There was excitement in the air as Howe Island’s Municipal building filled to capacity for the inaugural meeting of Frontenac Islands Council. Mayor Denis Doyle, Councillors Pat Norris and David Jones from Howe Island, and Wolfe Island Councillors Barbara Springgay and Wayne Grant were dressed to the nines for a formal photo as the evening began.
Following the reading and signing of the Oath of office by each member and witnessed by Frontenac Islands CAO Terry O’Shea, Mayor Doyle took the opportunity to address the public .
Doyle thanked the members of staff for holding the fort during the election/ post election period. He congratulated re- elected council members Pat Norris and Wayne Grant, and new members Barbara Springgay and David Jones. He also paid tribute to Jim Vanden Hoek, and outgoing councillor Mat Fiene, and to Peggy Smith for their dedication to the community.
“I also want to thank the members of the public for choosing me as their mayor for the next four years,” Doyle said. “While I won’t talk about all I heard on the campaign trail, I would like to highlight as top priorities, roads and ferries,” he said. “We have some commonality of both islands with Howe’s foot ferry and Wolfe’s Simcoe ferry and the desire to keep them running as long as possible during the winter. I endorse more ice eater systems around the docks and if that fails, to look at an extended bubbler system.” With regard to the Wolfe Island ferry, Doyle acknowledged that MTO will soon be coming forward with some long term solutions to easing traffic. “ We have asked Frontenac Islands intern Jeremy Neff to consult with members of the community (about the impact of each alternative, the move out of Marysville etc.) before we meet with MTO,” he said, adding that the township will continue to work with the County regarding the Howe Island ferry .”
Mayor Doyle said he heard much about surfacing treating roads during the campaign. “Other municipalities see this as an investment. I will find out from them when it is more economical to surface treat rather than to gravel roads and sweep it off in the winter.” he said. Resolving the distribution of the amenities agreement payments (money received annually by the township from the Wolfe Island Wind Farm) is another Doyle priority . Looking at ways of making Wolfe Island self sufficient to help ease ferry woes, completing the rink, supporting the Medical Clinic, moving towards senior accommodation, are all on his radar screen. Mayor Doyle acknowledged Howe Island concerns regarding ferries, roads and recycling and improving communication as major priorities for both islands.
The council members each in turn congratulated Mayor Doyle on his election, thanked all those who voted for them, referred to the learning curve ahead for new members and indicated anticipation at working together over the next four years for the good of Frontenac Islands. “I don’t think I’ll get into what I heard on the election trail,” veteran Councillor Pat Norris said. “I look forward with interest to the next four years.” Councillor Jones agreed with the issues as outlined by the mayor, and thanked supporters, wife Wendy, and campaign manager Jim Mills, noting that on Howe Island not alot is broken. ” I will be visible, accessible and accountable as well as a communicator, “ Jones said. Councillor Springgay agreed with the issues outlined, and “what I am going to refer to as the wind turbine money. People want to know why it is referred to as amenities money when it is wind turbine money and that’s key for all the folks on Wolfe Island,” she said noting also her appreciation for the information session presented to council by legal advisors Cunningham & Swan. Councillor Grant indicated his appreciation at being re-elected. “I hope over the next four years we can work together and move forward,” he said.
With that, much of the audience stayed as the first regular meeting of the new council began under the leadership of Mayor Denis Doyle and the watchful eye of CAO Terry O’Shea.
The first order of business was a bylaw to designate a Deputy Mayor followed by a second bylaw to appoint David Jones as such. Clerk/ CAO O’Shea added that Deputy Mayor Jones will join the mayor as the second representative on Frontenac County Council, and presented certification to both which they must present to the Frontenac County CAO Elizabeth Savill before their first meting.
Howe Island resident Gary Hall on his second visit to council, asked for clarification regarding the Wolfe Island Wind Farm amenities agreement (what it says, how it is dealt with). His letter to council, read by CAO O”Shea, noted that the amenities agreement was signed by the Township of Frontenac Islands and that Howe Island is part of the township. “Following up on that, Mr. Mayor. this is something that is on your agenda and I would like to know what the procedure is going to be and what timeline we might expect?” Councillor Grant recommended that the township’s legal council Tim Wilkins come to the next meeting to review the amenities agreement. Council allowed a comment from WI resident Beth Caldwell who felt consultation on both islands about the agreement was required. “It could lead to hard feelings if we don’t,” she said.
A number of issues, including the amenities agreement; the third bylaw reading regarding all terrain vehicle use on municipal roads; an appointment to the Cataraqui Source Protection authority, appointing delegates to other township and county committees and finally, determining names for Volunteer Service awards have been put over to the January meeting allowing new members to become knowledgeable about the different files. Council approved expenditure to the WI “Christmas Elves” and Frontenac Islands staff bonuses ( permanent $50.00, $25.00 for part time).
