One of the first stories I heard about Wolfe Island, at about the time of our arrival 22 years ago, was one told me by islander John O'Shea. It was about a very smart horse named Minnie (if I remember correctly) that would at the urging of her owner travel across the ice pulling a sleigh without a driver to Kingston to deliver island goods and would return to Wolfe Island with supplies. Another incident that remains strong in my memory about the high regard Wolfe Island has for its heritage as horsemen and women, came from the late Deanna Greenwood who encouraged me to attend WI Horse Association events at the community centre grounds. There I learned about Barrels & Keyhole, Flag & Poles and saw adults, and even very young children, riding enthusiastically in particular events. Perhaps it was then that I became fully aware of how important horses were, and continue to be, to the culture and heritage of the island. In times of joy.. in times of sorrow…for transportation,..for pleasure, and for business.
My neighbour loved to ride and took advantage of days off to ride HER horse. Our grandson, with us summers learned to ride on the island. Our granddaughter and her husband were carried to their wedding reception in a WI horse drawn carriage. I saw that every island event included single riders, horse drawn wagons, carriages, sleighs, and cutters. I think often of the (late) Alzina King's description of what it was to be all hunkered down under blanket in a horse drawn sleigh in the cold of winter to ride from Breakey's Bay to church on Sundays. I remember well the first time I saw the horse drawn hearse on its way to the cemetery, the tall black hats worn by the drivers. I think often of an image I have of a Wolfe Island dad and his son (all grown up now), in white shirts and straw hats driving a wagon to the city to provide rides for a Kingston event, or to be part of a parade. And of course the island's 150th Anniversary parade brought out every island rider, young and old and every horse drawn vehicle buggy, carriage, cart, kind of cab, jaunting car, and wagons. An unbelievable array.
As I understand it now, from Horse Association members, more island children than ever are learning to ride, have horses and yearn to join in…
But recently issues with Frontenac Islands Waste Bylaw affecting horse owners and operators were brought forward by them at the November meeting of council. The by-law covering all public roads has had the unintended result in its current wording of extending animal excrement rules beyond Marysville village. “With all the wild animals in the country side, cattle crossing, horses etc. it is not practical to enforce the same rules outside Marysville,” Mayor Doyle explained following the meeting. “It was brought to our attention and we need to see how we could reword the By-law, to limit the sections related to animals to Marysville while maintaining the sections related to garbage on all public roads across Frontenac Islands. The mayorand councillor Grant will meet with 3 community representatives very soon. “I hope to have a reworded document for 1st & 2nd reading at the December Council meeting on Howe Island, and hold the final or 3rd reading until the January meeting of Council on Wolfe Island,” he added.
Members of Wolfe Island's Ken White family, operators of White's Horse-Drawn Carriage Service along with a group of horsemen/women attended the November Frontenac Islands council meeting to register their frustration with the passage of a bylaw to Regulate Waste on Township Roads . Their opposition centres primarily on .. Sections # 2 related to domestic animals and the disposal of excrement from public property including sidewalks and municipal roads and #3 which states: no person shall drive, lead, walk or ride a horse, pony or similar animal on a sidewalk in the municipality.
“Wolfe Island is a community built on strong values and traditions violated by the passage of the bylaw, “spokes person Rob White declared.”We are here to challenge and seek the amendment of sections 2 and 3. Their implementation will change the Rural community that we call home.” His presentation which included references to how other rural townships dealt with 'horse manure on the roads' without bylaws. “It's the way the bylaw is written,” he said.
Mayor Denis Doyle indicated that that there had been no intent to cause difficulty or punish with the bylaw but to deal with garbage issues that had arisen. “We don't always do it right,” he said. Councillor Grant and other council members acknowledged an error with the bylaw's quick passage and a need to clarify its boundaries with the village as the big issue. In conclusion Council agreed: 'that no action be taken with regard to bylaw sections 2 & 3 until a meeting has been held between horse owners, interested parties, and council and proposals to amend the by-law have been agreed upon.'
