Across the township of Frontenac Islands there is a series of lanes, not roads but lanes that have not been assumed nor are they maintained by the township because they do not meet township standards. For the township to assume responsibility (take over) for them requires that the residents who live along those lanes join forces and bring them up to township standard first. The lanes run like varicose veins travelling here and there wide and narrow with few turnarounds and are the result of the many, many severances granted in the past with not much thought to access. Some are better than others but they are none the less private lanes.
With the Woodman Subdivision however, the developer, as part of the agreement was to bring the streets into the subdivision (Emma& Elizabeth) up to township standard before the municipality would take them over. The agreement has not been honoured and since the late 1990’s a subdivision resident Trevor Van Allen has been asking the township to force the issue and take over the roads. He came again to discuss his ongoing request at the recent Frontenac Islands council meeting “I think the township needs to step forward and do the right thing,” he said.
While the plan of subdivision outlines a standard for the road, the township has been unable to determine if the balance to cover the costs of works ($6000) was ever collected from the developer. Council has sought legal advice many times regarding their obligation, if any, in this situation and each time have been advised that the township is under no legal obligation to assume ownership and maintenance of the road, until it is brought up to standard by the developer. “Whatever we do now in this situation will be a political decision,” Mayor Vanden Hoek reminded council.
Councillor Doyle proposed a compromise solution that would see the road brought up to standard for as far as the money that was to be collected ($6000 in today’s dollars) would go, and that section assumed, the rest cost shared by the developer and residents. Noting the subdivision has a standard Councillor Norris pondered setting a standard for all lanes as essential in the future. Following a spirited exchange of ideas, it was determined that the township and Van Allen will get independent cost estimates to bring the road up to standard for the March council meeting. As Van Allen commented, ”we are not beyond getting involved in this issue.”
Calming the traffic in Marysville: WI resident Rick Reitzel wants traffic in Marysville to slow down and proposed the installation of speed bumps in the village and at both ends of Hwy. #96, straightening the road, courtesy cross walks, the 50km speed reduced to 25km per hour and brighter lighting. He said Canadian Hydro trucks have been advised to set village speed at 25km. “But it is still not enough, I am encouraging a Community Safe Zone in the village where everyone is welcome but at a controlled rate of speed. All I am asking for is a few hunks of cement. Signs don’t work, studies are too expensive and no police,” he said.
Mayor Vanden Hoek said there will be parking enforcement with the bylaw control officer coming on a regular basis. He is also prepared to ask the OPP to monitor the situation. He commented that Marysville has hamlet style speed problems compounded by the ferry line-ups. “There is always a reluctance to hire someone to give the answer. But perhaps we need to.”
Island resident Michelle Murray urged council to come up with a solution sooner than later as a result of a recent car incident in the village. The township will obtain cost estimates to develop a policy for “traffic calming.”
In other business: 1.The township will appoint a temporary Building Inspector.
2. Howe Island garbage contract awarded through 2011.
3.Don Eves to plow Simcoe Island Improved Township Roads
4.Any accumulated 2008 Area rated surplus or deficit is to remain in (area rated) departments and reserves including the $50,000.00 for the HI Roads/Ferry from Frontenac County.
5. The township will draft a letter to MPAC expressing the dissatisfaction of residents regarding property assessments . This relates to WI petition against MPAC assessment’s. Councillor Norris said some people were hit by 100% increases.
6. No Public Meeting dates have been set as yet for the Official Plan Review. 7. Much discussion regarding the Federal Gas tax money, to come through the county to projects defined through the Integrated Community Sustainability Plan (ICSP) meetings in the county. “ Frontenac Islands is somewhat detached from the rest of the county and needs to be present at all of the sessions,” the Mayor said. “We need to look at regional needs but we have to look after ourselves.”
8. Electronic Waste: nothing new on provincial program. No local containers as yet. In the interim, residents will be advised to hang onto E waste. (TV’s, computers, telephones etc.) Don’t toss it.
Councillor Doyle wants the Wolfe Island Ferry EA pushed forward since there is the possibility of government infrastructure money. He also is wondering about the status of the Dispute Resolution Protocol left with (McIntosh Perry), and continues to have concerns about roads including 2nd Line where a section seems to encroach on wetland .This was done by the township not Canadian Hydro. There has been correspondence, and emails etc. about it.)
Mayor Vanden Hoek noted council is into 2nd half of term and everyone is working hard now. With more to come with the Official Plan, further consultations (historical building), committee work etc. “there is a need to balance out the work load.” He recommended that Councillor Grant take over the Big Sandy Bay file from Councillor Doyle. He also wants councillors to write in 50 words for February’s. meeting how they think amenities agreement funds should be used. He is looking for quotes about extra work on Simcoe Island ferry dock; progress regarding a park on Howe Island; the By Law Enforcement Officer to spend more time on Wolfe Island and finally he asks that the Plan for the Township developed with OMAFRA’s Brian Ritchie, be brought back to the February 9th Council Meeting , 6:30 pm, Howe Island
Around Town: *WI Business & Tourism Association AGM Feb. 19th . Details Coming. * Horne’s Ferry History with Bruce Horne, Wed. March 25th. (A WI Historical Society event) * And there is Euchre!
