by Margaret Knott
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Annual Archives
Margaret Knott's What's New on Frontenac Islands articles appear with the kind permission of the The Kingston Heritage Newspaper.

July 25, 2009
Sailing in the Winds of Wolfe Island

The weather has not deterred the youngsters enrolled in a 5-day summer ‘learn to sail camp’ on Wolfe Island offered by the Ontario Sailing Association. The association’s Boom Mobile Program introduces children ages 8-14 to the sport of sailing and gives them the opportunity to develop their sailing skills. Children are taught the basics of sailing using the Canadian Yachting Association’s White Sail Level 1, 2 and 3 standards. The sailing program, arranged for the island by Nicole Clark, is a first in a number of years, although ideally the island affords a great opportunity for sailing programs and events.
Parents and grandparents were on hand to watch the children take off on their first day after what probably seemed like a long time to sit in their Pico Laser boats listening for last minute instruction.


The joy of it all can be summed up in the words of a youngster as he sailed away from the township’s new dock and shouted at the top of his lungs.. “I’m sailing.” The enthusiasm with which the program has been received augers well for its return, (maybe longer) next year.

Posted by M Knott at 12:42 PM
July 24, 2009
An Alternative Energy Hub - Sustainability on everyone’s mind these days!

Frontenac Islands Mayor Jim Vanden Hoek is excited about green and renewable energy, not just because of the wind towers on Wolfe Island but because of the swirl of activity going on in the city, county and region noting as well the recognition and financial support Queen’s and St. Lawrence College have received from the province for their efforts in alternative energy. “With the wolfe Island wind project virtually complete and aware of the activity (green projects) in Eastern Ontario I started to ask what’s next,” the Mayor said at the July meeting of Frontenac Islands council. “How are we going to take advantage of all that is going on, not just on Wolfe Island?” That resulted in an (interactive ) strategy summit in April where the talk was about research and development, education, training investment, branding and a strategy for creating a centre for alternative renewable energy. “ My question was how do we pull it all together? What has to happen for this area to be recognized? The response to the concept of recognition was overwhelming,” the mayor said .

Anne Marie Young, County Economic Development Officer presented an update on the subject noting that there was representation at the April meeting from Queens, St. Lawrence College, KEDCO, FCFDC, Can. Hydro, all there to talk about an integrated alternative energy vision and a strategy to make it happen. Since then Frontenac County has taken the lead submitting an application to FCFDC with a plan to look for proposals from companies or individuals supporting a strategy for the creation of a green region, and the development of renewable energy and green technologies. In receipt of $60,000 a consultant will be engaged to work with a broad range of stake holders to develop a 5-year business plan to include structure, governance, marketing and branding etc. “ Of course using the WI wind plant on Wolfe Island as a catalyst. So we have to think bold, be creative and execute well,” Young said adding that it is important to get the message out. Further funding of the project will be sought from the Ontario Development Fund. . “We need to partner with some people who are really excited by all this, like Lafarge,” Councillor Fiene added.
In other business there was no objection to Mayor VandenHoek taking on the role of chair of the Community Centre Board (CCB) committee. Before passing a bylaw to appoint a new board the mayor commented that the board membership is new with very little overlap. “Much credit is due to the outgoing board who have done an outstanding job,” he said.”They have raised more funds and shown real leadership. At the same time the new ice rink with refrigeration capability (rare for a community of this size,) a result of the generosity of the suppliers and the work of the board, will become one of the municipality’s largest capital projects. (half a million) in its further planning and implementation. I think there is a broader role for council to play . The CCB (a committee of Council) much like the Medical Clinic Board (not a committee of council) operate somewhat independently but I think there is a responsibility for the municipality to be there more than we are now. I don’t think we should be sitting in the front row but they need our support.” The mayor went on to say that there had been some talk at the council table that perhaps the chair of the Community Centre Board should be a member of council like the chair of the Big Sandy Bay Committee and that the rink project has moved forward without federal of provincial help, lots of fund raising and some taxpayer dollars. Given the size of the project, we have to be there. “This is a little unusual,” Vanden Hoek said. “ For the first time I have put my name forward to sit on a committee and use whatever influence I may have to support not only the committee but the project. I think we need political participation in asking for money.” he concluded. Councillor Grant also acknowledged the work of the outgoing board and gratefulness for materials donated for the project .

