Wolfe Island resident Mike Bromley, a sign maker and owner of ‘Signs from Above’ formerly of Pickering, is looking to re-locate his home based business to the island on Road # 95. What made the request interesting is that the mixed use building he proposes to build on his residential lot, within the next two years will look like the set of CTV’s program “Corner Gas,” with a canopy overhang but without the signs (café, store, etc). Bromley requested a minor variance to permit a reduced front yard building setback in order to construct the open steel canopy portion of the main building . For appearances and visibility, he wants to set the building diagonally on the property. The building will contain a residence with a deck, a garage that would be backed by the steel building (already in place), and a sign shop component with the troublesome canopy that exceeds the lot size.
Based on the Official Plan and zoning by-law, the township’s planner Tunnock Consulting recommended that the variance be denied. Bromley’s request generated an interesting discussion. Mayor Vanden Hoek reminded council that if the variance was approved, it was subject to the appeal process.
Mike Bromley commented that if he put a washroom in the steel building it would get around the residential aspect and he could live there. “However to leave the steel building the way it is and not to proceed with the Corner Gas concept would be a missed opportunity for the island,” he said . And in the end, acting in their capacity as a committee of adjustment, council approved the application for the minor variance. As Councillor Fiene pointed out, “It looks like fun and change is coming to the island any way. “
Wolfe Island resident Trevor Van Allen came forward once again to request that Frontenac Islands township assume ownership ,and maintenance of Elizabeth and Emma Streets located in the Woodman subdivision. He was accompanied by his wife and two residents of the subdivision.
Van Allen maintains the subdivision agreement stipulates the developer was responsible for bringing the roads up to standard for takeover by the township and was required to make a $6000. deposit for that purpose at the time, 22years ago. Any request by Van Allen to the developer and now to the family has gone unheeded. He said he had been informed by CAO O’Shea that the township did collect $800 the parkland requirement but no record of a $6000 deposit for roads can be found. Roads that Van Allen says need to be widened by 5 feet on both sides and now have serious drainage problems.
Councillor Grant noted that it would be very costly to bring the roads up to standard. Van Allen responded that if the $6000. was collected that after 22 years in today’s dollars there would be $20-30,000 available. Councillor Fiene wonders what other options there are, file a lawsuit against the township, or the township fix the roads and tack it on to the tax bill. The mayor commented that council can decide to take over roads but the legal interpretation is that the residents always had options other than coming to the municipality including fixing the road themselves and legal action. Councillor Norris sees no obligation on the part of council to take over the roads until they are brought up to standard. Councillor Doyle said that in reading the agreement, clearly the township did have some responsibility which is why the $6000. was to be collected. ”It would be nice to know what it would cost in today’s dollars to bring the roads to standard, assume we got the $6000. and have an agreement between the residents and the developer . Mr. Van Allen called upon council to do what was right. Council will seek further clarification from the township’s solicitor about their responsibility if any regarding the Woodman subdivision agreement. The results will be on the January 2009 Council meeting. agenda.
Dean Wallace was back seeking an answer to his request that council set up a fund using money from the amenities agreement between the township and Canadian Hydro Developers to compensate residents who believe they have been affected by the island’s wind turbine project .(The Wallace’s have moved off the island.)
Mayor Vanden Hoek informed the meeting that the amenities agreement will begin to flow when the wind project is completed. ( 2009-2010) and said that it will be council, in consultation with the community, who will decide how that money is used. “I can tell you this, that there are say, 1600 residents on Wolfe Island and there could be 1600 requests for different projects. The question about how that amenities money will be spent has been asked repeatedly and we must do a great deal of research to deal with it,” he said. Councillor Grant noted ttraffic issue have confronted a number of other residents in the same area . “I think it is too soon to set up any kind of a fund,” he said. Councillor Fiene believes the compensation issue should be looked at including the Liaison committee, engineers, Canadian Hydro Developers. Councillor Norris said compensation requirements could only be assessed at the end of the project.
Wallace seemed frustrated with the answers.. “I thought the money was paid on an annual basis. I have never seen documentation about the fund or how much the community is supposed to be getting. Can’t you ear mark some of that money and make it available on an application basis? Will there be a statute of limitations?”he asked The mayor reiterated that Council will develop a policy regarding the amenities funds. “There will be a multitude of demands and we have plan in an organized fashion,” he said. (Amenities agreement Frontenac Islands website: :www.municipality.frontenacislands.on.ca/)
A bylaw to remove a WP overlay zone from lands not required for the wind plant was deferred until January at the request of Mrs Gail Kenney to allow the public additional time to review the proposal.
Council meets next Dec. 8th on Howe Island at 6:30 pm
Around Town: *Mayor Vanden Hoek has completed his term as Frontenac County Warden. *Central Frontenac Mayor Janet Gutowskiis now Warden. *There are now 10 completed towers on the island.
*WI Christmas Market Nov. 29th & 30th , 10-4 pm. Community Hall. *Ecumenical Advent Service at WI’s Sacred Heart Church, Sun. Nov. 30th, Everyone welcome.
* Dec. 3rd at the WI Town Hall 7-9 pm Frontenac County is looking for your input on sustainability in the county.* WI’s Santa Claus Parade 4 pm. Sat.. Dec. 6th
This week 3 wind turbines were fully raised on Wolfe Island. The towers are 80 metres high while their blades are 45 metres long making the complete structure 125 metres tall. The blades are expected to rotate at an average speed of between 6 to 20 revolutions per minute. The hoped-for late October date for their erection was delayed due to high winds (which is why Wolfe Island was chosen in the first place for the Canadian Hydro Developers (CREC) wind plant). The concrete bases and the first two components for a number of others are in place waiting to be completed and hoisted into place. Ironically the day went by unnoticed by many on the island and in Kingston due to the heavy fog that hung over the area, dirty air caused by industrial pollution, burning fields etc. that made the towers invisible.