Dr. Erwin Batallia, , an avid birder and field naturalist was the guest speaker at the Friends of Big Sandy Bay (FOBSB) Annual General meeting. Dr. Battalia, RMC professor, has travelled throughout North America to observe raptors and is a frequent visitor to Wolfe Island looking for Snowy Owls and short eared owls. He said Wolfe and Amherst islands have the greatest number of Snowy Owls (aside from an area in Brantford).who come from the North in search of voles. He noted as well the presence of large numbers of Rough Legged and Red Tailed Hawks along with Raptors, Vultures and Hawks and Falcons. An enthusiastic presenter, Dr. Battalia took the group through a series of bird identification slides as well as outlining the results of last year’s Christmas bird Count.
At the same meeting outgoing FOBSB president Linda Van Hal outlined some of the major activities of the organization through the year highlighting work at the site. Presentations were made to members David Clarke and David Field and a slate of officers for election was presented by Ken Keyes that will see island resident, Vicki Johnson take over as president.
Frontenac Islands Councillor Dennis Doyle,and Chairman of the township’s Big Sandy Bay Stewardship Committee, took the opportunity to thank Linda Van Hal for her outstanding work with the committee originally chaired then by Councillor Wayne Grant in facilitating the opening of Big Sandy Bay, when she was the township’s Project Coordinator in 200, and her ongoing commitment to Big Sandy Bay through the Friends of Big Sandy Bay Association. “Your work has been outstanding,” he said.
Van Hal had announced that she was stepping down as president of FOBSB after 4-years, (2004-2008) noting that before 2001, like many islanders she had “only rarely been to Big Sandy Bay.” Between then and now, it is well known to islanders that Van Hal has become a force to be reckoned with in her appreciation of, and commitment to Big Sandy Bay.
When the township took over the operation of the management area in 2004, work began in earnest to open it to the public. At the same time Linda along with a dedicated committee formed the ‘Friends’ Association. Some of the current life members donated start-up funds and the Community Foundation of Greater extended a grant for a website. FOBSB was incorporated in 2005 and became a registered charity in 2006. At every opportunity Linda and members of FOBSB are at the site doing something to preserve and protect it, and with every physical addition to it by the township’s Steering Committee (Gatehouse, trails, viewing platform, etc) FOBSB has been there in support. They fund raise through book sales to provide such things as an all-terrain wheel chair, identification plaques, plants, trees etc. There have been annual Mother’s Day Walks, Seniors’ days, visitors tours and through it all, Linda has offered unwavering support. While she will no longer have an executive role in the organization she will continue to play an active part and has undertaken to update and enrich the website. Her commitment to Big Sandy Bay is an inspiration and we thank her.
The Big Sandy Bay property was acquired by the province in 1967 and from 1975 was managed by the Ministry of Natural Resources. A 57- hectare section was added in 2000 through the Eastern Habitat Joint Venture Program. In 2003 the agencies involved (Ducks Unlimited, Canadian Wildlife Service, Nature Conservancy of Canada, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources) entrusted the day to day management of the entire site to the township under the direction of its Stewardship Committee. Islanders had long been aware of Big Sandy Bay and ventured to its beach by boat, hiked to it up line roads or across private property but there were no public roads opened to the site. In fact there are those who believe “Big Sandy Bay” should never have been opened to the public.
Wolfe Island Wind on National TV. A recent CTV W5 program included a segment devoted to the establishment of wind farms. It highlighted remarks made by the Ontario Energy Minister George Smitherman at the Hydro Developers Melacthon Eco Centre promoting wind energy as a source of renewable power and his enthusiasm at the prospect of closing the Nanticoke coal fired generating station by 2014.
The W5 program was reasonable, but incomplete in its coverage and tended to pick up on the negative issues, citing one couple at the Melacthon Project who sold out and moved claiming health issues were caused by the turbines, and another on Wolfe Island who also sold and moved off the island during the construction phase of the island’s project. The program noted that opposition to wind farms is growing with groups forming who believe government regulations are not stringent enough to protect health or the environment, citing Prince Edward County where there are a number of wind farm proposals and a meeting in Scarborough. On the other hand it stated that there are already thousands of turbines in North America and very few complaints. And finally the program turned to Wolfe Island and a short interview with John Keating, the CEO of Canadian Hydro Developers who acknowledged that some people don’t like change while others embrace it. This was followed by statements from residents unhappy with the process which has brought wind towers to the island and who have ongoing personal concerns, as well as concerns related to birds, environment, etc, and with two others, delighted with the project, satisfied with the process and happy with the long term benefits to the whole community.
According to the host of the program Frontenac Islands Mayor Jim Vanden Hoek declined the request to be interviewed but had instead submitted an email to W5 which spoke of not only the economic benefits of the project to the community, but also of the community’s pride at being involved in providing green power.
Perhaps the most distasteful part of the program was to see the Mayor Vanden Hoek, who had just left WI’s Remembrance Day Service, with a microphone stuck in his face through his car window. This in my view is a very poor form of journalism, tacky TV and not worthy of CTV. But when all is said and done Folks, it’s like Kermit the Frog once said ”It’s tough being green sometimes.”
Around Town: * Frontenac Islands Council Mon. Jan. 12th, ,6:30 pm on Wolfe Island.*Canadian Hydro Developers is holding a monthly photo contest of the wind power project. Submit pictures to their island office or email: firstname.lastname@example.org before February 15th. * Euchre, St. Margaret’s Hall, Monday’s 8pm. * Community Euchre, Thursday’s ,WI United Church Hall, 6:45 pm.