After many special meetings the 2011 budget for the Township of Frontenac Islands was approved at the regular meeting of council in June. Before passing the by-law to levy taxes Mayor Doyle thanked members of township and county staff as well as council members for their effort.
“Its been a long drawn out process but we have reached the end of it. We were delayed somewhat by the County Budget where we did manage a decrease of about 2%. Here we have managed to keep both wards at about a 3.1% increase which is just barely inflation,” he said adding that much work is slated to be done on roads. “ A lot of good, very expensive capital work is getting done.” ( Doyle said that Community groups that applied for funding will be advised regarding amounts to be received.)
The total net spending by the township will increase by 8.5 % ($92,000) with a county decrease of $21,000. The final mill rate increase of 3.1% in both wards was arrived at by using many reserve funds to keep the tax rate lower in spite of higher road costs and the WI Rink refrigeration unit. Many roads on both Howe and Wolfe are slated for surfacing: (Dep/ Mayor Jones is looking for a capital plan in the coming year for Howe Island reserves, particularly roads, “to maintain our roads in good order as we move forward.”
In other business: an application by Dan Keyes of Temper All Refrigeration Ltd. to sever an existing Howe Island quarry operation from a rural agricultural retained lot, drew many comments from the public specifically Dave Munroe, Rick Monroe and Kathy Piercy. The comments however related to the quarry itself, the berms that are supposed to be there and they say are not, gaps in berms not of sufficient height, also noise, appearance, hours of operation, relationship with MNR etc. as well as concern with what the owner has in mind for the future of the quarry, rather than the requested severance recommended for approval by the Township Planning Consultant. Keyes maintains he is in compliance with MNR and there is no timeline to what is being done and expressed frustration with the ongoing complaints with the quarry. Council, while acknowledging the public’s concerns approved the requested severance which is essentially to separate the quarry off the farm. One condition of severance is that the retained lot is suitable for agricultural uses. Residents were not happy with the outcome….
*Council also refused an application, made by W. Daechsel (not for the first time) to amend a shoreline residential zoning bylaw on Howe Island to permit a 2nd house, as contrary to the bylaw. “Our position on this request has not changed at all ,” Councillor Norris commented.
*Frontenac County’s Joe Galivan , Manager of Sustainability Planning, presented a report titled “Population, Housing and Employment Projections for the Frontenacs” as part of the sustainability project referencing in this instance Wolfe and Howe Islands. “As a result of our work we have a growth model that we can update every year to keep track of what’s happening on the ground. Its an attempt to give each council a snapshot of growth over the next 25 years and what it means specifically for each township. Galivan said the county has a higher aging population as compared to the city ”as baby boomers age in place and more come here when they retire.” He spoke of cottage conversions, employment, home based business, more seniors rather than families retiring to the islands, stress on the ferry system, pressure on the official plan and land use. “One outcome of the study, ( also seen by MTO), is that the county has set aside funding to do a seniors housing study,” Galivan said much to the pleasure of Councilor Springgay. Access the study at: directionsforourfutuure.ca
*Frontenac County Human Resources Specialist Colleen Hickey presented the Human Resources Review proposal to be completed for the Township of Frontenac Islands. Mayor Doyle noted that there is money in the budget to proceed.
*“Taste of Wolfe Island” president . K. Rothermel firmed up plans with council for a temporary closure of Road 96 and the erection of tents in front of the WI Town Hall in order to hold a “Farm to Table Dinner” on July 23rd and tent removal (best efforts) by 9 am July 24th. A notice will be sent regarding the road closure.
*Livestock damage payments were pretty heavy this month.
*Following n update by HI resident Austin Page council will seek an deadline extension from the Algonquin Lakeshore Catholic District School Board regarding acquisition of the Howe Island Schoolhouse to December 31, 2011.
*Council indicated their support for a series initiatives from the WI Ferry Transportation Demand Management (TDM) citizens group and will ask MTO for their support. Read at wolfeisland.com (WI Digest entry). Councillor Springgay requested a recorded vote on this subject.
