Where to begin… With the wind plant? The rink? The ferry service? The Senior Residence survey? Recently as more and more wind towers go up, 70 of the 86 at last count, the media has begun to take what appears to be a new interest in Wolfe Island. Perhaps it is because, Kingston, locally at least, will be the beneficiary not only of the power generated by the Wolfe Island Wind Plant but much of the spin off in terms of tourism, new environmental program development and the province’s focus on “ going green.”
For island residents the development of the wind plant initially approved in November 2005, has been seen over the last many years as bad by some and a good thing by others, a welcome financial boost for the community as a whole, or a blight on the pastoral landscape and a danger for its natural habitat. At the same time Islanders have welcomed the flow of jobs, the (300 plus) wind plant workers and of course the dollars the project has generated thus far even before the project is operational and the anticipated long term future dollars. And whatever anyone has to say , good or bad, Canadian Hydro Developers Inc. has been not only a good employer but the company has bent over backward to cause the least amount of disruption to the island’s way of life or its life line, the ferry service. This winter the ferry was able to remain in remain in Marysville instead of moving to the winter dock with ice breaking paid for by Canadian Hydro who also paid for extra early morning ferry runs Tuesday’s and Fridays. And of course a barge has carried the bulk of heavy traffic for the project, except of course when the wind, which is what this project is all about, was blowing too hard.
In fact, wind has been the major setback for the entire project, already raising the price from $450 million to $475 million and delaying its completion. None the less within the next couple of weeks a number of the turbines (30 perhaps) will be put in motion and turbine blades, now facing every which way will begin to turn in synch. No doubt many people will be there to watch, to listen, to complain or rejoice that it’s finally happening. And of course at that time the post-construction follow-up process of the many aspects of the project will begin in earnest. But on that day, the project’s hard working, always cheerful, site supervisor Mike Jablonicky, (now a permanent island resident, and he can sing to) will be nearing the light at the end of the tunnel. www.wolfeislandwind.com
Wolfe Island’s Hockey Rink:
With the approval of Frontenac Islands council, and the determination of the township’s Community Centre Board (CCB)along with the $90,000 raised by them, plus the financial assistance ($100,000) from Hockey Night in Canada’s Don Cherry, a long time island resident, and the township’s $70,000 a new hockey rink was born.
A regulation hockey rink has been talked about, dreamed about for years. There have been many plans put forward but nothing that the island could ever hope to pay for. However when the CCBoard realized that it would be just a matter of days before the trucks, the crews, the cement plant, ALL on the island for the Wind Plant project, would be leaving, they scaled back their plan and asked for help by way of material, labour, services, equipment, specialized expertise and for volunteers. They got it all and in abundance and, with only 11 days to complete the major portion of the job, work began immediately. CCB member Danny Hulton a rink mover and shaker, has yet to stop smiling.
Digging happened. Gravel, sand, and trucks to dump it. Concrete came from Lafarge. Specialized equipment appeared to level and roll. Rebar for the pad, and whatever special piping is required for artificial ice was put in place for a time when sufficient funds can be raised for an ice machine and, hopefully a roof. And how about that insulation, plastic and taping! In spite of the cold, many volunteers including young people were all there to help working well into the evenings, and in typical island fashion, food arrived. Rink Champion Don Cherry happily signed autographs delighting in the going’s on. “This is a real community project, “ he said. And indeed it is! The quick response of the CCB and council meant that the township has achieved part of their dream at a significantly reduced cost.
What’s Up with the Ferry refit?
You have seen the note on the ferry, in the post office and else where that the Wolfe Islander 111 will not go into dry dock this spring as announced some weeks ago. According to the Ministry of Transportation only one bid to fulfill the requirements of the refit was received during the tendering process. “The bid received significantly exceeds the amount that we estimated forthe repairs and dry docking of the Wolfe Islander III ferry. We therefore are not awarding the contract at this time.” Recognizing the importance of maintaining the integrity of the tendering process and following the tendering protocol MTO will re-issue the bid in June with the work to be completed in the fall. However the ramp replacement work scheduled for this spring at the Barrack Street dock will proceed
Seniors’ Retirement facility.:
The conclusion drawn from the focus group discussions and from survey results is that there is a strong desire to have a reasonably sized and priced seniors’ residence on the island. However there are many questions to be answered before a shovel can go in the ground. The matter of size, number of units, water supply, sewage handling, location and land, type of structure, safety regulations etc. must be resolved before any discussion about management methods and operation can be worked out. The case for a solid business plan is important whether a facility is developed by a private entrepreneur or by a community not for profit group.