Councillor Doyle commented that after some consultation with WIBTA’s Linda Thomas opportunities are there to submit grant applications: eg. Healthy Communities Fund; FCFDC for 3 phase power and the Trillium Foundation.
Community Centre Board appointments: Mayor Jim Vanden Hoek, Councillor Wayne Grant, George Mc Allister, Paul Hogan, Leslie Prevost, Amanda Kyle, Tony Garrido and Clint Broeders.
Councillor Doyle informed council that special matting was placed at Big Sandy Bay by members of the Stewardship committee assisted by the Friends of BSB, which will make it possible for the large tire wheel chair to travel over a sand dune to the beach. He also spoke of the low flow toilets that have been installed using rain water. “Two significant improvements,” he said. Much credit to Frank Van Hal for latter.
KPMG’s Virginia Leakey presented the 2008 Audit and Financial statements. She acknowledged that 2008 was a significant year for the township
Appointment of Howe Island’s Social, Cultural Recreational Activities Committee postponed . Discussion re trailer bylaw was not on the July agenda .
The draft Official Plan has been circulated but the Mayor was not pleased that some items submitted by council to Tunnock Consulting were not included., while other items were there without council approval. All to be reviewed prior to final approval maybe by September? Council meets next July 13th 6:30 pm Howe Island
Around Town: *Recruiting for Ambulance Volunteers now closed.. Very good response says WI’s Sally Kane but training takes time.
*Canadian Hydro held an open house at their Echo Centre on the 5th Line for land owners with towers. Just a pleasant get together, meet the staff, a show and tell and food presented by the WI Women’s Institute.
* No indication yet who placed 86 small plaster hands on the 2nd line. Saying what, I’m not sure.
* Ferry travel is incredibly difficult these days. Long waits.
Coming events:* Medical Clinic Board announces: “Sod Turning” for new Medical Clinic, Sat. July 25th 10 am
* Container ” Model Home”design, Stone Heron Gallery, July 25th , 10am All Day
*WI Historical Society event, Wed. July 29th 7:30 pm WI United Church Hall.
* WI Family Ball Tournament Aug. Long weekend.
*WI Music Festival Aug. 7th and 8th. * Scene of the Crime, Aug. 15 th, Call 613-385-2648 or

Posted by M Knott at 12:17 PM
July 17, 2009
The Wolfe Island Scene of the Crime Festival celebrates its 8th year

Plans are well underway for Wolfe Island’s annual Scene of the Crime Festival now in its 8th year to be held on Aug.15th. The event brings together many of Canada’s mystery writers and enthusiastic readers to the island home to Canada’s first Crime writer Grant Allen. Allen was born in 1848 at Ardath Manor, the home, of the Baron de Longueuil family, making the island the right location for “The Scene of the Crime.” (Allen was a friend of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes)
This year’s Grant Allen Award (inaugurated in 2004) for pioneering work in the field of mystery and crime writing will be presented to Toronto’s Peter Robinson (Inspector Banks, Gallows View). Writers joining Robinson on the island will include: Rosemary Aubert, author of the Ellis Portal mystery series; Rick Blechta brings his musician's viewpoint to crime writing, (When Hell Freezes Over); Barbara Fradkin, a psychologist (Honour Among Men), and David Rotenberg, master acting teacher, (Zhong Fong detective series).
The event will also include a guest lecture with crime reporter Rob Tripp and a full day of programs, panels, short story contest, a writing workshop with mystery author Vicki Delany and, of course, the annual church supper.
The Scene of the Crime Board has an extensive “out reach” program throughout the year including its annual short story contest, a ‘local’ school writing program, and books for Wolfe Island library plus a donation for more books.
For Information about this event call 613-385-2540 or email

