Well known for her work in culinary tourism development in Prince Edward County, one of the province’s fastest growing destinations, Rebecca LeHeup was the guest speaker at the annual general meeting of the Wolfe Island Business & Tourism Association (W.I.B.T.A.) LeHeup is the executive director of OCTA, the Ontario Culinary Tourism Association which builds capacity for the Ontario culinary tourism supply chain by increasing relationships between growers and processors, chefs, B&B’s and distributors to create new culinary tourism experiences based on a sustainable food system.
Rebecca works with regions across the province to advance culinary tourism (Ontario Culinary Strategic Plan-Ministry of Tourism) a subject that clearly is becoming more and more important to Wolfe Island food producers and those involved in tourism, particularly WIBTA. It was her first trip to the island.
Following a buffet meal prepared by local resident Maureen Lollar, using ONLY locally grown island food, meats, vegetables, eggs, herbs, condiments etc., an enthusiastic LeHeup, (introduced by WIBTA president Linda Thomas) sprang into action sharing her enthusiasm for what she sees are the connections between agriculture, tourism and culture.
“Culinary Tourism is any food and drink experience that reflects the community’s heritage. It is going to the Corn Maze, gathering pumpkins, picking apples. It is local cheese and wine, it is festivals and events celebrating local food, its heritage and the stories surrounding it,” LeHeup said. “It’s all about eating local food and drawing tourists to your community to do the same. So my job is to work with Ontario communities, to help and build support, identify assets and resources, how we share and tell our story so that local sustainable agriculture is the base of tourism.” Commenting on Wolfe Island’s “Linger Longer” she said it was important to determine the island’s vision as a destination of choice and branding its products.
She cited examples of regions, Peterborough and Collingwood among others that are involved in culinary tourism along with 5 original regions (identified by the Ministry of Tourism) including Prince Edward County, that hold events and festivals related to using local foods to promote tourism. “Collingwood has its Apple Pie Trail. You have strawberries,” she said. “There are ways to celebrate local food. I am here to help and will be back for the island’s annual run.”
In response to a question from Mayor Vanden Hoek about the amount of money involved in developing Prince Edward County as a tourist destination, LeHeup said Rural Economic Development grants were available and she began a very successful fund raising campaign. Responding to further questions she spoke of tracking return on investment, of sponsorships, leveraging what you have and .50 cent dollar Municipal and Federal Industry grants available for the promotion of local foods as well as the importance of developing a business model. Taste trails and arts trails, creating a market, ‘what’s growing locally-farmer-chef meet and greet’ events, festivals-strawberry-garlic, form a local producer/business committee, leverage with Kingston, etc., etc. “You must be passionate about what you are doing, a risk taker,” she said.
A number of the local producers identified what they are doing. *Windkeeper Community Farm – Kathy Rothermel, transitional organic vegetables, herbs, and some fruit, ‘great success with garlic.’ *Pykeview Meadows-Jason & Christina Pyke, Bison meat, bison leather goods, stalls at Kingston and Ottawa Public Markets; *Van Wagner Farm (17th line) provides fresh, local fruits and vegetables, as well chickens. *Rob White- beef, has a shop at the farm, sells locally, and in Kingston; *Jan Broeders, Market Garden,Hwy.#95, 3 days in Kingston and on the island; *Hank Connell- growing vines; sells maple syrup products.; *George Merry- pheasants, but inability to process and stringent regulations, are limiting factors; island products/produce were displayed and also included local honey, WI Bakery treats and Henderson Farm jams and jellies.
Mayor Vanden Hoek was enthusiastic in his praise for the evening’s presentation and for what is evolving on the island. “We are at a rebirth. We have new enthusiastic and serious producers, “ he said. “There are ways the township can support them and this possible venture into culinary tourism on the island.”
Guests at the meeting included Anne Marie Harbec Executive Director, Rideau Heritage Route Tourism Association, Justin Lafontaine Projects Director, Transportation Options, Ontario Cycle Tourism Forum and Anne Pritchard , Ex. Director, Frontenac Community Futures Development Corp. Representatives from Wolfe Island’s Community Centre Board, Historical Society and Medical Clinic Board were also in attendance.
Also present at the meeting was Jennifer Hutson (email@example.com) who brought forward information about “Celebrate 1812” festivities in the planning stages for 2012 and possible funding sources for local events should Wolfe |Island choose to become involved.
The Cataraqui Source Protection Committee (CSPC) has been working on a project to protect local drinking water sources. It has been studying municipal residential drinking water systems and has begun a round of meetings to present their findings to the different municipal councils. Most recently members of the CSPC attended the Township of Frontenac Islands February meeting..
On hand to update council on the Source Protection Assessment Report was Rob McRae, Project Manager, accompanied by John Williamson, Chair of the Source Protection Committee and Kevin Riley, a member of the SPC. They hope to have a draft report available by April for public consultation, which will then be reviewed by the committee and a 2nd draft in June again for a 2nd round of consultation. (The final source protection plan must be submitted to the Ministry of the Environment by August 2012) the next phase involves a source protection plan, a public policy document that looks at all the actions that are happening to protect the water (existing, potential) and develops, implements and update a detailed course of action.