Around Town: *WI’s Jason and Christina Pyke chosen the 2009 Ontario Outstanding Young Farmers will represent Ontario at the National competition and compete for the title of Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers. *The WI Post Office has entered the new computerized age according to ‘Diane”our Post Master.
Coming events: *Ham Supper, St. Margaret’s Hull April 18th. Doors Open 4:30 pm. * “Out of the Trunk” Quilt Show, April 24th 6:30 to 9pm, April 25th 10am-4:30 pm Admission $3.00 *Frontenac Islands Council Howe Island Tues April 14th. 6:30 pm.
Wolfe Island’s Community Centre Board (CCB) received approval to move forward with their outdoor ice pad proposal at a special meeting of council held Friday March 13th, In the absence of Mayor Vanden Hoek, the meeting was chaired by Councillor Dennis Doyle. CCB members in attendance included Dan Hulton, George McAllister and Scott Hulton. Both Doyle and Councillor Wayne Grant represent council on the board. The special meeting was a follow up to the many meetings and discussions they have had with the committee members regarding the scope of their plan and the costs involved for the ice pad.
At the outset of the meeting, Councillor Doyle congratulated the members of the board for “all the money you have raised for the community over the last 7 or 8 years. You have done a lot of work and we thank you. We wouldn’t be here today except for your efforts,’ he said. Doyle noted that the committee members had been working extra hard over the last couple of weeks when they realized they had to move quickly with the assistance of the wind plant construction workers while they are still on the island
“You have over the last few years rationalized the scope of the original project proposal and have scaled it down to something we can afford to build and to operate. I think it is time to move forward,” Doyle said. With that, Council approved an expenditure of up to $252,000 by the Community Centre Board for site preparation, concrete, rebar, insulation, tubing and headers, and dasher boards for an the outdoor ice pad.
The ice pad will be located at the site of the old tennis court at the Community Centre grounds. A request will be made to Canadian Hydro to allow the Lafarge Cement plant to remain open 3 extra days beyond their planned closing date. Work has already begun at the site where fencing has been removed and the tennis court has been stripped down to bare rock to be filled with approximately four feet of various sizes of rock and gravel followed by a sand pad, tubing etc. The ice pad when completed will be concrete with the necessary piping for artificial ice in the future. A quick ask around the community indicates much support for the project.
Congratulations to Wolfe Island’s Jason and Christina Pyke who were chosen as the 2009 Ontario Outstanding Young Farmers. They received the top honour at the provincial awards ceremony held recently in London, Ont. Jason and Christina will now represent Ontario at the National competition being held from December 1-6th in Ottawa, where they will compete with other farmers from across Canada for the title of Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers.
The national competition is sponsored by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Bayer Crop Science, CIBC and John Deere.
Wolfe Island’s Business and Tourism Association president Linda Thomas outlined plans at the recent Frontenac Islands March 9th meeting including a number of requests for the island’s tourist season.. In response to a “First Impressions” report presented to the association, WIBTA will host a “Village Garden Competition,” with substantial prizes, as a way for businesses and homeowners to beautify Marysville. Rules for the competition are being drawn up but it will include different categories including window boxes and pots for those with limited space. “We hope to find sponsors,” Thomas said. With regard to another issue WIBTA has applied for students to assist in operating the Tourist Information Centre (10am-8pm) during July and August. She pointed out that a lack of public washrooms particularly in the evening hours is an ongoing complaint by village businesses. “I am asking the township to consider placing two portable toilets (May-Sept.) further down the ferry line at the public dock location beside the “Summer” shop.” She proposed a pad, locks and attractive fencing as well as solar street lamps and picnic tables at this public area for visitors and those attending swim/sail programs. Every municipality struggles with the question of public washrooms according to Frontenac Islands Mayor Jim Vanden Hoek “There is a reluctance not so much based on cost but because of liability issues and maintenance. You can end up with real problems using portables. I’m looking for a compromise step. The merchants do have some responsibility. This is March,” he said. WIBTA will come back to council with policies and costs(operation, budget dressing up the site, gravel) for a two month trial period.
Ms Thomas asked that since the island is a cycling destination that when roads #95&96 undergo repair that a base for a bicycle paths be included. The Mayor said that to do it right requires “champions”. “Someone needs to grab this expensive project. It won’t happen without ownership.” Councillor Doyle noted that federal money available. Thomas will follow up. She also requested that that parking bylaws are enforced during peak seasons, that waste barrels are emptied on weekends and that sidewalks that are broken or in poor repair on Road 96 from the ferry past Mosier’s Garage be repaired.
