by Margaret Knott
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Annual Archives
Margaret Knott's What's New on Frontenac Islands articles appear with the kind permission of the The Kingston Heritage Newspaper.

June 27, 2014
Minister and Mayor Prepared to Dive for Howe Island

Newly elected MPP for Kingston and the Islands Sophie Kiwala and Frontenac Islands Mayor Denis Doyle, both licensed divers, declared their willingness to assist the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) in their search for a second pipe missing thus far from the county Howe Islander ferry’s troubled ‘bubbler system.’
MPP Kiwala attended a public meeting on Howe Island to discuss the issues that arose due to the island’s bubbler system failure during the last winter, and to hear what progress has been made to solve those problems and make repairs before next winter.
The bubbler system did not work properly during the severe winter causing ferry delays, long line ups, ferry shut downs and frustrated residents; all of which placed a heavy load on the foot ferry at the east end of the island. Prior to the present examination and repairing of this year’s problems, the bubbler system had not been inspected for more than ten years.
It should be noted that MTO is restricted to repairing the present layout of the bubbler system including the existence of a possible second line. Any work beyond that, such as expansion would require an environmental assessment, consultation and approvals and could not be completed before winter 2014.
Mayor Doyle welcomed MPP Kiwala and her partner Chris Van Der Vyer to a full house of islanders, & introduced Frontenac County CAO Kelly Pender; Frontenac Islands CAO Darlene Plumley; Director of Emergency and Transportation Services Paul Charbonneau and Gale Chevalier, Deputy Chief . Also in attendance Deputy Mayor David Jones and HI Councillor Natalie Nossal.
Mayor Doyle also announced that (for a second time) no MTO representative was in attendance to present the ministry’s findings, leaving it to Director Paul Charbonneau to present the update. According to the MTO report staff reviewed the system ( pipes, compressors, air lines, valves, etc.) Video footage and a diver investigation of the system happened in May 27th indicating a number of problems. Condition of the island side pipes is poor, less so on the mainland. The areas around the docks will be the focus of pipe replacement. In the short term (2014) the focus will be on maintaining and supplementing the existing system . Divers replaced supply pipe sections to the downstream grid. Next steps will determine pipe pattern and placement around docks. A third dive to focus on dock pipes is anticipated. Any planning for replacement or expansion would start later in 2014.
Charbonneau noted that as of April this year Frontenac County (not MTO) is responsible for the operation of the bubbler system. “We are preparing procedures covering the turning off and on of the system; ice clearing voyages , he said. MTO is responsible for all maintenance and upkeep costs of the ferry.
It was a quiet audience , few questions mostly based on why did it take so long to get to it, what are the costs involved, need for regular systematic public updates; why an extra layer of bureaucracy between the township , the county and MTO; a need for dock repairs, and a reference to the HIRA survey.
Deputy Mayor Jones confirmed that a resolution was passed to replace the foot ferry. Considerable reserve funds have been aside and CAO Plumley has begun the process required to move forward.
Before Mayor Doyle closed the meeting, he thanked Ms Kiwala for coming. She in turn said,
It has been great to be here and to hear what you have to say. It is early days for me and I am learning as I go. I know the Mayor has a diving licence as do I. We have made a commitment to go down there if we have to. Failing that I will be more than happy to liaise with MTO and do whatever I can to push things along. It certainly is a pretty critical issue here. MPP Kiwala is Parliamentary assistant to The Honourable Michael Coteau, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport and Minister responsible for Pan/Para Pan American Games.