2. MPAC Assessment: WI residents Edward and Gail Kenney were in attendance to discuss issues around their MPAC property assessment appeal, denied by the Assessment Review Board, potential appeals, and dissatisfaction with the appeal process. Reading from a prepared statement Ed, alternating with Gail, questioned council's absence at the hearings, their expenditure of $50,000 of wind farm money for a lawyer at the hearing as a misuse of funds, and their loss of equity, comparing MPAC assessment levels and broker information of a lower property value level.
“MPAC approached us to negotiate initially with the township's lawyer who was adamant the township would not agree to a settlement, if the wind turbines were mentioned. We were not prepared to disguise the issues,” Ed said. They have been granted leave to submit a motion requesting a review of the decision of their appeal based on “withheld MPAC and township information. We are looking for compensation for loss of our investment.” MPAC is not prepared to acknowledge wind turbine impact and has no criteria established to guide its assessment of properties affected by nearby turbines ,”Gail read “This council has continued to follow a policy of alignment with the wind corporation on this issue. ” Council members questioned some figures outlined in the presentation, the intent of amenities agreement, costs of hiring of a lawyer etc. It was noted not all assessments of properties adjacent to wind towers have been lowered, while others remain high. Mayor Doyle said that in the event of a further MPAC appeal, the decision to spend/or not spend money for legal council will be a budget decision made by the whole council. Councillor Springgay confirmed all legal expenditures for services were clearly identified in previous year budgets with no complaints The Kenney's left a package of information supporting their position.
3.Wolfe Island Network (WIN) for a Healthy Community: committee members Donna Ivimey and Kayo Murakami Wood, presented a report on the work of the WIN including its history, 2012 annual report and a proposal for continuing and expanding WIN activity (sustainability) beyond the March 2013 grant period. “WIN encourages healthy lifestyles and social development (with a focus on youth and seniors), gathers and shares information among community organizations,” Ivimey said. “Coordinating local resources results in better programs and strengthens community capacity. Based on the Community Inventory we propose the creation of a Health and Social Development Committee of Council to continue engagement with community groups .” Kayo Murakami had prepared a number of posters showing the interaction between community groups and organizations. The WIN report suggests a $7,500 part time co-ordinator contract and $2,500 operating costs. Mayor Doyle thanked them for their presentation.
WIBTA (Business & Tourism Association: VP Curtis Ireland informed council that WIBTA is continuing to wind down in preparation for dissolution of the organization. The township has taken over responsibility for the public facilities and Information Centre, hiring etc. “We are currently looking at ways to keep the wolfeisland.com website going,” Ireland said. (WIBTA AGM, Nov. 20th, WI Town Hall, 7:00 pm)
Other Business:1.An update of the grant request to the Community Infrastructure Improvement Fund received from WI Community Centre Board Chairman Paul Hogan led to the passage of a resolution stating that: regardless of whether or not the municipality receives approval for the Province of Ontario FIT Program the Township intends to make the construction of a roof for the outdoor arena a main priority.
2.Bylaws passed: 1. to establish Howe Island annual ferry fares. (annual pass $220.), 2. Animal Control & Bylaw Enforcement Services by Frontenac Municipal Law Enforcement Inc
3. Council committed $ 15,000.00 for a Howe Island Transportation Study. Contract awarded to AECOM.
Items of interest: *Payments for livestock damage approved (3calfs, 1 heifer), *The township will: request MTO funding/engineering advice about Howe /Simcoe Ferry's low water boarding problems. Fire Chief's Quinn and White very concerned, contact Kingston about repairing the Ontario St. entry at WI ferry dock, post notices that Council will be discussing the unloading of bicycles from the Wolfe Islander III, Congratulate Henderson Farms for successes at Royal Winter Fair.
Members concerns:* Councillor Springgay was unhappy with the removal without permission of the Canadian flag from the Town Hall pole by a citizen and requested a letter be sent to the offending citizen. *Councillor Grant wants WI Senior housing kept front & centre. Planner Joe Galivan will be invited to present Frontenac County's Senior housing study results *Deputy Mayor Jones questioned how a large cost overrun of costs for the surface treatment of WI roads could happen with internal controls that are in place. Township's system of internal controls.