Returning once again to council, Trevor Van Allen accompanied by a number of residents from Emma Street was present to discuss his request to have Emma and Elizabeth Streets upgraded and assumed by the municipality. The mayor reminded council that there is no legal obligation to do so, that it would be a political decision, and that the issue would be dealt with by way of resolution. An intense discussion about the roads, size, materials, culverts, turn a round’s, the $6000.road deposit, local improvement, costs etc. followed. Councillor Doyle said that the original $6000.in today’s dollars would be enough to do Emma Street and that it would be up to the residents to complete Elizabeth. Deputy Mayor Fiene supported that concept but in the end the resolution that the Emma portion of the Woodman Development be brought up to standard and taken over by the Township was lost.(3-2). The Mayor said he was unsure how the issue could be brought forward again. A very frustrated Van Allen left the meeting asking, “What happened to the $6000?”
In other business Council received a positive “Annual Report for the Wolfe Island Waste Disposal Site” from Guy Laporte of the firm AECOM. He said closure of the site is slated for 2018 with a possible addition of one year. Some discussion followed regarding the neighbouring property, attenuation zone and ground water monitoring etc. The report will be submitted to Ministry of the Environment and to the property owner.
Frontenac County Treasurer Mrs. Marian. Vanbruinessen presented an update of the Frontenac Islands contract for financial services with the County. She outlined initiatives already in place (pay roll, tax bills) and her aim to provide quarterly reports noting that controls are a big issue. She is looking at ways of using bar codes for scanning tax bills etc. and has met with staff regarding policies and processes.
Council adopted a Tangible Asset Policy, as required by the Public Sector Accounting Board, meaning township accountability for everything township owned , (identification, value, amortization, longevity, disposal, documentation). They also passed a resolution to authorize the purchase of land.
Management of Big Sandy Bay falls to the Township’s BSB Stewardship Committee. Members include Councillor Dennis Doyle, Theresa Quist, Everett Hogan, Nadine Greenwood, Elise Huffman, Craig Hulton, Dan Mosier, Rick Lindgren, Barrie Gibert and a Ont. Ministry of Natural Resources representative as well as a Friends of BSB’s Linda Van Hall (back up Vicki Johnson).
Stone Heron Gallery owner Pat Sanford with the township’s permission will hang the mural depicting installation of the bubble system on the North side of the Community Hall.
Councillor Doyle presented the final Medical Clinic report highlights. He said results indicate there did not appear to be that great a demand for one; that a new facility be small, energy efficient; operating costs should not be a drain for the rest of the community; that it could be a modular factory built structure or constructed as an attachment to the existing Fire Hall. The report will be presented to the Medical Clinic board.
Councillor Grant said that the Townships Community Centre Board (CCB) is “looking to get prices for a cement rink pad” (The wind tower project’s cement plant is still on the island) and wonders if an engineers stamp is required. The Mayor while commending the CCB for raising money for the community reminded council members that the CCB must have council approval by resolution to move forward. “ While this is an opportunity, this is their vision, not ours and it has not been tested in the community,” he said. Councillors Doyle and Grant were to have further meeting with the CCB.
There was a reminder that council committee meetings are open meetings. The initial 2009 Budget meeting is March 30, 10 am on WI. (target date for budget completion May 11th) The Frontenac Islands April meeting will be held on Howe Island.
Around Town: WIBTA is looking for volunteers for the annual road race. Call Linda at: 385-1947.
Coming events: Wolfe Island’s Bruce Horne presents: The History of the Horne’s Ferry Service to the USA, Wednesday, March 25th at 7:30 p.m. Wolfe Island United Church Hall ( a WI Historical Society event.)
The Canadian Hydro Developers Wind Plant Project is moving towards completion in 2009, ending a majority of the hundreds of well paying jobs that opened up during the construction phase, (roads, gravel, cement, trucking, heavy equipment, barge and tug services, etc. etc.). Those, plus the hundreds of spin off jobs for the community makes one wonder what is next in the Greening of Wolfe Island once the road work to complete the project is finished.
It is true that with the towers located on Wolfe Island, the City of Kingston will be the beneficiary of 197.8 MW of renewable energy from the Canadian Hydro Developers Inc.’s EcoPower Centre on the island. It is also true that there will be a number of permanent jobs with Canadian Hydro Developers at the completion of the project (management, tower maintenance, education& training, information sessions) and of course there are any number of tourism projects including tours, combined events etc. that are sure to spin off in the community. But what now?
In 2007 OMAFRA’s Brian Ritchie undertook a community consultation, “Frontenac Islands 2007 and Beyond.” The process identified recreation, (facilities, programs) quality of life for senior’s (residence, programs), land use planning, opportunities for new business development and community improvements were identified as priorities.