(not posted in EMC Kingston)

Posted by M Knott at 02:03 PM
July 10, 2009
Wolfe Island Water EA presents interesting alternatives for discussion

Perhaps one of the more important meetings held on Wolfe Island recently was the 2nd public information session to present the community with updated material about drinking water supply alternatives. XCG Consultants has undertaken a Marysville Waterworks Class EA on behalf of the township to determine a long- term drinking water supply. A common comment in the questionnaire distributed by XCG at the first meeting held in April was that sewage servicing should considered at the same time or, before water services.
XCG’s Cameron Smith and Julie Runions in their presentation noted that about 30% of KFL&A Public Health “Private Water Samples” records indicate evidence of bacterial contamination. (This data is for all of Wolfe Island, whether raw samples, re-samples, treated samples); that many communities have implemented drinking water systems before sewage systems; that the KFL&A Health unit will be inspecting systems that make drinking water available to the public and determine requirements for its safety as well as the impact on the owners of the systems, whether or not Marysville ends up with a municipal drinking water system. Also that a sewage system costs 1.5 times that of a water system.
As for water supply approaches, the 2 ranked alternatives are: 1.(Alt.7) construction of a distribution system with drinking water supplied by Kingston. 2. (Alt.5) construction of a surface water drinking water supply with distribution system from Lake Ontario/ St. Lawrence.
The first option would consist of a connection to Kingston’s water treatment system, and metering, with a 3 to5 km long pipe from Kingston to Dawson Point and a 3.5km transmission water main to Marysville.
If a mutually amenable arrangement cannot be reached with Kingston then the second alternative could be used which means pipes out into the main channel of the St. Lawrence River off Dawson’s Point, submerged a minimum of 3 metres, building a water treatment facility in that area and a 3.5km transmission water main to Marysville.
The next steps are to: receive comments and establish the preferred alternative; continue consultation with agencies and Kingston and once again present preliminary design concepts to the public. It is interesting to note that the idea of linking with Kingston’s clean water supply was rejected out of hand some months ago as impossible. However, at this time, based on the probable costs presented by XCG for homes, businesses and the township, it appears to be the most cost effective alternative.
Frontenac Islands Passes 2009 budget. As it turns out on both Wolfe Island and Howe Island the value of property assessments increased. For WI the funds to be raised locally are $35,000. lower than the prior year. This means that the combination of a larger assessment base and lower demand gives an 18.7% reduction in the ward tax rate. For Howe Island the funds to be raised locally are $10,000 higher than in 2008. But with the larger assessment base it means a 6.3% reduction in the ward tax rate. However, and a very big however, the county taxes are higher due to their larger demand overall, and it means a 6.4% increase for them. Similarly the education tax demand (from the province) is higher by 9.34%. The end result of these ups and downs is an overall increase in the tax rate for both island wards by 3.25%. It means we all will pay more taxes this year.
Around Town: 1. FYI Councillor Dennis Doyle was one of 3 elected representatives, including Central Frontenac Deputy Mayor Gary Smith and North Frontenac Dep. Mayor Jim Bean to the Frontenac County Trails committee to resign because their version of the draft Trails Master plan (their mandate to develop) which addresses trail management, was not the version presented to County Council and, because of a resolution passed at County Council which Doyle says gives “county staff control of the project.”
At this point, according to Doyle, the elected members on the K & P Trail Committee are trying to resolve the issue of staff taking control of the Trails Master Plan to ensure that the electorate across the county have a voice on what is included, and how the trails are managed and funded.
2. A Heads Up: Recently Thomas Mohr and WIslander Judy Greenwood-Speers presented a concept for home construction using shipping containers with the possibility of opening the new business “WI Canadian Cargotecture Solutions” on the island to number of residents and business leaders. As always, with a little skepticism about something new but at the same time recognizing that the concept might lend itself to a number of situations, there was a request to see a design model of a model home. To that end a design of a (container)” Model Home” will be unveiled at the Stone Heron Gallery on Saturday, July 25th at 10 am and remain on display all day. 3. W.I.’s Dennis Mosier has been named Treasurer of the Canadian Plowing Association. Dennis has been involved as an enthusiastic participant in every aspect of plowing, as a plowman, match organizer and very particularly as a “judge extraordinaire”. Congratulations Dennis. (The WI Plowing Match is Sat. Sept.12th.) 4. Best wishes to Leon Fawcett who recently retired after many years of service as Captain of the Wolfe Islander. 5. The Stone Heron Gallery is now OPEN. Also open Thursday to Sunday is the WI Museum on Leander Street. *The recent ecumenical event in honour of St. Paul held at the WI United Church provided an opportunity for all to learn something new, and offered another occasion to pray together. * Much going on re the Wind Farm these days. Remember Canadian Hydro Comment Line 613-385-2752 E-Mail An Incidental Avian and Bird observation form is posted on their website at Post Construction follow up is important
Coming Events:*WI Historical Society presents Jane Craig, President ‘Lost Village Historical Society Wed. July 29th 7:30 pm WI United Church Hall. Her experiences of “The Great Floods of 1958” and the impact of the St. Lawrence Seaway. * WI Family Ball Tournament Aug. Long weekend. *The 11th Annual Wolfe Island Music Festival Friday /Saturday, Aug. 7th and 8th. Main Stage at the Marysville Baseball diamond Sat. 1pm start. Confirmed bands include among others: Sara Harmer, Holy F*k, Busdriver, The Rural Alberta Advantage Woodhands, Ohbijou,… *The Sailing Program is now full. *WI Corn Maze opens Aug.1st .* WI Scene of the Crime, Sat. Aug. 15 th, Call 613-385-2540 or email for more info on this community event *WI FireDepartment 7th Annual Golf Tournament (Alston Moor Links- WI Riverfront) Sat. Aug. 22nd Contact:385-2541

