Good food, good music, lots of laughter were all part of the annual St. Patrick’s Seniors Luncheon which brought together people of many ages who, on this occasion declared themselves “seniors”, just to join in the fun.
Organized by the St. Lawrence and the Wolfe Island Women’s Institutes, it was hosted by the island’s always congenial ‘master of many ceremonies’, Ken Keyes. Following the incredible buffet lunch prepared for the occasion, there followed the island’s famous pie selection.
In the beautifully decorated United Church Hall, green shirts and hats, green earrings and ties, green sweaters and shawls were the order of the day with prizes given to those wearing the most green and prizes for those telling Irish jokes. This year people, both men and women jumped at the chance including Rev. Chris Carr, Fr. Raymond De Souza and Councillor Dennis Doyle. And for prizes for just about anything Irish and green.
Pots of shamrocks adorned every table which were there for the taking, and hidden under many teacups was a green shamrock which meant a prize for those who found one. And, of course there was a prize for the most senior man and woman attendance, this year presented to the island’s John Posthumus and Flora Devlin, who enthusiastically declared, “ I will be 91 in June.”
While there were many in attendance for the first time, a glance around room could not help but call to mind the many who were no longer with us.
Music was provided by Sam Allison and Martha Cooper, new to the island, and ever faithful Pat Barber and Marian Lakins. Everyone joined in a sing song of Irish tunes, and never let it be said that Wolfe Islanders of any nationality do not know how to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.
AECOM’s Guy Laporte was on hand at the Frontenac Islands March council meeting to present the annual report for the Wolfe Island Landfill Site, a requirement for the (1994) Certificate of Approval. Accomapied by Anne Kloosterman also of AECOM, and from Golder Associates, Paul Smukin and Caitlin Cooke, who presented the Ground Water and Surface Water Monitoring Report.
The good news, according to Laporte, that with continuing good stewardship, recycling and an apparent decrease in the site’s use, its lifespan could be extended by two more years to 2020. While in general compliance however, the bad news is that the township has been slow to meet its covering requirements as pointed out by the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) in January.
“Your obligation is to cover the site once a month in the winter time and twice a month in the summer, May, June, July and August, in total 16 times a year which is not bad,” Laporte said. At the same time he cited a decrease in usage adding that some people are handling waste differently while 88% of those who visit the site also recycle. “You are running at 70% predicted. If that keeps up you are bound to gain a few more years.”
An in-depth presentation of the ground and surface water monitoring report was presented by Ms. Cooke. The results of which require some re-sampling. Questions followed.
Laporte has received confirmation that MOE has accepted a (hydrologist) proposal put forward a year ago to extend the attenuation zone at the site. As well as covering the site he said the township must initiate the amendment to the contaminate attenuation zone (with the report recommendation).
Council authorized submission of the report to MOE and to the neighbouring property owner as well as an additional sampling at well MW04-11.
In other business: WI Business & Tourism (WIBTA) president Linda Thomas, offered comments (as requested by the township) regarding the possibility of Frontenac Islands becoming a full funding partner in the Land O’Lakes Tourism Association.
“WIBTA has been a yearly member of the association for 3 or 4 years,” she said. “We paid an additional $813. to have our ad on the map and our listing in their brochure and a further $100 plus for them to take our brochures to (US-Ontario) trade shows. This year they included our bicycle map, but we do pay a lot of money,” Thomas said.
She commented that the province has created new tourism regions to be represented by one Regional Tourism Organization, (RTO) and that Region 9 (which includes territories along the St. Lawrence corridor, Quebec border to Prince Edward County) will have two RTO’s , with the province providing funding ($25.million annually for 2 years), and Land O’Lakes hopes to be an RTO.
‘If it is to have a critical role in that new structure, while not cheap it might be wise to be aligned with Land O’Lakes even if just the first year to see how it works out,” Thomas added
Reiterating much of what Thomas said, Mayor Vanden Hoek noted a major reorganization of provincial tourism with eleven RTO’s with Frontenac County split between two bridged possibly by Land O’Lakes. “So you have Rainbow country and Big Sky country around Thunder Bay, the Kingston Association and others with disagreement amongst individual operators wanting to operate their own silos, and the province trying to work it out,” he said. “There are attempts now to come up with partnership or associations to include all the players in the region (9&11) that could become the administrator for the provincial effort. The province wants to deal with nine or eleven organizations not hundreds. Land O’Lakes Tourist Association will probably have a role to play,” he concluded.
