other than fossil fuels, and was looking for 5 year, paid for options to lease island land and a site to install and operate a test station where, if test results were favourable, CREC would enter into 20 year lease agreements Interest was high at Baines first presentation where he responded to questions about process, about noise, about birds, and about advantages and disadvantages to residents and landowners and proposed a first facility of up to ten 1.8 MW wind turbines. Much has happened since those first heady days.
There followed anemometers to measure the island’s wind, land options, many meetings the Greater Kingston Trade Winds Project feasibility study for a co-operatively owned 36MW island wind farm. In 2004 at the call of the province both CREC and GAIA Power submitted bids for wind projects on Wolfe Island. In January 2005 Canadian Hydro Developers Inc. acquired CREC. In 2005 Canadian Hydro won the contract in the Ontario Government’s second request for proposals (RFP) and will fully own, operate and manage 197.8 MW consisting of 86, 2.3 MW wind turbines.
So here we are. A barge transports equipment, supplies and workers for the wind project to the island from a separate dock in Kingston to a separate dock on Wolfe Island where island access roads have been constructed, the laydown area sees the addition of turbine components arriving every day from Ogdensburg on two barges.There is ongoing road work, improving, widening , cutting for underground wiring, and ongoing excavation for tower bases. The Siemens wind turbine technical crew has arrived. Blasting for tower bases is underway, gravel is being moved from two island quarry’s to turbine sites by FLEETS of trucks. The Lafarge Cement Batch Plant is operational, trucks water the roads for dust control. Cement is being poured at completed turbine bases. There are security services. More Police calls. The Community Liaison group holds monthly meetings with Can Hydro Site Supervisor Mike Jablonicky to get answers to questions and have complaints resolved if possible. And you can imagine there are complaints and concerns about access roads, dust, noise, gravel/ cement trucks, blasting, traffic, hydro poles, ferry service.
And amid all this, along with the regular daily services required for the island, there is ongoing construction of new island homes, renovation and winterizing of others which has led to a massive deliveries of goods and services to the island which of course has led to an ever increasing number of residents using the already overcrowded ferry that must always be available for ambulance calls. People and vehicles are left behind (and of course there are too few washrooms).
On the other hand, many workers from out of town are being accommodated in every available house, B&B’s or cottages all over the island. Many islanders are employed in the project. The stores, restaurants and hotel are busy and there is the amenities agreement. Visitors, cyclists and tourists have discovered the island and come in ever increasing numbers. However, in spite of or maybe because of all of this, the FIRST WOLFE ISLAND WIND TURBINE will be lifted up and put in place within the next few weeks.
Big Sandy Bay Ends another successful season: It has been a good season for Big Sandy Bay in spite of the many days of rain. During the summer members of the Frontenac Islands Big Sandy Bay Stewardship Committee along with staff members and volunteers, built an observation deck overlooking Black Lake and installed benches near the trail end and along the shore. Funding for materials came from MNR. Seniors who came out to a Seniors Day at BSB (organized by Suzanne Paquette and David Clarke) had a wonderful time (in spite of the wind) riding along the trail to the bay in golf carts provided by Alston Moor Golf Links With all terrain vehicles at the shore (BSB Stewardship Committee & Roly’s Backhoe Service) everyone also was able to visit the observation deck.
Big Sandy Bay has an ‘all terrain wheel chair’. For use in the off season it must be booked in advance with a member of the Stewardship committee or send an e-mail through the updated (FOSB) Friends of Big Sandy Bay web site: www.bigsandybay.ca. Why not consider becoming a member of Friends of Big Sandy Bay.
Around Town: * Frontenac Islands Council Meeting Thursday, Oct. 16th on Howe Island at 6:30 pm.
* Annual Applefest OCTOBER 4th 1 - 4 pm Hornes Orchard Hwy 95 *Thanksgiving Celebration WI’s Christ Church Anglican 104 - 15th line, Sunday 12 October at 9:15 a.m.
* Wolfe Island Business & Tourism Association meeting 7pm, October 21st United Church Hall.
* Therese Greenwood’s article commended WI for publishing ‘Growing up on Wolfe Island’ with its stories told by islanders. Hopefully there will be another book.
* Rev. David Higgs ( who fills in at the WI United Church when Pastor Terry Wood must be absent), and his wife Barbara are summer residents.
* Captain RF & Marette Fawcett welcomed family, friends and neighbours at their home on the occasion of their 60th Wedding Anniversary.
At the outset of Frontenac Islands Council September meeting, the agenda was amended to exclude any discussion regarding a ‘County Gazette’ news article and a ‘The Times’ commentary. Ms. Peggy Smith who was on the agenda to speak about township recreational programs and included in her request were the aforementioned articles. A number of residents, there to support Smith in any discussion were advised by Mayor Vanden Hoek that he would not debate the news items. Any disruption and they would be asked to leave.