As the short meeting ended, Howe Islander Geoff Hobbs asked for clarification re bylaws generally, and specifically the bylaw naming a Deputy Mayor. CAO O’Shea said that the amalgamation agreement specifies that the candidate from the island in which the mayor does not reside, and who receives the most votes, becomes Deputy Mayor and represents the Mayor with the same authority under certain conditions. The Township established parameters for the appointment of the Deputy Mayor and his appointment as the 2nd representative to Frontenac County Council for the 4-year term.
Council meets next on Wolfe Island….. Jan. 10, 2011 at 6:30 pm
At the invitation of the Wolfe Island Women’s Institute, representatives Michaela Jones and Doreen Ward came to outline the merits of SMILE a program geared to help seniors stay in their homes, to an interested island audience. SMILE is the acronym for Seniors Managing Independent Living Easily. Jones and Ward are respectively program coordinator and client care coordinator. The 3 year fully funded program was developed by the South East Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) working with seniors and health service providers and is fully supported by the LHIN and managed by VON Canada .
SMILE covers a large area from just west of Trenton to Bancroft, to east of Brockville, including Smithsfalls, Gananoque and the Islands. According to Jones, “SMILE offers seniors options in managing their own care and the activities of daily living (cleaning, shopping, meals, yard work, & laundry etc.). They choose the services they need, when and who will provide them. SMILE pays for the services or the client pays and bills the program,” she said. ”With the right assistance and services in place, remaining independent for frail elderly seniors and staying at home is made possible.”
She went on to say that clients and their need for SMILE is assessed based on the ‘Inter RAI Community Health Assessment (CHA)’ tool and reviewed every six months to check on supports. “The client determines the needs and supports of every day living,” Jones said. “The client also has the choice in who comes into the home to provide them, but client family members may not supply services funded by SMILE.”
“The SMILE program can also provide help with planning and managing personalized care plans matched to need and budgets,” Client Care coordinator Doreen Ward added, as both she and Jones responded to questions about specific case scenarios, eligibility, core services, who pays, and so on.
Interest in the program was keen, The questions were many, however the audience was informed the pilot program has reached its 1800 client capacity, is well into the last year of the 3 year program and now has a waiting list (6 months -1 year). Although SMILE is still receiving referrals and there is no threat to what is already in place, there has been no indication as yet if the program will be renewed and fully financed and if it is, how long the waiting times will be. To make inquires about the program contact the VON Regional Smile Centre 1-888-866-6647 or the South East Local Health Integration Network (LHIN).
Around Town: It has been a busy month thus far on Wolfe Island with what has seemed like a long wait for the inaugural meeting of the new Frontenac Islands council and the installation of Mayor Denis Doyle. * Well known WI story teller John O’Shea was the most recent guest in the Historical Society’s speakers series. And as only John can, he brought to life his boyhood days on the island doing the simple things but enjoying them to the fullest with relatives and neighbours. Hired Hands on the farm became special friends from whom he learned any number of things including sucking eggs. His mother, a great influence in his life encouraged a strong work ethic along with generosity and a sense of humour in spite of difficult times. And like anyone who speaks of island life in the past, the high points, the low points, the saddest and the happiest moments revolved around transportation and the ferry. So too was it for John, but on this particular evening his focus was on the simple way of life he so enjoyed as a boy growing into manhood on Wolfe Island. *The annual Ecumenical Advent Service of Lessons and Carols was held this year at the WI United Church where everyone enjoyed a lovely evening and $200.00 was raised for the Food Bank. *The annual Santa Claus parade sponsored by the Volunteer Fire Fighters included decorated business vehicles, along with a number of new floats, an array of Fire and Emergency Service vehicles, horse drawn wagons and, had many children participating. In spite of his busy schedule at this time of year, Santa was an integral part of the parade, staying afterward for hot dogs, hot chocolate and family fun at the Fire Hall and long enough to wish everyone a Joyful Christmas and a Happy New 2011.
In a previous EMC article I may have understated the amount of material, time and talent contributed by suppliers and individuals toward the development of the NHL sized ice pad on Wolfe Island. Now as islanders wait for the next steps to happen
( 3-phase electrical power and poles to the rink, and a refrigeration plant installation with a small building) it is important to remember how the rink got this far, and to enjoy it, since winter has arrived…
The WI Community Centre Board (CCB) has had a plan in mind for a Community Centre project including a regulation sized rink for years and had been fund raising and seeking donations for that purpose on a continuing basis and continues to do so. However in 2009 when the CCB realized that the trucks, the crews, the cement plant, all on the island for the Wind Plant project, would be leaving, they asked for help by way of material, labour, services, equipment, specialized expertise and for volunteers to build the rink part of their plan and they got it.