Posted by M Knott at 12:33 PM
July 02, 2009
Heritage Museum Approved for Wolfe Island

The Wolfe Island Historical Society has received unanimous approval to establish a museum (July1st-Sept.7th) on the island by Frontenac Islands council following a proposal presented by the Society’s president Captain Brian Johnson for the use of the LaRush house, the island’s oldest building for that purpose at their June meeting.


The house located on the north shore of the island, just east of the ferry dock on Leander Street (Beside The Island Grill) was purchased by the township for its heritage value and its water front location. The date of its construction is estimated to be any time between 1860 or the early 1900’s. While the property was purchased in 1919 by Louis LaRush, a descendent of original island settlers, it is not clear whether the building was standing. Some say it originally was a school moved to its present location.
The Historical Society will use the “Old House” as a summer museum from July 1st to Sept. 7th, opening from 11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Thursday through Sunday and will take responsibility for the daily operations of the Museum and its’ volunteers as well as the interior of the building and the exterior upkeep of the property. The Society will also seek out information regarding heritage building restoration. As stated in their proposal, “only by actually using the “Old House,” will it be possible to see the potential for permanent versus seasonal museum.” Interest in exhibiting has already come from both Women’s Institutes
In the long term the Society will begin to fund raise, seek out grants for the restoration and maintenance of the structure, exhibit cases, etc. (Other than its ownership and insurance the Township does not intend to financially support any other project).
It was at a public meeting in May to hear what was required to preserve, restore and rehabilitate the “Old House” that the Historical Society’s Vicki Stewart declared the island’s need for a museum and Frontenac Islands Mayor Vanden Hoek said a group could be empowered to take over the municipal property as a museum and asked for a proposal.

Posted by M Knott at 10:22 AM