“All this to happen locally before it is sent off to the Ministry of the Environment,” said McRae as he began his power point presentation. . Thus far the study has looked at water budgets, low water sheds, risks around ground water, vulnerable areas around Kingston water intakes, specific mapped areas and determined pockets of stress resulting from low water etc. etc.
As regards the safe area around the City of Kingston water intake, “I would see a need for dialogue between Frontenac Islands municipality and the city of Kingston. If through your water EA process your township should choose to look into Kingston facilities it would become your source water as well, “ McRae said.
“ What if there are policies lets say about ground water that the City of Kingston wants to overlay on this municipality and
and we don’t agree, who will jump in and sort that out?” Mayor Vanden Hoek asked. “Most people don’t understand the limitations of a small community. Our revenue raised by taxation is about a half a million a year. There are agencies with budgets bigger than that, but the size of magnitude on small rural municipalities is lost, and causes real frustration to me,” he added.
To a further question from Howe Island’s Gene Manion raising concern about the effects of Kingston sewage discharges on the islands, McRae indicated the committee’s willingness to help.
In other business; Following an in camera meeting, council passed a resolution establishing the purchase price for the sale of the road allowance on Wolfe Island in lot 1, between Concessions 14 & 15 at $44,000 (plus all costs). The funds will be used to pay the balance owing on the “Larush House” owned by the township and now in use by the WI Historical Society as “The Old HouseMuseum”
Council also passed an interim tax levy bylaw which allows the township to distribute the township’s tax bills, as well as another bylaw to establish fees and fares for the Howe Island ferry and will submit their 2009 request to the Ministry of Transportation for a subsidy of is $221,359.80 to operate the Simcoe Island ferry.
Council also approved applications for tax adjustment made by Duncan and Beverley Pyke. They also supported a resolution by the Township of Front of Yonge concerning the increasing livestock damage by coyotes and lastly made a $200. donation to the Canadian Red Cross for the Haiti Relief Fund.
There was some discussion about Land O’Lakes advertising materials. WIBTA will be asked to look at it to determine value to the township.
Councillor Doyle reminded council that now is the time to put in place bylaws governing the annual Music Festival (re policing etc.) and to meet with the Community Centre board and the festival organizer to discuss these so there is no misunderstanding.
Mayor Vanden Hoek expressed satisfaction with the recent Amenities agreement meeting facilitated by Rob Wood. A second meeting will be planned during the summer..
Council Meets next March 8th at 6:30 pm at the WI Town Hall
Around Town: *Wolfe Island has recently experienced the loss of three of its long time citizens in a very short time. In a community the size of Wolfe Island the memories are many and the losses are keenly felt by all.*Our own Lori Minton joyfully announced that her grandson Mackenzie O’Coyle has finally completed his last round of cancer treatments and at this time has been given a clean bill of health. Mac was just 4 when his illness began more than four years ago. Lori speaks gratefully about all the help and support Mac and his family has received from the community during this time. “Mac,” is so happy and can hardly believe he’s allowed to drink a glass of milk.
* Local native Hank DeBruin accompanied by his 2 sons, Ward McReady and 20 dogs is on his was to Anchorage , Alaska for the start of the “Iditarod Race” beginning March 6th.. Hank has raced hundreds of long, cold miles to qualify. The rest of the family will fly to Anchorage for the race start and all will fly on to meet Hank at the finish line in Nome. Their website, www.winterdance.com/race team (offers lots of race information, pictures etc, and sponsor opportunities. Teachers can follow Hank (or any musher) on the official race site www.iditarod.com. Hank & Tanya (McCready’s) boys Logan and Dustyn will be posting on line entries regularly.
* Paul Hogan from the Community Centre Board, Kathy Gilbert, WI Medical Clinic Board and the WI Historical Society will liaise with the WI Business & Tourism Association to share information and activities.
*To date both the Simcoe Island ferry and the Howe Island Township ferry continue to operate.
* Interest is developing with regard to the War of 1812-2012 Bi Centennial Festivities. For further info. Contact Brian MacDonald, Pres. WI Historical Society
Coming Events: 1. Frontenac Islands free Welcome Cyclists Workshop, Wed, Feb 24 - 7 to 9 pm, WI United Church Hall Purpose of the workshop is to offer area tourism businesses, B&B’s, Restaurants, etc. information about this growing market, and to develop a network of bicycle friendly businesses. www.welcomecyclists.ca
2. Frontenac Islands Public meeting to pass a new Development Charges By-Law, Feb. 25th, 6:30 pm WI Town Hall.
3. World Day of Prayer- Cameroon, ‘Let Everything That Has Breath Praise God’ Sacred Heart of Mary Church, Friday, March 5, 2010, 1pm
Residents of Wolfe Island ward and others gathered for a first public consultation to consider the best use of the funds the township will receive from the wind farm amenities agreement. Facilitator Robert Wood of 8020 Info led the meeting.