Around Town: *Trinity Anglican “Beef Supper,” St. Margaret's Hall Sat. Nov.24th, Doors open 4:30 pm. *WI Christmas Parade Saturday, Dec. 8th - 4:30 pm
The main street of Marysville was very quiet on the glorious Sunday Morning that was Remembrance Day 2012. A large crowd gathered in front of the Town Hall, the largest crowd since the inauguration of the island's original November 11th observance in 1994.
That year it followed the erection of a plaque dedicated to the residents of Wolfe Island, by the Island's Township Council of the day as a tribute, the plaque says, “to the men and women of the community who answered the call of their country to help preserve the peace and freedom we now enjoy” words referenced to by Ken Keyes who led this year's observance.
Joining the observance were the clergy from the island's 3 churches with an opening prayer offered by Fr. Ray de Souza Pastor of Sacred Heart of Mary and a biblical reading read by Rev. Gerry Moore of Trinity Anglican. Wolfe Island United Church Pastor Erin Burns offered the reflection on this day. Rev. Canon Chris Carr offered the closing prayer and blessing and Wolfe Island United Church Pastor Erin Burns offering the reflection on this day. War Dead commemorative Certificates where they are buried or where they fell in battle
This year there were two RMC Officer Cadets, in scarlet, present on Wolfe Island. Officer Cadet Coche opened the observance with the reading of “In Flanders Field” while Officer Cadet Bennett was the Piper .
The names of islanders who lost their lives and all those who served Canada in war and in Peacekeeping, including some present on this occasion, were read by Theresa Broeders and Diane Hawkins. An Act of remembrance was read by Jenni Johnson, Remembrance by Kristen Mattson and a final Canadian Reflection by Liz Crothers (islanders all). Officer Cadet Bennett played the Reveille following the two minutes of silence, and wreaths were laid by Frontenac Islands Mayor Denis Doyle, Merchant Navy Veteran Vern Yott, Peacekeeping-Peace Making Veteran Sgt.(Ret.d) Joseph Sanford, Canadian Forces MWO Denis Chercuitte and Cpl. Simon Berry, the island's St. Lawrence & Wolfe Island Women's Institutes, the WI Historical Society, WI Emergency Services, and the school children, all were escorted by the cadets.
Perhaps is was Pastor Erin Burns who touched the hearts of young and old as she reflected on the words of her grandpa, a 2nd World War veteran spoken to her as a 9 year old who said with sadness in his face, I hope you never see war . “To which I said, yes grandpa, war was a long time ago. (We had troops on the ground in Somalia, Bosnia and Croatia definitely places of war,”) she said. “I recently heard a statistic, not sure if it is true that I in five Canadians is a veteran which means that most of us know someone directly or indirectly who has served. For me it was first grandparents, now it is friends, people I went to school with, kids I baby sat. The veterans I know would probably say I was a naïve 9 year old. Peace is not something that just happens it is something we have to work for, and sadly means sometimes through armed conflict. We know that God is on the side of the oppressed, the suffering, the hungry and afraid and is calling us to remember and in that remembrance to stand in solidarity with our veterans. Remembrance Day is one day we pause to say thank you to those who have fought, for those who have suffered and live with that experience, to those who have died and to those who mourn.. So today, we are reminded once again we have 364 days to work for peace and that hope by my grandfather that our children never have to see war,” she concluded.
At about the same time a local fly past organized by island resident Tony Tifenbach (Kingston Flying Club)consisting of 4 small craft, flew by overhead with one plane circling the area.
This year's Remembrance Day Observance and the reception that followed was organized by Pat Sanford with MWO Denis Chercuitte, president and members of the WI Historical Society. Of particular significance this year were the War Dead Commemorative Certificates of eleven islanders, where they are buried or where they fell in battle in the 1st and 2nd World Wars hanging for this occasion in the Community Hall.
And of note at the reception, along with the wonderful food, were the framed pictures and profiles of the many island residents who have served Canada over the years. As the township's plaque says: 'Some made the supreme sacrifice. Others suffered from severe wounds and hardships. Still others continued to serve in Canada's Forces and still do today.”
