Frontenac Islands Mayor Vanden Hoek invited council members to submit their ideas how the money guaranteed in the wind plant amenities agreement with Canadian Hydro Developers should be spent when it begins flowing. “You have to think that it will begin delivering before this term of council ends and there will be demands on how it is handled,” the mayor said at the February council meeting. For discussion purposes he proposed a 1/3 allocations to a Heritage Fund ( long term needs), property tax reduction and new capital /operating initiatives with business plans and professional advice. The mayor added that he had spoken with an official in Gananoque where four funds were established to deal with casino money and it does not work well. “The council of the day thought they were solving a problem for the next council by allocating money to certain spots without a capital planning process or a public discussion with constituents and ended up with mill rate increases every year because the line up at the door was so long. “I know there is support for a rink, extended living and other facilities but if you want to spend money, first identify and allocate it with the community and set guidelines.We can’t have all this money coming into a municipality that only raises $1.4 million in taxes without a community discussion and a process in place on how to handle it,” the mayor said. “Capital projects are tough and high priced.”
Councillor Doyle suggested a steering committee, consultant services, the Brian Ritchie report ‘Frontenac Islands 2007 & Beyond’ for some direction and capitalizing on the island’s environmental focus to set priorities. Councillor Grant agrees with guidelines and priority and noted tax money would come from the 86 wind tower bases.
Council will begin a consultative process to establish the terms of reference and guidelines to determine community aspirations.
In other business, WI resident Mrs Gail Kenney reiterated concerns about wet lands and work done on the 2nd and 3rd line roads expressed in emails between the Kenney’s, Canadian Hydro Developers and the township. Kenny presented pictures of the road work. ”Did it adhere to the Official Plan?”. She wanted immediate answers to questions related to permits for the road work, its start date and completion, material used from where, its quality and what can be done about it by the township. (The assumption being errors were made by the township.) In response, CAO Terry O’Shea said he met with McIntosh Perry’s Steve Archibald and the township’s roads department regarding her concerns and the letter that would be sent in responce no later than Feb.13th. “My suggestion is get the letter and see what the results are,” the mayor commented.”However in terms of whether we acted inappropriately during some of the road work or without a permit is very subjective and I don’t think the municipality is going to respond to that.”.
Summer Sailing Program: WI resident Nicole Clark presented a proposal for an Ontario Sailing Associations Mobile Boom program “Summer Learn to Sail Camp” for Frontenac Islands on Wolfe Island booked from July 20 to July 24 , 9am-4pm for youngsters 8-14 years of age. It will be offered at the new township dock in Marysville Clark requested $2500 in funding to help reduce the cost per applicant. (The cost of the program is $4,490.) The organizers come with their van, 8 boats, two instructors, and a crash boat and needed equipment. “The program will be advertised in Kingston, and will require volunteer help,” Clark added. Council approved a total of up to $2,500 from the Communities in Action Grant for sports programs (obtained by Peggy Smith) and not yet spent.
MPAC Valuations:Council members engaged in a discussion about property assessments driven by market rates based on a Jan. 1, 2008 valuation and the changes in the present economic climate, and will petition the province to review the assessment system and implement instead one that sets the value of the property at the time of sale, then fixes the assessment, with annual COLA adjustments until the next sale of a property. Council believes the 25 to 100 % increases unfairly impact on seniors, fixed and low income persons and persons less able to absorb such increases.
DEER HUNT:Howe Island resident Gene Manion talked about problems of an increasing deer population on Wolfe Island and possible solutions (cull, shot gun hunt rather than just bow).” How Island has a shot gun hunt.
The mayor said in the past it has always been the municipality putting forth the request for change (shot gun) because of concerns expressed about road kill, crop damage and each time there was a strong push back by the island’s strong bow hunting lobby group and residential property owners as opposed to landowners. It is a council decision and takes about a year for any change, tags etc. following a clear set of MNR guidelines. In the past council made a request but did not make the decision to go ahead. The mayor noted that MNR has said a shot gun will have an impact on deer numbers but that a bow hunt won’t do it. Deputy Mayor Fiene said the shot gun hunt and coyotes’ have done good work on Howe Island. Council will table a resolution to MNR requesting a change (1week shot gun hunt) for the March meeting
The township will petition MTO for subsidy for the operational costs of the Howe Islander and the Simcoe Island ferries as per their ferry agreement. Council adopted the Frontenac Islands 2009 Community Profile prepared by Tunnock Consulting Limited. Council meets next March 9th 6:30 pm Wolfe Island.
Around Town: 1. Councillor W. Grant urges WI residents to complete and return the Seniors Residence Community survey. Participation in both the Medical Needs survey and the Seniors Residence survey will help clarify community needs. 2.Can. Hydro Developers has announced that due to harsher than expected weather the WI Wind Project is expected to achieve a target in-service date of June 30, 2009 (previously March 31stWork continues with 45 towers erected to date. They expect that the first two of six electrical circuits, ( approximately 30 turbines will be providing energy to the provincial grid in April.