The long-term amenities agreement, which included escalation clauses, was signed in June 2006 and established that Frontenac Islands will receive $7,500 per year for each of the 86 turbines, $645,000 in total, for the next 20 to 40 years.
At the outset of the negotiations, there was the intent that all Wolfe Island residents should benefit from the wind plant. In November of 2006 it was noted that meetings would be held with residents to determine long and short-term proposals for the use of the money. The township received the first cheque in October 2009 in the amount of $333,986.30 from Canadian Hydro Developers.
In his welcome Frontenac Islands Mayor Jim Vanden Hoek said the meeting would be the first of a number of opportunities for people to be directly involved in planning the future of the township.
Residents were handed a list of project suggestions to prioritize including: reducing taxes, re-opening the canal, establishing a trust fund, constructing a community centre building, installing refrigeration for the rink, buying land for parks, building a dock for the village, improving water and sewer, establishing a senior's retirement complex, expanding programs for children, rebuilding roads, and many more.
Discussing possible criteria for making choices on the use of funds, Wood referred to examples such as developing a long-term plan, focus on long term vs. short term initiatives, focus on capital, whether infrastructure or not. As he drew upon residents from both Wolfe and Howe islands, other thoughts were offered: leveraging the money to generate other monies, developing a five-year plan, creating a governance framework, focusing on the sustainability of projects.
The request for project ideas generated the most discussion. Some examples were: money for scholarships, a seniors' residence, a share for Howe Island, finish the rink with a large community multi-purpose building, don't forget infrastructure (roads, landfill site), water and sewer for the village, community thermal project, need for bicycle paths. Others suggested the establishment of a foundation to better protect the money, and many local groups are looking for some financial support. Tourism items such water access and docks and opening the canal also were suggested.
Wood encouraged participants to fill out their assessment sheets and to think through their own priority projects in advance of a next meeting. Some critical review will be necessary and perhaps a steering committee is needed to work on that important step of setting actual township priorities.
AMBULANCE 'RECRUIT' TRAINING NEARS COMPLETION
Recruiting campaigns for Frontenac County's emergency services, which operates land ambulance services for the county including Wolfe Island and Kingston, have been held every year since the county has operated emergency services. Some months ago, however, a vigorous recruitment program began to find volunteers 'specifically' for the Wolfe Island volunteer ambulance service in an effort to fill diminished numbers.
Throughout the process island residents, knowing that numbers are down, have been concerned about the staffing of the ambulance. Is it there for them if they need it? Frontenac County's director of emergency services, Paul Charbonneau, offered the following update.
“As a result of the successful 'island-specific campaign,' 19 candidates for the Wolfe Island service, including a number of islanders, went on for further training having successfully completed CPR, first aid and the emergency first response program. However, only 18 people moved on to the physical testing as one person withdrew due to a job relocation,” he said.
According to Charbonneau, Frontenac County emergency services has a contract with the Kingston Injury Management Centre to conduct the physical testing portion of the training that is specific to the paramedic job. The program developed in 2003 is based on a 'physical demands analysis.'
“They look at the job of the paramedic, the weights they have to carry, the bags, the stretcher, with and without a patient, as well as at the tasks the paramedics must carry out: rushing to get to a patient, distances, physical effects (increased heart rates etc.) and create a physical test around the job. Everyone passed the basic training but if they can't do the physical, they could cause damage to themselves or a patient,” he said.
“Of the 18 tested, nine passed the physical testing program,” he continued. “One of the nine unsuccessful candidates relocated out of Kingston, while three did not meet the minimum standard and were deemed unsuccessful with no retest offered. The remaining five were offered a retest.”
The results of retest for the five have not yet been published.
“Not everyone, no matter how much they want to or whether they are from the island or Kingston, can do the job,” said Susan Brown, deputy chief of quality and assurance and training. “The challenges are many and difficult.”
Charbonneau noted that three people from the original 19 have made it all the way through the process at this time.
“They have received their Ministry of Education identification card and are now working, which brings the complement of people covering shifts on the island up to 12. The Ministry of Transportation training (driving category) was completed in early January which allowed them then to begin booking,” he said.
“It is also important to note that since August, while the training process has been underway, long-time island paramedic Sally Kane has been working full time, Monday to Friday. The county took on that added expense to guarantee there was always one person on duty requiring only one other volunteer to be found. If none is found, Kane responds to a call as a first responder, stabilizing and caring for the patient until the transporting ambulance arrives (from Kingston),” he said. On only one occasion since Jan. 1 has the ambulance not been staffed.
“The ideal number in our mind to run a volunteer ambulance service on a full-time basis is 16. No one is overburdened or required to do extra shifts. We are almost there. In fact when all is said and done we will be over 16 and we are willing to undertake the extra costs of overstaffing to guarantee the operation of the island service,” Charbonneau concluded.
Construction to provide overnight accommodation for the volunteers begins in the spring.