While money may be funneled through WIBTA to Land O’Lakes Councillor Doyle expects that the township will have greater input into the process noting benefits for the WI ward but not Howe suggesting the costs be funneled through culture and recreation rather than administration eliminating area rating.” he said.
The mayor reminded members that revisiting this decision might be required should Howe Island ward determine it wants to encourage tourism.
WIBTA’s Thomas also determined for council that a roadside park at Holiday Point road might be good for cyclists but not for cars. Councillor Doyle thought it could be pursued as a cyclists rest stop (if supported by nearby residents). Not so the mayor. “Cyclists stop anywhere, using whatever rock or tree available. It will become a picnic, car and washroom issue. From an economic development standpoint we should be driving business to Marysville,” he said. No decision was taken.
Council supported the WI Historical Society’s funding application to the Kingston Foundation for an assessment of the “Old House” Museum presented by Brian MacDonald. A WI Historical plaque design using the WI seal, and how Frontenac Islands could be identified on the plaques however was not resolved.
In addition to passing a number of bylaws, approving the payment voucher, etc. CAO O’Shea informed council that information received from the County indicates from the drawings they have, the WI Fire Hall may not have been built to “code” or disaster relief specification, which however will not affect the county’s plans to build accommodation for ambulance personnel. The township will search out all documentation, certificates, engineering files related to the Emergency Services Building for their April 12th meeting on Howe Island 6:30 pm
Around Town: The WI ferry is now operating from the village much to the delight of local businesses. * The Island Grill now offers Sunday Brunch.*Bins are available to collect e-waste (Howe & Wolfe) Covering has also begun at WI landfill site. Town employees are hard at work cleaning up winter sand and debris. * Frontenac County Council adopted its 2010 budget with a 3.74% increase offset by savings granted to the townships thus achieving a net ratepayer property tax decrease of 0.59%. *Dr. D. Danishmend is now seeing patients at the (new) WI Medical Clinic. The Official Opening is Sat. April 17th 10am-12 noon. * Sacred Heart Parish welcomed His Eminence William Cardinal Levada (Portland & San Francisco) to the island recently.
Coming events: The WI Historical Society presents Memories of My Youth “ at the Foot” with Alzina King, Sat. March 27th at 2pm Wolfe Island United Church Hall * Watch for date of next WIBTA meeting www.wolfeisland.com
Wolfe Island has always been a popular place for cyclists. From early spring to late fall they board the ferry to tour the island along any one of 4 identified island cycle routes, visit Big Sandy Bay and island attractions or travel to the US by way of Horne’s Ferry. So it is no wonder that the Island was chosen as the location for the last in a series of three ‘Welcome Cyclists Network’ workshops held in Frontenac County. The goal of the network is to bring together groups of businesses who are cycle friendly to enhance Ontario’s cycling product and coordinated by Transportation Options, a not-for- profit organization dedicated to stimulating sustainable systems of transportation including the Bike Train Initiative.
The island workshop led by Louisa Mursell Project Manager, Welcome Cyclists Network, brought together delegates from regional and local businesses and tourism associations (restaurants, accommodation, attractions, historical/tourism associations.) included insights into the whole concept of welcoming cyclists, cycle tourism, specific needs, the cycle industry, regional infrastructure availability, enhancing tourism opportunities for cyclists locally, marketing for cyclists and networking with other cycle- friendly businesses. She also outlined the advantages of (free) membership in the network. Membership includes among other things, a web site, the use of marketing material and identifiers as Cycle Friendly as well as a Network Members Tool Kit .
“Cycle tourism’s growing market in the region and is perfect fit for Wolfe Island’s “Linger Longer” theme. New funding from the Frontenac CFDC allowed us to offer these workshops,” Louisa said. “Some things that might need to happen to encourage cycle tourism are more bicycle racks, identifiable places to stop, bicycle paths, signage which includes cautions for both cyclists/drivers on the island’s rural roads and specific bike events.“ Island resident James Taylor assisted with registration and distribution of materials. Although anxious to get home to watch Olympic events, workshop participants took time to outline what could be planned and advertised cycle day trips to the island.