Frontenac County Senior Housing: Frontenac County is requesting proposals to provide the county with a Business Plan for the development of Seniors Housing in Marysville. Wolfe Island has been this route before but we have never come this far. Mayor Denis Doyle, Chairman of the Frontenac County- Seniors Housing Task Force-, alerted me to the newspaper ad regarding the possibility of a Wolfe Island senior housing project and the Business Plan proposal request. Consult Frontenac County or 613-548-9400 x 313
“At our last County Council meeting we passed a resolution to spend up to $25K on this study, and $5K more to update the base report for the other 3 townships when we get to that stage,” Mayor Doyle said. “In addition to those millions ‘liberated’ from Township Tax Payers over the past 15 years, we agreed to put $1.5 Million in a reserve to build a seniors’ facility in each of the townships. If my math is correct that would be $375K for us. While not enough to complete the build, I can now see us going forward with a 5 unit project on Wolfe.”
Addressing the existing gap in Seniors Affordable Housing stock by leveraging and/or funding the construction of a project in each of the four Frontenac townships - is one of the three “Wildly Important Goals” (WIGs) adopted by County Council to be accomplished by the end of the 2015-18 term of County Council.
Coming events: The Annual Classic 5K-10K Road Race sponsored by the WI Community Medical Clinic: Sunday, July 6th at 9:30 am Info at Kingston Running Room events * Community Euchre, St. Margaret’s Hall 7 pm Thursdays

Posted by M Knott at 01:11 PM
June 12, 2014
Howe Island Meeting Interesting, Informative and Hopeful

Howe Island Meeting Interesting, Informative and Hopeful An important resolution related to transportation, specifically the Howe Island ferry service was passed at the Regular Frontenac Islands June Council meeting. But then the most important issue facing Frontenac Islands is always about transportation. Couldn’t help but think that after years of writing about Ferry Services to Howe and Wolfe islands and in spite of many improvements that have come about, ever decreasing ferry capacity due to ever increasing demand is leading to ever increasing wait times with no real solution determined, except on paper.
But this resolution pertaining to Howe Island is different in that it authorizes township staff to investigate the process necessary to consider how to refurbish or to replace the Howe Island Township Ferry. And further that all this leads eventually to a proposal for a work plan based on information from the 2013 AECOM Howe Island Trasportation Study report “to accommodate the financial and operational commitments necessary to manage Howe Island ferry service demands.”
Deputy Mayor Jones reminded council that very soon based on figures presented it was clear that long lineups were inevitable sooner than later.”This resolution is really to ask staff to put the process in place, not necessarily to do the work but to find the solution for us.” He noted transportation management within the process is also important in this process in particular in the way commutes are managed, types of vehicle on the ferry etc. . “I am sure the CAO (Darlene Plumley) and her staff will bring a report to council that will engage not only the bureaucracy but the community as well.”

HIRA member Brian Humphrys thanked council but suggested that council also look at short and long term improvements to our existing structure and look at what to do without getting into big dollars. HIRA will outline certain initiatives that could be taken in a letter. He also asked for news about the Frontenac Howe Island County ferry bubble system problems Mayor Doyle said that there is information about the bubble system pipes that will be made available at a Howe Island community meeting with council tentatively set for June 26th.

**Howe Island is looking to improve their waste diversion program at their recycling transfer station.. and (eventually) eliminate disposal of recyclable material during curb side pickup. AECOM provided a Waste Recycling Strategy report which indicated Howe is poor at recycling. They are looking to improve their system in ways similar to those on Wolfe Island . Township staff will investigate options.
* CAO Darlene Plumley has been delegated by Council to submit and confirm the accuracy of costs claimed for submissions related to the Ontario Ice Storm Assistance Program. ($99K) Hopefully all contractors are urged to get their bills in early. Pictures of damage done by storm would be welcomed by the CAO.
*In April the Township adopted a by-law authorizing the use of alternative voting - the Telephone/Internet Voting method in conjunction with the paper ballot, and also entered into an agreement Intelivote Systems Inc. for the Telephone/Internet Voting service for the 2014 Municipal Elections. The Townshp received information and procedures for the method from CAO Plumley (Returning Officer)
* Staff can issue Lottery Licences properly documented prior to their presentation at a council meetings.
*The WI MacDonald Park proposal, a community park with water access, is alive as envisioned by Mary Lynn MacDonald. She is looking for the establishment of a MacDonald Park Committee of Council and a letter of understanding (including legal) with the township to proceed. The park includes a fragment of land owned by Mary Lynn in conjunction with the township road allowance at the canal entry on Road 7051 (winter dock road). Both Councillor Grant and Councillor Springgay volunteered to serve on the Park Committee. A notice for further committee members will be posted by the township.
* The disruption of traffic on Main Street in Marysville during the Kiddie Kilometre, a component of the 5k-10k WI Classic Road Race sponsored by the WI Community Medical Clinic , was a point of concern/discussion. The Main Street (Road #96) is closed from the General Wolfe Hotel to the Town Hall while the Kiddie race goes on, this year between 9-9:10 am, requiring cars to detour around the area during that time to access Road 96. The Classic attracts participants from Kingston, Cape Vincent,NY and beyond.
Frontenac County Planner Peter Young presented the applications during the Committee of Adjustment, lot additions;, new lot/right of way.. All approved. * WI Boat launch small craft facility/day parking for trailers at 18th Line now open. Councillor Springgay noted she had received requests for a launch site at the west of the island. Next meeting July on Wolfe Island
Around Town: *Now until Sept. 9th the Dangerous Goods schedule has been reduced to one run on Tuesdays at 11 am from Wolfe Island. * The WI landfill site is open Sundays: 9 am-5 pm June-15-Sept.14th. *WI Library dedication honouring the late Tim O’Shea is Aug. 9th. *Fine article about Chris Brown. We proudly claim him.
*Coming Events: *Ambush Concert “Under the Roof” July 18th. Many more listed at