*Discussion followed as council supported a resolution made by the Township of Thessalon concerning the negative impact created by the installation of ground mounted solar systems. Minimal control over their location is cited as a very serious problem. What are they worth to the township? Industrial tax?
*Howe Island resident Bonnie Smith made a request to rent municipal property to open a store and was invited to come back with a formal plan for consideration. Is there a need for a Development committee? a question put forward.
*Dep. Mayor Jones expressed frustration with the County’s dollar decrease for the HI Proclamation Day event.
- Mayor Doyle noted a letter will be sent to “Le Régiment des Voltigeurs de Québec” (historically significant to Wolfe Island) inviting them to join in 200th Anniversary of the War of 1812 festivities next year and receive keys to the Township.
Next Council Meeting Wolfe Island, Mon. July 11th at 6;30 pm.
Around Town: *Tickets are now available for Taste of Wolfe Island “Food to Table Dinner” July 23rd (which begins at 5:30 pm with Dinner at 6:30 pm.) from www.tasteofwolfeisland.ca members, WI stores, Tara Foods, Kingston Info Centre - $35. each. * W I Farmers' Market takes place Saturday’s 9 am - 12pm , Town Hall. No need to bring a car. * Just a week to go before the Wolfe Island 5k-10k Road Race, Sunday July 3rd. *Euchre, Thursday’s 7 pm, WI UC Hall *All Howe Islanders are invited to celebrate Proclamation Day!, Saturday, July 16th from 4PM, Howe Island Municipal complex .Tickets $5
The former Wolfe Island Kraft Plant is alive with activity of late. Some months ago all manner of boats were brought from the mainland and are now parked around the building. Then a number of people began arriving off the early morning from Kingston apparently going to work at the building, (among them Jerremy Neff, the former WI Devlopment intern.) More recently the left wall of the building was rebuilt , a very large aluminum double door was put in place and finally what was obviously a Metal Craft Marine built aluminum boat arrived and was moved through those doors. Finally Wolfe Island resident and Metal Craft’s Tom Wroe began spending many days there as well. At that point it seemed appropriate to ask Tom what’s going on?
“Originally Metal Craft had some space here to do experimental work,” Tom said “ but we were able to negotiate for the use of all of the west end of the building from Scott Industrial Services, owner of the building, so we now have 12000 square feet of manufacturing space.. The building is not very high so is not suitable for bigger jobs and will serve instead Metal Craft’s Research and Development work.
Presently Metal Craft has a contract for the retrofit of two existing Metal Craft built and purchased boats, one operated by the Harbour Master of the City of Annapolis, Maryland, (a sister city to Kingston with its Military College, water and boats) built 10-12 years ago and the other, their sewage pump-out boat built 4 years ago . The pump out boat was built with the help of an EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) grant , an agency put in place in 1970 by then US President Nixon.
“ Now both engines, though fairly new, do not meet the new EPA Tier 2 Marine regulations,” according to Wroe. “Annapolis received a grant from EPA to refit the boats and turned the plan into a proposal to go instead diesel/electric/ solar, a plan which we (Metal Craft) then took to the National Research Council. (NRC). NRC came up with some money for us to learn how to do it as they could see a market for that type of propulsion. Though the project is heavily subsidized, that’s how new technology gets off the ground in many cases.”
Tom went on to talk about the operational profile of the boats (35 knots per hour) but not in the harbour where they loiter and how they hope to fulfill the contract . “ So far we have come up with a system that uses diesel, electric power from solar panels, a generator on board charging batteries and plugging in on shore. The challenge is to meet speed requirements when loitering or moving out of the harbour.”