Happening now is: An environmental assessment regarding water in Marysville and the Official Plan Review. The Medical Needs survey (supported by council) is nearing completion, and the Seniors Residence Needs Survey is ongoing. Consultations regarding the W.I. Community Hall and the recently acquired Heritage building are underway. The Committees of Council ( Big Sandy Bay, Community Centre Board etc.), Wolfe Island Business and Tourism and other community groups, organizations and businesses are gearing up for the spring and summer tourist season with annual events in the planning stage.
However when it comes to creating new jobs in these unusual times, the Municipality of Frontenac Islands, to my knowledge does not have one “shovel ready” project at this time. But Frontenac Islands has the land and the expertise to grow, produce and develop new green projects.
BIOMASS for Rural Vitality: Howe Island resident Ms. Shelagh McDonald - Executive Director of ELORIN (Eastern Lake Ontario Regional Innovation Network) was the guest speaker at the Wolfe Island Business and Tourism Association’s AGM. Her topic Biomass for Rural Vitality and ELORIN’s support for biomass projects, specifically Stonehedge Bio Resources, John Baker’s company which aims to become the production centre for hemp based materials (building materials, palletizing etc), and a source of revenue for farmers who grow hemp. Baker has also ventured into Hemcrete® a blend of a lime based binder and hemp which form a building material (like concrete) that combats climate change and will provides further opportunities for farmers to grow hemp. (Biomass as a renewable energy source for biofuel, fibers, chemicals and heat uses plant material from switch grass, hemp, corn, poplar, willow.)
McDonald said that hemp was grown right across the region to make ship’s sails. Industrial hemp continues to be grown in Europe, is Illegal in the United States and is presently a Canadian advantage because it survives the winters and grows for a much longer season. A lively discussion followed. For more information about ELORIN: www.elorin.ca
The 2009-2010 WIBTA Board of Directors: President Linda Thomas, Vice President Maureen Lollar, Treasurer Walter Knott, Secretary Liz Crothers, Directors: Judy Smitten, Patrick Carter, Marianne Demmer, Brian McDonald.
ARTISAN CHEESE CLUSTER: For years Wolfe Island was known for its cheese. The closure of the Kraft Plant spelled the end of island cheese making. But right now Frontenac County is part of a four-county initiative (Hastings, Prince Edward, Lennox and Addington and Frontenac) to explore the best ways to stimulate investment in and development of a local cheese cluster. Consultant Kathy Wood has been analysing the value chain for such an industry ––– identifying local assets and resources which could be part of an artisan cheese cluster: from milk and other input suppliers, milk/cheese distributors and people interested in working in artisan cheese to equipment suppliers, financiers, business advisors and retail outlets interested in carrying artisan cheeses made in our area. If you are interested in any aspect of the development of this cluster please let Kathy know: firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 613-376-6006 as soon as possible.
Health Needs Survey: The Health needs committee chaired by Councillor Dennis Doyle released the INITIAL results of the WI Medical Needs Survey. Some 23% of the surveys were returned. The results indicate that persons 56 years of age and their family members made up the bulk of the respondents. They and their households have a physician, are satisfied with the care they receive and are not actively looking for a physician. Walk in clinics are most popular for those without a physician. The survey suggests that 6.5 percent of those who responded are potential clients for a clinic. The majority of respondents suggested the clinic should be available 2 half days, and funded by private donations not tax dollars. Respondents are interested in blood pressure testing, foot care, immunization clinics, vision services and occupational therapy. The majority do not participate in exercise or health related classes, or are not interested, too busy or too lazy for exercise. Most are interested in a modular factory built structure or an addition to the Fire Hall. Common feed back suggests that residents who now have doctors in Kingston, are reluctant to switch in case the doctor does not stay. A community meeting to meet the doctor and to hear the Medical Board’s plan for a facility was recommended.
Around Town:1. Congratulations to proud parents WI residents Kim Meathrel and Neil Michelutti on the safe arrival of their daughter Sadie, a sister for Vaughn ”on board” the ferry. Thanks to the island’s Paramedic Service. 2. Congratulations to Regiopolis Notre Dame student Trina Ghiacy, who has been awarded a Chancellor’s scholarship to attend Queens. The Ghiacy family originally from Afghanistan lived on Wolfe Island for five years. 3. Thanks to Lianne Cunningham for bringing David Francey (in concert) to the island. Great music. Great stories. Great venue.
Coming Events:*World Day of Prayer Fri. March 6th, 1pm Trinity Anglican Church. * Seniors Luncheon Sacred Heart School, 12 noon Sat. March 14th. * Hear about Horne’s Ferry Wed. March 25th 7:30 pm WI United Church. *And there is Euchre !