Ivan Duffy (McIntosh Perry Consulting) in his regular Canadian Hydro Wind Plant (CREC) construction activity report said that a third of the access roads have been built with ongoing excavation of the tower bases; a grader has been dedicated to maintaining township roads, cables will be buried by ploughing them in on township roads and trenched on the 4th line leading to a possible road closure. He said CREC has permission to haul from the 16th Line quarry to Road #96 and 8th Line to Baseline, complaints about dust , noise, blasting and hours of work are being dealt with by CREC. Councillor Doyle who has received complaints sees advance notice of blasting times, dates and areas to be affected as part of the solution. Duffy’s written notes will be made available to council.
Ms. Peggy Smith presented an update of the Communities In Action program and grant awarded to the municipality in 2007. “The floating dock has put us in a bit of a conundrum. There were requirements attached to $28,000 grant, and the (tendered) $19,000 for a dock. The dock that we have is not the dock we asked for and, the decision to change it was the township’s.,” she said, adding the dock was quite ineffective (too high with two hard to access levels) for boating programs. “We are left with $9,900 for programs, not spent and must still raise $1,700. Ms. Smith requested a time extension for spending the money ( which also requires ministry approval), permission to purchase kayaks and a repaired dock. The Township will undertake the repair of the dock and agreed with kayak purchases.
A proposal for E-waste Collection for Frontenac Islands by Manco Recycling Systems Inc. has been deferred to the October meeting (date to be determined) due to a change in personnel at Manco Inc.
While much of the municipality’s treasury function (payables, receivables) has been transferred to Frontenac County, Carol Dwyre, Deputy Clerk/Deputy Treasurer and Planning Coordinator has been appointed Municipal Treasurer. Council also passed a bylaw to delegate authority to temporarily close roads.
In other business: Howe Island has been notified that the County Ferry goes out of service for a Transport Canada hull inspection in October. Deputy Mayor Norris is very anxious to know what happens if it is out for a longer period of time. Need for meeting ASAP. Councillor Doyle wants new administrative person ( start date Sept. 29th) to take on certain files including CREC and sees a need for more and regular information /reports/notices on big issues. ”We don’t have direct link with Liaison committee,” he said.
Mayor Vanden Hoek reminded council that the Marysville Waterworks Class Environmental Assessment (notice posted in August) to evaluate a full range of water supply options is underway. “There is a good chance that this will be a challenging issue over the next 4/5-years,” he said. He also reminded council that there has been a festering issue regarding a property on Howe Island and Lot 5 township property and a drainage problem that did not exist before. “We must be prepared to do something about it at the October meeting.”
He informed council that Wolfe Island’s water truck will cease delivering water to island residents (certain safety lapses). However a local contractor is considering a commitment to those users. (Community will be informed.) The truck remains in use by the WI Fire Service.
He further announced that CREC has hired a second barge and wishes to extend delivery hours of turbines from the winter dock to the lay down area (not for construction purposes). This will be referred to McIntosh and Perry and followed by a special meeting.
The Township will respond favourably to a DND request to once again use Wolfe Island for training exercises. Due to Thanksgiving/Election, Oct. Council Meeting Date is to be determined.
A Special Meeting of Council was held Sept. 11th where two resolutions were passed. One gives CREC permission to extend the hours of the Pre-Servicing Agreement to transport turbines from the winter dock to the laydown area off highway 96 from 6 am to 10 pm Monday to Saturday inclusive and 1pm to 10 pm Sundays. An amendment states, no trucks will travel on highway 96 between 6 and 7 am. because of ferry traffic. The second allows CREC to extend the hours for the construction of a temporary batch plant at WI’s Greenwood Quarry from 6 am to 10 pm Monday to Saturday inclusive and Sunday, 1 pm to 10 pm for a period of 7 consecutive days only. (No date was set). Because of concerns expressed to council that there has been insufficient public notice about the blasting program CREC’s Mike Jablonicky was asked to attend. the meeting. He said the blasting schedule will be posted in their next newsletter, at their office, the town hall and the McIntosh Perry office. Depending on the weather, blasting could be completed within 3 weeks. Council allowed no questions from the public.
Around Town: Under the Investing in Ontario Act, Frontenac Islands will receive $87, 000 while the County will receive $1,281 million.
* Marysville Water EA public meeting. Watch for date..* Kingston Life article by Teresa Greenwood praises island’s: ‘Growing Up on Wolfe Island.’
* WI Photo Contest awards at Town Hall Aug.4th. Picture Drop off at Info Centre Sept. 30th or mail to WIBTA before Sept.30th
* Queen’s Triathlon Club’s “DUATHLON” (bike & run) Oct. 26th on Wolfe Island. We’re invited.
*Friends of Big Sandy Book Sale Friday pm Sept. 26th & Sat. all day Sept. 27th 9:30 am-5pm Old Fire Hall.
*Applefest Horne’s Orchard Hwy 95, OCTOBER 4th 1 - 4 pm Family Admission by Donation
*Community Euchre, Thurs. 7 pm WI United Church, everyone welcome. *Howe Island #6 in the Province of Ontario for per capita fundraising in the 2007 Terry Fox run held successful event in 2008.
* The late Fr.E.O’Reilly was remembered at Sacred Heart.
Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada, will present 46 Medals of Bravery (MB) at Rideau Hall, on Sept. 19th. Included in that number will be John Haney, a resident of Wolfe Island. The Medal of Bravery is awarded for acts of bravery in hazardous circumstances.
In October 2006, John an experienced diver, sailor and strong swimmer, rescued a woman who had jumped from the Wolfe Island ferry into the frigid waters of Lake Ontario. Unsuccessful attempts with life lines thrown out by the crew to the distraught woman led John to grab a life vest and dive in to rescue her. “I don’t know that she was suicidal but she certainly had issues and time was important,” John said in a recent interview. “She seemed very confused and very cold. Once I got hold of her, the crew pulled us both up to safety.”
“Diving in is not recommended by MTO,” an unidentified crew person commented when asked about it the incident, “but in this instance John’s intervention was much appreciated.” Haney was recommended for the award by a number of citizens including Island resident John O’Shea (Wolfe Islander retired). “Most of us say, when we hear about people doing great things, someone should do something about this, but don’t. This time I did. John Haney saved a life,” he said.
Mr. Haney will be accompanied to Rideau Hall by his wife Danielle, his mother and other family members including his dad from Nova Scotia. John, an employee at Kingston’s Metal Craft , may now add MB to his name. “I promise to provide a picture from the ceremony,” the rather humble but very excited John Haney said. The Decorations for Bravery were created in 1972.
An evening of fun, food and laughter, capped a week of hard ploughing at the Canadian Plowing Championships (CPO) held on Wolfe Island. It was an evening led by Ken Keyes where ploughmen and friends were welcomed, informed, recognized and thanked by Frontenac Islands Mayor Jim Vanden Hoek, CPO President Lynn McDonald World Association Director Bob Brown and others. Dennis Mosier, organizing committee chair, the person behind having the island host the Canadian Championships, thanked the many sponsors, local government, the groups that raised money, generous donors of goods and services and of course committee members with special thanks to Wilma Sjonger, secretary treasurer. The food was prepared by Chef Andy and Kathie Merry. Entertainment was offered by impressionist James Kirkham. It was the evening where the winners in the senior and junior ploughing categories were presented their awards, but first………
Four days earlier, at the opening ceremonies, led by Everett Hogan, excitement was in the air as the ploughs were blessed by Wolfe Island’s Rev. Canon Chris Carr, Pastor Terry Wood and Fr. Raymond de Souza, remarks were offered by CPO’s Lynn McDonald, Frontenac Islands Councillor Dennis Doyle, Dennis Mosier, WI’s Queen of the Furrow Morgan Roy, Frontenac County Queen Katie Shannon and Ontario Queen Katie Cheesmond.
The elite plowmen, representing Ontario, British Columbia, Quebec, New Brunswick and Manitoba, paraded by on their ploughs to their respective lands (identified by name on small steel cut outs of the island) where contestants were to compete in a variety of classes in the conventional and (multi furrow) reversible plough events, and so the competition began.
Competitors, officials, judges to the Canadian Championships were accommodated on the Island and welcomed at a special gathering at the Stone Heron Gallery. A special ladies program that included the Grand’s “Gilbert & Anne” was organized by Betty Doyle.
Held in conjunction with the Canadian Championships were the Wolfe Island Plowmen’s Association and Frontenac County plowing matches. Prize presentations for these matches took place on site at their completion. County Match judges were Barry Timbers and Ross MacGillivary. ALL competitors ploughed on land owned by host farmers Jack Broeders and Henry Posthumus.
The weather throughout the 4-day event cooperated but, in spite of heavy summer rains, the lands were hard, compacted and difficult to plough particularly in the “Horse classes”, which continue to be so much a part of the local matches. None the less ALL competitors ploughed on, hoping to achieve, within a strict time constraint and based on tough criteria, the perfect furrow.
Under canopy were arts and crafts, food and beverages and a silent auction overseen by members of the WI and St. Lawrence Women’s Institutes, special vendor locations, antique cars, ploughs, antique machinery, equipment and business information including a spot for Canadian Hydro Developers.
But PLOUGHING was the major attraction, so BACK TO THE WINNERS…
Junior championship winners: 3rd Place Keenan Fried (only female competitor); 2nd Shawn Timbers, (both from Ontario) and in 1st place Jessie Meyer, (Alberta) recipient of a scholarship to Olds (Alberta) College.
Seniors Conventional Plow: 3rd place Philip Keith (NB) ; 2nd Greg Timbers, (ON); 1st Whaley Mar (Alberta).
Seniors Reversible Plow: 3rd Doug Mar, (Alberta); 2nd Bob Campsall (ON); 1st Bert Beyens (ON).
First place winners in these 2 categories will attend the 2009 World Match in Slovenia. The awards were presented by Lynn McDonald and Gary Keith. Congratulations to ALL.
Around Town: Council meets Mon. Sept.8th , 6:30 pm Wolfe Island. * A group of seniors is wondering if there is an interest in discussing Senior Living accommodation on Wolfe Island. Call Councillor Grant.