But for those who went out to take a look it was an incredible day to watch as extremely skilled workers installed nacelles and finally hub and blades on, what for many, are perceived as elegant structures and for others, great big eyesores cluttering the landscape. Such different perceptions seem to apply to the wind project as well.
Work on other aspects of the project continues (access roads, power line installation, bases) and it is anticipated that turbines will be erected on a weekly basis weather permitting. The submarine cable (another key step) to connect the project to the mainland has been installed. A barge arrives almost daily from Ogdensburg with the remaining towers. The construction of the project’s operation’s office including a class room and warehouse is also underway. Canadian Hydro Developers Inc. looks to March 2009 as a possible date when power might begin to flow.
I for one will be very glad when the Wolfe Island Wind Plant project with its 86 towers is completed and without any doubt, it will be completed.
Why? Despite the fact that it appears the province has laid out no clear guidelines for wind power development, neither has it given any clear indication that renewable energy has a priority over non renewable energy. Instead it has given the appearance that coal, oil or natural gas would be used to supplement the base nuclear power. Despite all this and without clear guidelines Canadian Hydro Developers Inc. (CREC) won a bid to provide Ontario Hydro with power into the provincial grid at a market pool price. Period. Paragraph. 30.
During that period when CREC (and other companies) came to Wolfe Island and wind testing began, the process used for the first provincial calls for renewable energy stuttered badly confusing everyone. Since that time the bidding process seems not to have gotten much better nor is it fully transparent. In fact the process has left local township councils with confusion and exposure to sometimes valid and not so valid questions and criticisms with competing companies forced to remain silent.
The Wolfe Island project has not been without concerns about the passage of the official plan amendment, birds, size, setbacks, wiring, etc. etc. However the Environmental review was passed with its many recommendations on how the issues must and will be mitigated. Along the way WIRE (WI Residents for the Environment) with concerns about the project was formed and continues to bring issues forward to council and Canadian Hydro. Further, a case heard by the Ontario Municipal Board led to a subsequent agreement between the appellants and Frontenac Islands township which included the formation of a 4 member Liaison Committee with the developer to hear, investigate and respond to community concerns related to the wind plant. Canadian Hydro’s Mike Jablonicky, project site manager has been available at all of the meetings to answer questions, respond to concerns and act on situations related to the entire construction phase of the wind farm. For some residents concerns remain.
A case in point was the most recent well attended Liaison Committee meeting where concerns related to the WI ferry service, barge use, long waits, traffic, noise, overhead wiring, and health were discussed. Dean Wallace who recently outlined personal wind plant related health issues (immediate and long term) to council (Heritage EMC ) brought his case to the Liaison Committee. ”What’s your policy? “What do I do?” Mike Jablonicky does not have answers about health problems. However the Liaison committee will seek out an approach through Ministry of Health and Kingston’s medical officer of health to assist Mr. Wallace. A TV production crew hoping to film the meeting was informed that committee policy is that they were free to attend but without the cameras. Canadian Hydro newsletters are posted at www.wolfeislandwind.com
I continue to believe CHD has learned many things since its first foray into Ontario to develop a wind plant and has made many changes to the island’s wind plant plan already as a result of new insights and respect for Wolfe Island residents. There is no doubt that the island will be different and as one person said to me recently, “There are no more Wolfe Islands.”.
I also believe that when the project is completed and the energy is flowing, CHD will honour their contract with the island to be watchful and to deal with every issue as it comes up.
Around Town:*Congratulations to WI resident, Queen's University professor of Physiology Dr. Ken Rose who has been selected as the 2008 recipient of the prestigious Barbara Turnbull Award for research in the area of spinal cord injury - an affliction that affects millions of Canadians. *Can. Hydro is paying for 2 extra ferry trips leaving WI at 4:45 am Tuesdays and Friday mornings. * WI’s Trinity Anglican Turkey Supper Sat. November 15th Doors Open at 4:30 PM *A FREE KFL&A FLU SHOT clinic will be held at the WI Ambulance /Fire Hall, North entrance Sat. Nov. 15th, 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.*Music with EMILY FENNELLstarts 9 pm at The Island Grill’s Fifth Anniversary party..*Friends of Big Sandy BAY AGM Wed., Nov. 26th, WI United Church Hall, light refreshments 6:45 Meeting starts 7:00 p.m. Guest speaker, Dr Erwin Batalla, will give a presentation on Snowy Owls & other Raptors. All welcome \
* WI Christmas Market Saturday & Sunday Nov. 29-30 At the Community Hall 10:00 - 4:00 Community groups and individuals are encouraged to join us - call 385 1947 to reserve your table.
The Frontenac-Howe Islander (15-car County operated ferry) will be out of service on Monday November 3rd from approximately 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. to accommodate the refitting of piers
The ferry will be leaving for an inspection and will be replaced by the Quinte Loyalist ferry which will operate from 6 am until 10 pm each day.
There will be a weight restriction of 6 tonne per axle or 25 tonne gross. Tandem axle trucks will not be permitted on the replacement ferry.
The Township’s Howe Island ferry will be operating 24 hour per day until the return of the Frontenac-Howe Islander ferry from its mandatory Transport Canada inspection