The day many islanders dread has arrived early this year. The ferry is now operating from Dawson Point, a dark and lonely place, with few amenities, where the wind blows harder, the access road is too narrow, parking, though improved, is difficult, the wait in idling cars is long and, it is 3 km away from Marysville, the hub of the community. The result, every business in Marysville, suffers, whether grocery stores, B&B’s, restaurants or the local garage. Hours of operation for some have been reduced, others have closed.
People leave for work in the dark and come home in the dark. Fewer stop as they go through the village. Others who turn left onto Hwy 96 have little interest in going to the village to pick up the mail, buy milk or a pizza before going home. And for villagers without a car who generally walk on, life is tough. Yes, MTO provides islanders with excellent ferry service, ferry maintenance and wonderful staff.
The problem is that the businesses, crucial to the vitality of the island, have had no say in the decisions MTO makes about the ferry, nor have they had the opportunity to speak with one voice about their transportation needs. And those very businesses are now at risk.
Frontenac Islands Mayor Jim Vanden Hoek recently presided over what was his final council meeting before the installation of the newly elected mayor and council in December. He took the opportunity to thank council and the community for their support over the last ten years. It was a poignant moment as the Mayor reminisced about the highlights of his lengthy term. “It’s been a busy ten years, both exciting and difficult at times, and I do want to acknowledge the support and the guidance I received over the years,” he said. “Most people would say all three terms have been active, sometimes a little too active but that is the way they rolled out .” Vanden Hoek thanked council members past and present for their commitment to public service, their wisdom and decorum. “Looking back there were contentious issues and sometimes acrimony, and I am proud of council’s conduct,” he said offering special thanks to staff, Terry, Carole, Theresa, Leo, Fire Chiefs (James White, Mike Quinn). “Politicians come to the table with excitement, ambition and over enthusiasm. Terry, you have done a great job, not only administratively but helping me keep my feet on the ground. I am quite a different person than I was 10 years ago… much appreciated…. “ he concluded.
Earlier Mayor Vanden Hoek presented the Volunteer of the Year award to a group of Wolfe Island ladies who annually, take it upon themselves to decorate the main street of Marysville and its public buildings for the Christmas season. “Honouring members of the community over the years as been one of my favourite tasks,” he said in presenting the award to ‘Christmas Elves’ Marilyn Greenwood, Karen Kyle and Charlene Breen.
While a light agenda, council acting as the committee of adjustment approved 3 applications for consent on Wolfe Island, ( a lot addition to an existing lot and two new building lots;) all subject to certain conditions; passed 3 by-laws, one that allows the Howe Island Garden Buds to plant trees at the Howe Island Township operated ferry terminal subject to a site plan. (The Garden Buds request for money will be held over until budget meetings in the new year.) A 2nd by-law approving the 2011 fees and fares schedule for the Simcoe Island ferry which also includes the sale of one book of 10 tickets for $40.00 per pass holder. And finally council approved a by-law to regulate private signs (business location, business advertising & temporary signs) on or within right of ways of township roads. The by-law includes certain exceptions, approval requirements and means to enforce. Council also approved the monthly payment voucher.
In other business outgoing Councillor Matt Fiene who has been attending Cataraqui Source Protection meetings spoke of their work and its difficulties. He took the opportunity to thank council and the public for his time on council.
With reference to information about SWITCH (sustainable energy) Mayor Vanden Hoek noted Kingston’s newly elected Federal Liberal candidate Ted Hsu is the executive director of SWITCH. “This might say something about a change in attitudes towards alternative energy, “ he said.
Council discussed a further letter from the Brown family requesting 3 severances and a township built road on Wolfe Island in return for a donation of land. The Brown’s were previously advised that the Staley Point development should be a plan of subdivision. The Mayor, having left the chair, commented that council should remain flexible enough to take advantage of opportunity. “Three severances changes the dynamics and is a long way from the original eight. Rather than put a stake in the ground, the municipality could look at the property and if the property you could acquire is significant and justifies the trade (road for land) then it might be well to think again,” he added. “If there is a future community benefit, a road doesn’t look that bad. Maybe 7 acres doesn’t justify one but perhaps 25 or 50 acres does. Take a look. Negotiate and see where the planning process takes you.”
Councillor Doyle expressed thanks to Mayor Vanden Hoek and Councillor Matt Fiene for their years of service to the community, wishing them well in the future.
The inaugural meeting of the newly elected Mayor and council takes place on Howe Island, Monday, Dec. 13th, 6:30 pm.