With only 11 days to complete the major portion of the job, work began immediately with CCB member Danny Hulton at the helm. Digging happened, with gravel and sand to follow and trucks to dump it. Concrete from Lafarge. Specialized equipment appeared to level and roll. Rebar for the pad, and specialized piping for artificial ice was put in place along with insulation, plastic and taping. Volunteers, including young people, were there in droves to help, along with “Rink Champion” Don Cherry who cheered them on. It was a sight to behold. So, as a second winter at the rink begins, remember that it is due to the quick action of the CCB, the support of council, the incredible response for materials, services, expertise and the many volunteers that part of CCB dream for the township has already been achieved, at a significantly reduced cost. The rink is a beauty. When complete with refrigeration, it is estimated it will be a $1.7 million asset for the community.
Wolfe Island’s Dr. George Merry, an active member of Ducks Unlimited, (DUC) Canada’s leading wetlands conservation organization, has a passion for wetland conservation.
For over 30 years Merry has been an DU volunteer, a member of many DUC chapters, a fundraiser, and is among the first major gift donors to DUC on Wolfe Island where, in 2000 he donated 50 acres of ecologically sensitive land, with 850 metres of shoreline to the organization. The land is within the 127 acre Lasalle Marsh project at Big Sandy Bay (BSB). (The Lasalle Marsh was restored by DUC in 1990).
Recently the Merry family determined it was time to identify the donated area, situated about a half a kilometre along the BSB trail with a rock cairn built of field stone. “Instead,” George said, ”I found a rock on my farm on what we call tree island. A beautiful stone, it was identified as limestone, fieldstone and granite when it was put in place. We planned to put it on a concrete base but DU hydrologists said it was best to put it on gravel and let it find its own place and then surround it with beach stone.” According to Merry the plaque is now in place on the stone and identifies the area as ‘Ducks Unlimited, Conserving Canada’s wetlands’.”
This is in perpetuity,” Merry said. “The rest of the Lasalle project is what you call a conservation easement.” (a Conservation easement it is usually for 20 years.) “It is the very valuable coastal wetland and we have a lot of it on the island but it is disappearing at a great rate in the Great Lakes,” George said. “Birds that use the lake use the wetlands.”
George noted that DUC recognizes Wolfe Island as a staging area for ducks that come from the west and the Boreal Forest because of the vegetation available. “Big Bay is a treasure and is equal in importance to migrating birds as Chesapeake Bay. It is the jewel in the crown,” he said.
“DU is not only interested in wetlands and nesting areas but also in conservation tillage on the island where 760 acres are now zero tillage or ‘no till’ which reduces erosion and sedimentation in wetlands adjacent to agricultural fields,” according to Merry.
Now retired, George is dedicated to his family, works at his pheasant farm, pursues his love of water fowling, trains dogs and is an active participant in the affairs of Wolfe Island, Ducks Unlimited and its ‘seal bid’ auctions. His hope is to see more DU headstones on the island where, Merry noted, that in excess of $600,000 has been raised on for wetland projects.
Some Wolfe Island DU Canada's projects include the LaSalle Marsh Project, the Day Project, and the Bayfield Bay Project where restoration and enhancement activities included earthen dikes and water-control structures, planting nesting cover in adjacent fields, and acquiring coastal marsh acreage to ensure its conservation.
In May of this year Merry himself was honoured for his efforts when a rock cairn and bronze plaque recognizing his commitment to conservation was unveiled at the Collins Creek, DUC supported project in Kingston.
Around Town: * A very successful Flu Shot clinic was held at the WI Community Medical Clinic under the direction of Dr. Deanna Daneshmend and Kathy Gilbert, President of the Clinic. Special thanks to nurses, Dan and Danielle Hogan and Barb Chesney. Board members Betty Doyle and Walter Knott along with Perry Chesney assisted. * A well attended Christmas Market sponsored by the WI Business & Tourism Assoc. was a wonderful success. Camera Kingston’s Don Sleeth was on hand to recognize the winners in the annual photo contest. * Now that the ferry is operating from the winter dock, The Island Grill is preparing to close for the winter. *Interesting to note that the new temporary MTO waiting room at the winter dock is warm, clean and fully accessible. * Best wishes to MTO’s Roger Harrison as he retires.
Coming events: * WI Women’s Institute presents an evening about SMILE, (Seniors Managing Independent Living Easily) Wed. Dec. 8, WI United Church hall, 7 pm * Community Euchre, Thursdays at 7 pm. WI United Church.