In an email conversation, following the workshop, Justin Lafontaine, Projects Director, Transportation Options, offered thoughts regarding island cycle tourism. “Wolfe Island is an excellent cycle tourism destination, generally traffic-free roads, with bike maps and a supportive tourism association and business community, plus unique transport to/from the island.” Acknowledging limited accommodation options, particularly on summer weekends, he said that partnering with Kingston and Cape Vincent would allow more capacity for overnight stays in the region, while promoting the region as a cycle tourism destination.
“The island is an Ontario gem, a unique place with history, culture, amazing natural and new attractions uniquely located as a “hub” for cycle tourism routes, linking Kingston, Lake Ontario Waterfront Trail (Niagara to Cornwall), Rideau Trails, and NY state,” For further information regarding cycle tourism and to become a network member contact: www.welcomecyclists.ca www.biketrain.ca
Marysville Water Works Class EA continues.
As part of the ongoing Marysville Waterworks EA, XCG Consultant Cameron Smith arranged a day for members of Frontenac Islands council and interested residents to visit one or more municipalities that either supply or purchase water to/from another municipality. This was because the preferred option of the EA is to acquire water from the City of Kingston, and a review of how this was done elsewhere was considered important. Councillors Wayne Grant and Dennis Doyle along with Chris Carr and Walter Knott, and myself, travelled with Smith and Carla Fernandez, also from XCG, to Belleville where they met first with Dan Cassidy, a supervisor with Prince Edward County. Cassidy has a history with the former Ameliasburg Township where difficulties arose operating a small water plant and the then township negotiated with the City of Belleville for water. This was for Rossmore and a small subdivision, and all homes on the distribution lines had to take the metered water, with bills issued by the city. With the expanded county structure, Prince Edward County has now 6 water distribution systems, 4 water plants and 4 sewage treatment plants, including this one and both operates all and issues the bills.
Cassidy noted that the province is moving to a full ‘user pay’ approach to cover operating, overhead and capital costs and that any distribution system must be serviced, monitored and tested current certified staff. “ The township area served receives a steady flow of potable water,” he said adding they were also satisfied with service levels during the time they were served by the city.
A ‘walk-thru’ tour of the City of Belleville’s ‘Gerry O’Connor’ Water Treatment Plant complete from the water input (Bay of Quinte) to distribution was next, led by very engaging Superintendant Gerry De Cola. The tour provided much insight into the complexity of operating such a plant, with trained staff 24/7 which is required regardless of plant size. A Q&A period with Superintendent Dan Collins, and Richard Reinert, Manager- Environmental Services, followed at the Belleville Water office. They stated that the experience of providing water and services to the adjoining municipality had not been any difficulty for the city. At the end of the day, it is with the political and legal issues that require the most effort in order to bring about such change. While the county has now taken responsibility for servicing the Rossmere area, the city still provides the water on a bulk billing basis to the county.
Around Town:*WI’s DeBruin Farm is seeking approval to develop a farm based anaerobic digestion facility, (a renewable energy Biogas Project). *Tenders have been called for 12 km WI road surface treatment. * Much activity around the dock at the end of WI’s Victoria St. in preparation for summer tourists and boating activities including a possible 2 weeks of youth sailing.*Word has it that both the General Wolfe Hotel and Brown’s Bay Inn are For Sale. * The Island Grill has reopened after a winter break. A sign of spring? * Consideration is being given to a road side stop at WI’s Holiday Point Rd. and Hwy.#96 *Frontenac Islands budget deliberations continue.
Coming Events: *Please note: World Day of Prayer is Thursday, March 4th at WI’s Sacred Heart Church at 1 PM * The annual Seniors (St. Patrick’s Day) Luncheon, WI United Church, Sat. March 13th, Plan to arrive at 11:30 am *Community Euchre WI United Church Hall 7 pm, * Winter Euchre, St. Margaret’s Hall 8 pm, Wednesdays. *Frontenac Islands Council March meeting, Mon., March 8th at 6:30 pm Wolfe Island Town Hall.