Around Town: *Congratulations to WI's Robert Henderson, Awarded Grand Champion
Jam & Jelly Maker at 2012 Royal Agricultural Winter Fairand won the Judges Choice Award for his Raspberry and Pear Jam.Henderson Farms has been making jams for the past 25 years. * George Horne is home. We wish him well as he recuperates. * Linda Whitfield “Savour Big Sandy & Beyond is guest speaker at the Friends of BS Bay AGM Wed. Nov. 21st 7pm WI United. *The location of the Christmas Craft show has been changed to the WI Community Hall, Nov. 18th 11-3pm. *The WI Santa Claus Parade will happen, Saturday, Dec. 8th starting at the Fire Hall at 4:30pm.*Indoor walking happens Sundays from 11 am to 12:30 pm at Sacred Heart School.
Following a brief welcome, by Frontenac Islands Mayor Denis Doyle, to the 50 or more people in attendance at a community meeting, Frontenac County's Director Anne Marie Young, and Planner Peter Young (not related), got on with what the meeting was all about. A Community Improvement Plan (CIP) for Marysville. The move forward to developing a plan had received approval from the Township council in July. This was the first public meeting set up to hear from the community at large. (It was noted that only 3 of the 7 businesses in the village were represented.)
A CIP is tool under the planning act to encourage economic development with incentives to the private sector to encourage community projects. They are different for every community and are put together by the community, business, organizations, etc.
“There are many areas that might be considered for a plan according to Peter Young,” such as affordable housing, senior's housing, façade improvement (storefront), structural upgrades, and property tax incentives to encourage property development, converting space, etc. A CIP would encourage a vision for Marysville and focus the community priorities for its future,” he said, noting that developing a good CIP can promote action among businesses, residents, community groups and the township, to accomplish projects that they would otherwise never achieve.
“There are focal points in any community, points that create a lasting impression. If they reflect the community's values, if it looks like an exciting place, then all that can translate into more economic activity, promoting small business development and increased options for goods and services. ( CIP,s have been used in Kingston, Loyalist Township and Sharbot Lake).
As a case in point were pictures of building façade improvements and new business developments that became the anchor for the main street in Gananoque. Funding opportunities for façade improvement, municipal project grants, accessibility grants for projects were outlined.
Already gathered in four groups, Peter posed three questions about Marysville for the participants to consider.
1. What qualities do you like about Marysville? 2. What are its most pressing needs? 3. What are the key goals and objectives for the village in the next five- ten years? The responses were:
Like most about Marysville: people, comfortable- safe, secure, pace of life- great main street lots of potential, history small town atmosphere…..
Needs most: more commercial space, a central space, water and sewage , traffic calming, beautification of streets , revitalization of buildings, on island employment, permanent public washrooms, better lighting, garbage pickup, a development plan, bicycle paths, improved sidewalks, change of attitudes, address seasonality, signage.
Goals : update zoning bylaws, better lighting (consistent), better parking, develop water front, more public space, improved public washroom services clean up main street , address seasonality, festival that identifies us, capitalize on heritage, gain waterfront access, welcome new businesses, encourage walk on traffic, beautification through flowers, more winter activity. Along with the obvious implication for municipal involvement in the CIP, the final goal was: that the Township hire a business development officer to direct the process (funding, zoning, space, work directly with the public etc. ).
(As an aside, a resident expressed some disillusionment with the condition of a number of Canadian flags in the village as an example of simple things that need to be done.)
“It is evident that Wolfe Island residents clearly appreciate the village of Marysville and see many areas for change and improvement,” Anne Marie Young said following the lively discussion. “We will consolidate the material over the next few months and continue our visits to residents and businesses to obtain more opinions, ideas and proposals, and report to the community in the new year.”
For further information contact: Peter Young, Community Planner, County of Frontenac 613-548-9400
Coming Events: *Remembrance Day on Wolfe Island Sunday Nov. 11th Please arrive by 10:45 am This occasion has become more and more important over the years. Every year it has been a little different. This year Pat Sanford has been collecting pictures of islanders who served Canada in the military. A reception will follow the ceremony in the WI Community Hall. Plan to attend. You will be glad you did…. *Wolfe Island Christmas Craft, Art, local products & baked goods. St. Margaret's Hall Sun. Nov. 18th 10 am- 3pm.