Coming Events:* Beat the Winter Blues Feb 21st U C Hall 9am-2pm.* Pancake Supper UC Hall Feb.24th doors open 4:30 pm.*David Francey Concert, Trinity Anglican Feb.27th 8 m. Tickets Fargo’s –Mosier’s ($30. at the door) *World Day of Prayer March 6th 1 pm Trinity Anglican
This year, due to higher than expected water levels, the Wolfe Islander III continues to operate from the Marysville dock. Extra early morning trips remain in place, paid for by Canadian Hydro Developers to help ease traffic loads on the ferry. A tug boat also contracted by Canadian Hydro has been keeping the channel open during severe winter ice. At the same time a jack up ramp on the opposite side of the barrack street terminal is in place to accommodate the huge barge that carries large machinery, trucks, equipment, etc. to the Canadian Hydro Developers Wind Plant project on the island. On the island a system to reduce the number of wind plant related large trucks etc. boarding the ferry to go off the island has been instituted which gives priority to local island traffic and service vehicles. But as we all know any change or disruption to the Wolfe Island ferry service puts worry and fear into the hearts of islanders.
Most recently a short reference to the Barrack Street Ferry Terminal and the Frontenac II in The Heritage (Jan.22nd) did just that. The article outlined some of the work to being undertaken by the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) over an approximate two month period from late March to May at the Kingston ferry terminal including the replacement of the hydraulic lift system and boarding ramp. In order to reduce traffic disruption MTO has received a 9-day, noise exemption from the city of Kingston to allow work to go on 24 hours a day. Further it stated that the Frontenac II would be put into service loading on the other side of the dock.
MTO spokes person Brandy Duhaime, Regional Communications Coordinator, in an exchange of messages, confirmed much of the above but added that a number of things related to the Wolfe Island ferry service are happening this year.
The Wolfe Islander III will go out of service for its required five year underwater inspection and refit and is expected to remain in dry dock for approximately 2 months. While out of service, the Frontenac II from Amherst Island will provide service to Wolfe Island. And it is while the Wolfe Islander III is gone, that MTO has a contract, expected to take nine days, to replace the ramp system at the Kingston ferry terminal. When completed the Wolfe Island ramps will also be replaced.
The Frontenac II normally will ‘side load’ at the end of the dock during that period of time. It can carry tractor trailers but when side loading, it can only carry straight trucks. However, MTO is in discussion with Canadian Hydro Developers looking at other options and the logistics around these operations. For instance if Canadian Hydro leaves the semi permanent jack-up barge, the Frontenac II loading from it, could possibly be used as roll on, roll off for the 9 days while the ramp is being replaced.
On a longer term issue, according to MTO, the Environmental Assessment for the Wolfe Island ferry services is currently in the tendering process. Their plan is to initiate the study in the spring of 2009. And so it goes..
Two Studies Underway on Wolfe Island - Surveys the Next Step: Two very distinct projects are presently underway on Wolfe Island. With both, surveys are being mailed. The greater the participation, the better the results for both.
The first, a “needs assessment for medical and health services for islanders” is supported by the Township of Frontenac Islands. A team of WI Medical Board directors including Donna Ivimey, Kathy Gilbert, Walter Knott and Councillor Dennis Doyle are working with a consultant to determine needs. The process thus far has included a series of community “focus group” meetings with past members of the WI Medical Clinic Board, a group of mature island citizens, residents with young children and finally the Ambulance Service, all in an effort to understand community concerns, what they see as priorities for medical and health services and their delivery on the island. In order to reach the broader community a survey will be mailed to all island residents for their input into the process so as to ensure that all needs are taken into consideration. On the health services side, the survey will help determine what other kinds could be provided in any future facility On the medical side with the arrival of Dr. Deanna Daneshmend, the survey will help determine her requirements with regard to a facility. The survey results, along with the focus group inputs, will be incorporated into a business plan which will determine how services could be delivered, what kind of a facility is required and how to financially manage it all. Residents are encouraged to fill out the survey and leave it at the town hall or at Fargo’s store.
A second Wolfe Island study regarding the possibility of a retirement facility for seniors was initiated by a small group of islanders some time ago. A steering committee including Councillor Wayne Grant, Councillor Doyle and Walter Knott is now in place to help the group move the study forward. A similar process with a focus group meeting and a resident survey will determine the need and the willingness of islanders to have such a retirement facility. A business plan will be prepared and made available to any group or entrepreneur interested in undertaking the project. The Frontenac Community Futures Development Corporation has committed to underwriting the cost of the “business plan” with the support of the Wolfe Island Business and Tourism Association.
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!
Good News for Wolfe Island
The Wolfe Island Medical Clinic Board was pleased to announce that Dr. Deanna Daneshmend , MD is offering (family) medical services on the island. A practicing physician since 1999, she is a member of the Kingston Family Health Team with offices at 401-800 Princess Street. Her arrival on Wolfe Island brings to an end a very long search for a permanent doctor and affords a new opportunity in medical care for islanders and access to increased services.
Following the departure of a previous physician to Hamilton, Kingston physician Dr. Hans Westenberg began what was supposed to be a temporary position offering a walk-in clinic at WI Medical Clinic Thursday afternoons. The temporary service lasted five years. In May of 2008 the Medical Clinic building burned to the ground and Dr. Westenberg began seeing walk-in patients at the WI Ambulance Hall located next door.
Dr. Daneshmend held her first clinic Tuesday, Jan. 20th and will return to the island every Tuesday beginning at 2:40 pm (except for emergencies) until early evening at this same location. She invites those residents who currently Do Not have a family doctor to join her family practice (with her as their family physician).
The WI clinic will be managed on an appointment basis made by calling the doctor’s secretary Wendy (613) 650-5471. Walk-in patients will be seen at the clinic if necessary. However Dr. Daneshmend strongly encourages patients to see their own doctor for on-going health care.
For the past several months a planning process including a needs assessment has been underway to determine the requirements of the community for medical services. Dr. Daneshmend has indicated her willingness to be involved in this process.