It is not often that anyone who received money from the township repays it.. But that’s what happened at a Frontenac Islands council meeting. Councillor Dennis Doyle chairman of the Big Sandy Bay Stewardship committee presented Mayor Jim Vanden Hoek with a $5000 cheque. “ It’s been 5-years,” Doyle said, “ since the township lent us money ($5000) up front for Big Sandy Bay. At the time there was concern by some residents that Big Sandy Bay should not be opened but it did, and it’s running well and the committee wants to pay back the money.” Doyle also presented a draft of the Land Use Permit for the mayor’s signature to allow the township to continue managing Big Sandy Bay (Dec/08-Dec./2013). Mayor Vanden Hoek commented that it is rare to get back a float (of money) “I have to tell you, community volunteers do great things. We have had strong support for Big Sandy Bay starting out with Councillor Grant , then former councillor Jim Calvin and now Councillor Doyle… It is a success story to open up a public space and have it come in at a break even basis,” he said.
Wolfe Island Road Work: Steve Archibald from McIntosh Perry was present to bring council up to date on municipal road upgrades and maintenance related to the Wolfe Island wind farm project. Also present was Ivan Duffy and Mike Jablonicky, Canadian Hydro Developers wind plant site supervisor. Archchibald noted that there were two agreements with the Township and the developer that address road maintenance, one in 2006 in the amenities agreement and a supplementary one. Prior to the project’s start the Township had all the roads assessed by an independent engineer who said it was hard to assess what would happen to the roads and contemplated that millions of dollars of damage happen.. Originally there was $1million dollars of security registered with the township for work primarily to the north west of the island by Canadian Hydro Developers with further ($250,000)securities as roads were re-assessed and possibly more as work and heavy road use continues. Roads negotiated for upgrading are the Baseline, 4th, 5th, 7th (access to Bennett), part of Reeds Bay, Hwy. #96 to quarry. Much work has already been undertaken by the developer (culverts etc.) with recent hot mix patches on #96. Council members expressed concern about certain road areas, loose gravel on curb out of village, surfacing, insufficient signage etc. . Archibald said that the work is ongoing and when the project is completed there will be a very good road system on Wolfe Island. Jablonicky estimates truck travel to quarry on #96 will be over in 2 months and that the project itself will be completed March 31, 2009.
Marysville Water EA: XCG Consultants Ltd.’s Judy Runions and Cameron Smith updated council regarding the Marysville waterworks environmental assessment now underway, their draft report and to talk about the next steps to moving forward. The Phase 1 draft technical memorandum identifies the issue, the study area involved (which encompasses the potential residential development area of Marysville) and the projected water and storage demands based on population .”The report does consolidate some of the background information previously looked into and develops a problem statement” according to Ms Runions. Council accepted the XCG draft report. XCG will move to the next stage of the EA including establishing a working committee (with council members. Doyle and Grant) to look at project issues, and (water delivery) alternatives.
In other business: Howe Island’s Councillor Matt Fiene has been appointed Deputy Mayor of Frontenac Islands for the remaining two years of council’s 4 year mandate replacing Councillor Pat Norris
Howe Island ‘s Chief Mike Quinn was present to inform council of future plans. ” In a proactive kind of way in 2009 the Fire and Rescue service will be moving toward the recruitment of at least two additional volunteers. We want to undergo a review of our membership as circumstances change for some and retirement faces others. The first year is probationary,” he said. Due to surplus equipment, etc. there is no financial impact.
Howe Island Ferry Fares: Increases include $10. more per yearly pass and 50 cents more for transient fares. (There is a rationalized collection process between the County ferry and the township ferry). There was some discussion concerning the apparent non-collection of fares on the ferry and the impact of that non collection on those who do pay fares and how to further resolve the problem. Initial steps informing township and county staff had already been taken.
Automated External Defibrillators (AED): The Ontario Heart& Stroke Foundation have entered into an agreement with Frontenac County that they will provide the funding for the county to purchase and place AED’s for the Wolfe & Howe municipal offices, Wolfe Island schools ,Sacred Heart and Marysville Public , WI Community Centre & Howe’s St.. Philomena’s Hall . There is also funding available for training and training materials.