Coming events: * Flu Shot Clinic, WI Community Health Clinic Sat. Nov. 27th 9 am-12 noon Bring OHIP card. *WI Santa Claus Parade, Sat. Dec. 4th, 4:30 pm. (Floats welcome). Hot Dogs, Hot Chocolate to follow. * WI Women’s Institute presents an evening about SMILE Seniors Managing Independent Living Easily Wed. Dec. 8, WI United Church hall, 7 pm SMILE, a (LHIN) program being implemented by VON.
Following the recent municipal election a petition has gone up in different places on Wolfe Island, calling for signatures from all those who would seek separation from Howe Island and the return of Wolfe and Howe Island’s to the individual, stand alone governing townships’ they were before amalgamation.
Frontenac Islands came into existence Jan. 1, 1998 on a Minister’s Order with the merging of two of Ontario's oldest rural municipalities Howe Island and Wolfe Island as part of Frontenac County’s reorganization which began in 1996.. Therefore any change to the restructuring would have to be ordered by the present Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.
Frontenac Islands (based on population) is the smallest municipality in the county and in Ontario, yet over the years it has been on the province’s radar screen, more than less, about transportation and recently wind power on Wolfe Island. Yet the Islands are but a speck in a province of what…10 million or more?
Think about it. If the present Minister was inclined to study such a request made by citizens of Wolfe Island, he might say No outright or,” you can all be part of Kingston.” In truth, whether Islanders care to admit it, their lives are intrinsically tied to Kingston (work, study, shopping, health care etc.) in spite of the individual and ongoing efforts of each island to maintain their own unique identities and way of life.
The present organization of Frontenac Islands may be awkward and even annoying at times but Frontenac Islands is a township in its own right.
With such a change, Wolfe Island, and Howe Island too for that matter would disappear to become part of Greater Kingston. From where would come the leadership? And, who gets the money then ?
New Bearing for TransAlta’s Wolfe Island Wind Tower # 47
Watch for large cranes and heavy lift equipment on Wolfe Island for the next little while. It all has to do with the WI Wind Farm. No, TransAlta is not putting up anymore wind towers nor are they taking down or relocating any of them.
According to Mike Jablonicky, manager of the Echo Power centre, technicians have discovered a weakness in a bearing in Tower 47 off Bennett Road.. “The bearing is still under warranty so it was decided to replace the Siemens bearing now before the warranty expires. Good stewardship,” Mike said. “Our technicians are the best and TransAlta agrees with the decision to replace the bearing now. So you will see a lot of activity.”
Mike continues to remind folks that if they hear unusual noise coming from any of the towers, they should call right away as they have been doing. “But don’t worry about what’s going on with the equipment. Tower #47 will be fully operational again in a few days.”
Table Tennis makes for great exercise!
Wolfe Island has had a Table Tennis Club operating at St. Margaret’s Hall for a number of years. Only recently did the club hold an open house and 20 new people (age 14-84) with varied levels of skill attended. Many of them had not played since their youth, but seemed to recall their skills quickly with lots of laughs and spectacular shots. “ The club meets Wed. 7-9 pm , Mondays & Friday’s 1-3pm at the hall when you can play or learn to play. Gym shoes are required. The sport provides lots of exercise and a friendly atmosphere. Just show up or contact David Clark 385-2929, Ed Kirk 385-8585, or Jarda 385-1268.
Around Town: *Turkey Supper Sat. Nov. 13, 2010 St. Margaret’s Hall Doors Open at 4:30 pm * Friends of BSB AGM with Diana Beresford-Kroeger, Renegade scientist/botanist. WI United Church Hall 6:45 pm Wed. Nov. 13th. *Christmas Market Sun. Nov. 21st *Flu Shot Clinic Sat. Nov. 27th .
Over 60% of Frontenac Islands' eligible voters turned out and in a surprising result, Wolfe Islander Denis Doyle becomes the Mayor of the Township of Frontenac Islands, defeating long time Mayor Jim Vanden Hoek by 41 votes in a hard fought campaign waged on the three islands that make up the township, Wolfe, Simcoe and Howe. This voter turnout compares with the low 25% in Kingston and Toronto indicating Frontenac Islands took this election seriously. Doyle will be installed as the new Mayor of Frontenac Islands at the inaugural meeting in December.
Also elected to council from Wolfe Island: incumbent Wayne Grant and Barbara Springgay, the first woman elected since amalgamation of Wolfe and Howe. From Howe Island elected: incumbent, 35 year veteran of municipal politics Pat Norris and new comer David Jones. Based on the higher number of votes Jones received, he will serve as Deputy Mayor of Frontenac Islands. Defeated were candidates, Wolfe Island's Peggy Smith, and Howe Island's Matt Fiene.