Tom went on to talk about some of the projects underway at the island facility. Metal Craft employees have engineered a painting booth and recently were able to completely paint two boats. “It’s great. Here we don’t tie up the whole building as can happen in Kingston but only a portion of it.”. They are doing a number of projects with aluminum and structural foam, “easy to work with, amazingly strong, no distortion, reduces welding and time.” They are completing a boat that will run on used vegetable oil. “It’s not like having a rad. We are having a hard time capturing the heat to preheat the oil but we have a couple of ideas that will work or set the boat on fire.”
Wroe said they have done this kind of experimentation before but had to steal people away from a job and do it in a back room. “Here on the island we are dedicating more time to experimentation although the pressure is on us to also do money earning work. So we will have the paint shops going, custom metal work being done on both sides, boat building in the end bay and myself and a few others focusing on new projects, experimentation with a 70/30 split at this shop. I am looking at everything based on reducing our carbon footprint and coming up with ways of making do with less. So our focus here at the Research and Development Centre is going to be on fuel efficiency with an overriding purpose of reducing our carbon footprint which will give us an competitive advantage,” he said.
“ The diesel, hybrid, electric idea for the Annapolis boats for instance. If we can add an inexpensive option and reduce the town’s expenditures and at the same time reduce the carbon footprint and fuel consumption there is a market We are not just doing this to save the planet, You have to keep making money or you don’t get to keep on experimenting That’s a fact of life.
At the present time the work force at the island’s Metal Craft Research and Development plant is made up of 3 in the office including Wroe, 6 or 7 men from the city in the shop, “five of us from the island including two 2 part timer’s doing projects, and Josh DeBruin (13) who is crazy about boats . He volunteers here once a week and we do boat things together.”
A tour of the site was a real experience, many different types of boats being worked on, specialized metal equipment in place , etc. and, a happy work force.
“Right now we are just trying to get everything set up . And there is a lot of talent on the island, people who could fit into this. There are those trained in alternate energy programs and so on. We see solar as a big thing,” Wroe concluded. But that’s a story for another time.
Around Town:* Take note of The final round of PIC’s for the WI Transportation study, Mon. June 27th, Sacred Heart School , 5-9 pm (presentations 6 & 8 pm.) Also Tues. June 28th, 4-8 pm, Holiday Inn. Presentations 5 & 7 pm. Within 20 year time frame,the technically preferred plan includes dual ferries: new, vessel Barrack Street and Dawson Point year-round. . Wolfe Islander III, Barrack Street and Marysville, (ice/water conditions- Dawson.) Plan considers Travel Demand Management ie.. priority boarding for HOV/green vehicles, implementing a toll regime, etc. *6TH BARRETT BAY REGATTA June 26, 2011 9:00 am Registration (Wolfe) Island Grill. * Islands council passed budget.
Transportation may be the most difficult problem confronting the CITIZENS of Wolfe Island as evidenced by the overcrowded ferry from May to October and at peak periods all year. But island roads and their upkeep are a bigger headache for the Township of Frontenac Islands. Since the “Who Does What” period of the Provincial Government when Roads #95, #96 and the winter dock road, all once designated as Provincial highways, were turned over to the Township. At the time Frontenac Islands received what seemed like a large sum of money to compensate for the downloading of the many miles of highway “as is” by the province. Therein lies the rub. Since that time Frontenac Islands is responsible for ALL municipal road development and maintenance, as well as the former highways, all very costly (It has been estimated that resurfacing 1 Km of road would cost $50-$60,000) and….prior to amalgamation the combined WI Roads Departments (MTO &Township) had a crew of 12. Frontenac Islands presently has a crew of 4.
All of this came up at a recent budget meeting where council studied a request from an island resident that the township look at surfacing treating 1.1 KM of Joy and Langdon Roads. “Resurfacing of island roads is a priority,” said Mayor Doyle following the meeting, “but we have learned that surface treated roads last much longer when culvert work and ditching is done and the extra gravel needed to build up the level of the road is allowed to settle over a winter. We need time otherwise money is wasted.”