Payment Voucher. Much discussion revolved around the Simcoe Island ferry dock bills. It will now cost $70,000. While MTO approved $50,000 that amount did not include the cost of replacing the two ramps. Some of the bill was prepaid. The contractor is looking for the balance.
Further Business: The Mayor thanked W. Knott for a ways and means letter on how to prepare for the monies to come from the amenities agreement. but said that funds had been set aside to have a consultant undertake a study which might include public consultation.
Council accepted Tunnock Consulting Ltd. planning service fees for 2009. Council supported 2 applications for $5000. each to FCFDC for an assessment of the community hall and the recently purchased house on Leander street as well as an application by WIBTA for $2000. for directional signs.
Council approved staff (full and part time) Christmas bonuses.
New Business: Councillor Doyle reported on Electronics Recycling meeting which saw need forcameras, extra bins, repaving of site. Councillor Grant spoke of plastic chipping .
Mayor VandenHoek thanked council for 2008, all the work, all the successes. “It is no surprise that we spent a lot of time on the wind farm project. I hope in 2009 we can lighten up on that a little and look at the many other issues facing the township. I would like to take some time to look Brian Ritchie’s Community Consultation report. In the meantime, I wish everyone the best of the festive season.”
Around Town: * Monday Night Euchre, St. Margaret’s Hall at 8 pm begins. Jan 5th and continues every Monday until the end of March. *Thursday Night Community Euchre. WI United Church Hall at 6:45 pm.
*Frontenac Islands Council Meeting, Monday, Jan. 12, 2009 on Wolfe Island at 6:30 pm.
Many Meetings, Many Events Precede Christmas for Frontenac Islands
Howe Island residents concerned that the Frontenac Islands township’s “little” Howe Island ferry would be taken out of service for the winter months leaving them with only the County operated ‘new’ Howe Island ferry, are heaving a sigh of relief.
At a special meeting to review the service and the subsidy for the continued operation of the Township ferry it was determined that Frontenac Islands council will advise the Ministry of Transportation that the township will continue to operate the Howe Island ferry all year (12 months).
It became apparent to both to the township and MTO not long after the new ferry was put into service that it was not providing the level of service that was originally committed to in the 2003 Memorandum of Understanding between the MTO, Frontenac County and the Township of Frontenac Islands. As a result the township continued operating the township ferry through the 2008 winter months. (The MOU included a stipulation that the township ferry would be out of service during the 3 winter months for cost saving reasons.) Since there has been no improvement in the ferry service, the township will continue to do so in 2009, and expect that MTO will subsidize the operation for the full 12 months.
The Howe Island Ratepayers Association (HIRA) sent a note of thanks to council . They also acknowledged that a decision by council last year to keep a supply of parts available for the “little” ferry meant that a recent mechanical problem created only a ‘minimal inconvenience.’
MPAC MEETINGS: (Municipal Property Assessment Corporation) information meetings were held in Frontenac Islands. A large, uneasy and questioning crowd gathered on Wolfe Island to hear MPAC’s Lyndon Johnson began his review and explanation of the process and methodology of the recently released 2008-2012 property assessments. These assessments are used by the municipality to set property tax rates and to determine individual property taxes. The mill rate then is calculated by dividing the township budget by the total assessment.
Johnson described how properties are assessed, how to contact MPAC and how to review similar properties. Taxpayers can ask for a correction if there is an error in the assessment. They can make a request for reconsideration or file an appeal with the Assessment Review Board (ARB). Johnson provided names, telephone numbers, web site locations where much of the information can be found and answer questions related to process. However, he was not there to solve assessment problems on the spot. which left a number of people who wanted immediate solutions a little frustrated. A petition is presently being circulated on Wolfe Island asking council to take into question the MPAC process and the 2008 assessments.