Doyle conducted an intense campaign visiting every home on Howe and Simcoe islands, and much of Wolfe Island receiving 42% of the vote on Wolfe Island with 420 votes and 72% on Howe Island with 324 votes.
Vanden Hoek garnered 58% of the votes on Wolfe Island with 577 votes and 28% on Howe with 126 votes. Thus overall Doyle gathered 41 votes more (a 2.8% difference of the total vote).
“I would like thank my campaign team and all those islanders who supported me at the polls”. Doyle said following the election. “Congratulations to those who won and a word of thanks to Jim Vanden Hoek, Matt Fiene and Peggy Smith for their dedication to public life. Now is the time to move forward and to implement some of the excellent suggestions from both the electorate and the candidates,” he said.
Mayor elect Doyle, ran on a platform of better communication (town hall meetings, newsletters more public consultation), direct involvement in all transportation issues (ferry service issues as they affect Wolfe, Howe & Simcoe) and roads, controlled use of the revenues that come to the township from the wind farm project (present alternatives, priorities, reserve fund) and community development including recreation, public sector investment, and farm and business development. Doyle also promised to address certain financial concerns he has with Frontenac County.
Addressing certain of those priorities following the election Dole noted that there are transportation issues on all 3 islands that need to be resolved. “Initially the focus needs to be on the Ministry of Transportation Wolfe Island Ferry Transportation study,” he said. “The City of Kingston asked for a seat at the table with MTO and Frontenac Islands needs to be there as well. At our first meeting of the new council I will ask for council input on how to proceed”, Doyle said, adding that he will suggest that council consider setting up a sub committee of islanders to assist.
Prior to the election, mayor elect Doyle served Frontenac Islands for one 4-year term as a active member of council and on a number council committees and community boards including the Community Centre Board, the Big Sandy Bay Stewardship committee, and the WI Community Medical Clinic Board. With the latter two, his was a “hands on approach” working many hours assisting in the construction of the new medical clinic, and on improvements, reparation work and the operation of Wolfe Island's Big Sandy Bay.
Outgoing Mayor Vanden Hoek is credited with bringing wind towers to Wolfe Island as well as negotiating an amenities agreement with Canadian Hydro Developers, (now Trans Alta) that benefits the Wolfe Island ward of Frontenac Islands. Throughout his campaign Vanden Hoek stood by his record as a member of council, his years as mayor and his efforts at Frontenac County. So there you have it. A new era for Frontenac Islands begins.
Around Town: Frontenac Islands did not come to a stop while the election campaign was underway. In fact October was one busy month and November is shaping up to be equally busy.* For your information: The Frontenac Community Future Development Corporation (FCFDC) came to hear islanders' opinions on its future plans. Part of this was to find out what islanders thought were potential areas of developments on Wolfe & Simcoe. The discussion focused on the FCDFC Strategic Plan for 2011-2013, with topics such as: Priority Sectors, Choices, Future Opportunities, Guiding Principles, etc. They looked at specific areas of: Revitalization of Communities, Agriculture/Forestry, Tourism Renewal, Infrastructure Projects, and the Green Sector. The 13 persons attending represented tourism, boat building, the arts, and farming, and they freely offered their concerns and ideas for expanding business and farming in the community. Consultant Rob Wood led the discussion with Ann Pritchard, CFDC Executive Director providing the opening comments for FCDFC and thanking all for their inputs. * Cape Vincent Historical Society's John Tucker came to talk about the Tibbetts Point Lighthouse and how volunteers such as himself have worked to maintain the heritage structure since 1991. Much interest in what he had to say, as Simcoe and Wolfe Island residents consider how they might maintain the Simcoe Island Lighthouse as a heritage structure.
Coming Events: * The WI Medical Clinic has announced a Flu Shot Clinic for all residents of Wolfe and Simcoe Islands at the WI Community Medical Clinic, 102 Hwy Simcoe and Wolfe Island. #95, Sat. Nov. 27th from 9 am-12 pm. Please be sure to bring your OHIP card. *Trinity Anglican's annual Turkey Supper takes place at St. Margaret's Hall Sat. Nov. 13th. Doors open at 4:30 pm. * The annual Wolfe Island Christmas Market is scheduled for Sun. Nov. 21st at St. Margaret's Hall. (10am-4pm) If you are interested in having a table, please call L. Thomas at 613-385-1947. In conjunction with the market, Camera Kingston will be on hand to announce the Winners in the 2010 Beauty of Wolfe Island Photo Contest. *WI Community Euchre Thursday's 7 pm the at the WI United Church Hall. Everyone welcome. *And perhaps the most important of all, the annual Wolfe Island Remembrance Day Service, Thursday November 11th. Please be at the Town Square in front of the WI Town Hall at 10:45 am.