The request, according to the mayor, suggested the township develop ‘a defendable process’ that would determine the number of households per kilometre using the road to be surface treated, and give priority to those roads that have the greatest number of people per kilometre. It also questioned how roads are chosen for resurfacing.“The budget request and the suggested process all contained in the very thoughtful letter to council requires further discussion which will happen.” he said.
Regarding the budget Doyle further added that with inflation running at about 3% it is difficult, if not impossible, to have ongoing tax increases of less than 3% without cutting services although council is working hard to keep the increase to not much more in both wards. Council will have one more meeting before the June 13th regular meeting when they plan to formally present and pass the budget. “With the number of kilometres of roads throughout the township and the small tax base there is never enough money to do what council, staff and the public would like to do,” Doyle added. (By the way, last year the mil rate dropped 12% and perhaps we need to catch up.)
Interesting to note that at a earlier budget meeting council determined that the administrative costs divided between Howe and Wolfe, be changed from an assessment base to a 70-30 split pending the Human Resources review being done by Frontenac County. At the same time legal expenses relative to wind farm matters will be funded from WI “Amenities Monies” and any charges related to the wind farm previously made to any Howe Island account will be reversed and allocated to “Amenities Monies.” These items have been high on the agenda of Deputy Mayor Jones.
Around Town: The Tourist Season has begun on Wolfe Island
As the municipality continues its budget deliberations and deals with the concerns regarding roads, transportation etc., Islanders are gearing up for busy tourist season and a summer of events and programs,( as well as family visits, kids home from university and grand kids on holidays.)
In spite of the rainy weather gardens are growing , spring flowers, masses of trillium, crocus, tulips and lilac, though heavy with rain, bloomed vigorously. At the same time there are ongoing efforts to spruce up Marysville .
Island business, closed for the winter months, while the ferry was operating from the winter dock are now open for business including the General Wolfe Hotel, the Island Grill and the very popular Wolfe Island Bakery location with its tempting smells and treats, always a ‘must stop’ place for visitors and cyclists.
The Grill has already lined up a number of musical groups for summer weekend’s and will host the Barrett’s Bay Regatta in June. The WI Pub and Pizzeria operated by James and Linda Kirkham, which saw islanders through the winter has increased its hours and is now open every day. And of course Fargo’s General Store and Megaly’s Convenience offer a wide variety of goods and services all year.
The Wolfe Island Information Centre is now open, and the Stone Heron Gallery owned by local artist Pat Sandford will once again operate at the Island’s Community Hall behind the island’s historic Town Hall. The Gallery includes the works of local artists including among others Kim Woodman, Jan Fitch, Linda Sutherland…. The Old House Museum will open soon and a self guided walking tour of Marysville is in the final planning stages.
All is not rosy however. It is perhaps our farmers who are having a most difficult time with the cool, wet weather first getting crops planted or using the heavy equipment they require to do their work. And at the same time the island’s many food producers are facing the same kinds of problems, very slow growth in the cool ,wet land . Not to be deterred however the food producers “Taste of Wolfe Island” Farmers Market will open weekly on Saturday’s outside the WI Town Hall beginning June 18th to Sept 18th inclusive (8am-1pm). Watch for details of the First Taste of Wolfe Island Dinner to be held July 23rd (serving only island produce and meats) . Tickets on sale soon.
Big Sandy Bay now open for the 2011 season, is managed to preserve the ecological integrity of this sensitive area and its fragile dunes. As a result, facilities are limited. You have been asking: EMC stands for Extended Media Coverage
Coming Events: *The Annual Kane- Mosier Memorial Golf Tournament, Sat., June 11th WI Riverfront Golf Course. Call Ward McCready @385-9925 * 6th Annual Barrett’s Bay Regatta, Sun. June 26th For Details:Leann at 385-1762 or Tom at 385-2222 * 31st Annual Wolfe Island Classic 5K-10K road Race Sunday, July 3rd Check out info: www.wolfeisland.com *Proclamation Day on Howe Island, Sat., July 16th from 4 PM Howe Island Municipal complex and Fire Hall (Tickets.)