Advent on Wolfe Island : The annual W.I. Ecumenical Advent Service was held this year at Sacred Heart of Mary Church. Fr. Raymond de Souza , United Church Pastor Terry Wood, and Trinity Anglican’s Rev. Canon Chris Carr with Deacon Gerry Moore together led the service of readings and carols . The Chown family (Nicole, with her four boys and their Mosier grandparents) came forward for the lighting of the first Advent candle beginning four weeks of ‘watching and waiting’ for Christmas. Pastor Wood in his Advent reflection focused on salt and light as two metaphors for a vibrant life and reminded us that it was Jesus who said on the Mount “You are the salt of the earth and the light of the world.” Scripture was read by Mac Plunkett, Anne Wood, Craig Pitts and Marjorie Bousfield. Luke’s gospel was read by Deacon Moore. Sherry Zborovsky sang Psalm 89 while the Wolfe Island Ecumenical Choir with Murray McNeely at the organ led the singing of a number of lovely Advent hymns. Each year the numbers who come to this simple but meaningful service has increased. They leave the quiet of a church as friends, remembering the words of the lessons and carols and sharing a bond that ties them together in a special way… Christmas. (The barrel for Partners in Mission Food Bank was filled to overflowing.)
Broadband for the Frontenacs: At a recent ‘Sustainability in the Frontenacs’ meeting held on Wolfe Island Frontenac County’s CAO Elizabeth Savill announced that Frontenac County will move forward with plans to build local broadband infrastructure (high-speed internet) projects in the county. The Ontario Government announced the Rural Connections Program in March 2008. The plan submitted by the County in collaboration with Frontenac Islands, South and Central Frontenac was approved and is eligible for $789,078. Mayor Venden Hoek is an enthusiastic supporter of broadband accessibility and hi-speed internet services for Frontenac Islands to enhance business opportunities, generate development and improve access to government services. Rural Connections is led and administered by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA).
Sustainability in the Frontenacs: Speaking of the Integrated Community Sustainability Plan (ICSP) meeting, a small but enthusiastic group of people offered a vision for the future of Wolfe Island (water, development, land use, business opportunities, housing, transportation, its focus on agriculture, its relationship with County) . Hosts were Consultant Rob Wood, County CAO Savill and Graham Halsall the County’s Sustainability Coordinator. Also present was Anne ? ,County Development Officer. Halsall described the process and invited Consultant to lead the discussion. At the close of the very engaged meeting Halsall invited all seasonal and year-round Frontenac Islands residents to complete a Sustainability Survey at www.directionsforourfuture.ca and share their insights for a long term vision of the county based on the four pillars of sustainability social, cultural, economic and environmental.
Santa Claus Parade: This year’s WI Fire Department Parade was led by Piper Glen Forbes and enjoyed by an enthusiastic community out in full force to see the wonderful fire engines, the floats, llama, horses, the Grinch and Santa’s helpers who distributed candy along the route. And a beaming Santa Claus, accompanied by Taner White tucked in his arms made the parade a complete success for us all. It ended at the Fire Hall with hot chocolate ,hot dogs and treats accompanied with laughter and camaraderie, Wolfe Island style.
Around Town: * Live Outdoor Christmas Pageant & White Gift Service. W.I. United Church, Sunday, Dec. 14th at 6 p.m. (Food Bank items requested) *CWL Bake Sale, Penny Drive & Bazaar, WI’s Sacred Heart school Saturday, Dec. 13, 1-4 p.m. *WI Community Euchre is now at 6:45 pm Thursday’s at the UC Hall.
Included in the agenda of the annual banquet and regional meeting of the Frontenac Federation of Agriculture (FFA) held in Inverary was a presentation for the Wolfe Island Medical Clinic.
FFA President Ed Bennett presented Mrs. Mildred Hawkins-Walton, with a cheque for $500. Mrs Walton is the long time President of the Board of Directors the Wolfe Island Medical Clinic. In accepting the cheque Walton talked about the clinic, its beginnings and its importance to the island over the years. She said that within hours of the fire that destroyed the island’s Medical Clinic building, donations (large, small and in-kind) began coming in and continue to do so. (There has been no formal fundraising campaign undertaken by the Board.) Mildred and Keith Walton own and operate the Alston Moore Golf Links on Wolfe Island. Keith Walton is a long time member of the FFA.
The FFA meeting included an very informative presentation by guest speaker Sheila James, Farm Safety Coordinator, remarks by FAA President Ed Bennett; Provincial Representative Dudley Shannon and, of course, a wonderful dinner. Vice President Gary Gorden was the master of ceremonies. In his remarks Bennett spoke about the trend to growing your own food, related programs, and the need for young farmers.