Posted by M Knott at 01:06 PM
June 06, 2014
The Summer Calendar of Wolfe Island Events fills quickly !

In advance of a short getaway, it seemed the right time for a reminder of some of the events coming up on Wolfe Island during this summer season. First among them is the Re-Opening of the Stone Heron Gallery by owner Pat Sanford at the Wolfe Island Community Hall situated behind the Wolfe Island Town Hall and beside the Tourist Information Centre. Sanford has operated the Gallery from there for seven years. This year’s Official Opening is June 27th ( her preparations begin prior to that of course). When the doors open each year the Gallery is always breathtaking in its professional presentation of the works of the island’s many skilled artists and artisans. Pat also has done much to create a wonderful atmosphere in the rather plain building. Over time she was responsible for building the ramp entrance, interior painting, floor finishing as well as adding window security.
This years opening will include along with beautiful things to see, a Book Launch for Ottawa author Tudor Robins on the publication of her second, Young Adult novel - Appaloosa Summer . Tudor has a link to the island. She and her family spend much summer time at the Caldwell’s (her parents) family cottage. The book Appaloosa Summer is about Meg Traherne (16) who has never known loss until the beautiful, talented horse she trained, drops dead underneath her in the show ring.) Tudor’s first YA novel was Objects in Mirror.
Also at the Gallery author Jennifer DeBruin, will be on the island to sign her historical fiction novel, Shadows in the Tree, (concerning the American Revolution, UEL’s, Quebec. and Maria Catrina Eamer, alone in safeguarding her children ) The Island is so fortunate to have the Stone Heron Gallery open here from June 27 till Labour Day.
** The Wolfe Island Music Festival this year being held August 8th and 9th, 2014 once again has an exciting line-up: K-OS, SHAD, The Rural Alberta Advantage, Pup, Young Galaxy, Wilderness of Manitoba, Kopecky Family Band, Harlan Pepper, Bry Webb and The Providers, Zerbin, Thrush, Owls, The Luyas, Grey Lands Luther Wright and many others. Quite a mixture of music. Something there to please every genre the advertising. The WI Community Centre benefits from this event. For Information on tickets /passes; schedule, camping, accommodation etc., check out the web site: You can Get Tickets: Online, then at Brian’s Record Option/ The Grad Club / Windmills (Kingston) Fargo’s and The Island Grill (Wolfe Island) after June 15th,
This year Festival organizers are offering a Festival Express Boat for the festival. The cost of boat rides is included in the price of tickets for which the attendees to the Festival MUST show proof of purchase. Great solution for a difficult problem, which in the past has created great frustration for Wolfe Island residents trying to get home on the WI Ferry.
**The Wolfe Island Boat Club prepares for a new season, each year offering something new and exciting. Drop by on Saturday, June 21st at the Club’s Annual Open House & Try It Day. Check out the Spring Race Series on Wednesday nights beginning June 25th including Rowing, Dragon Boat and Sail. The Boom Kids (8-14) Learn to Sail happens August 11th - 15th. 9am - 4pm. Each year the rigs! For registration & info please email: Visit the web site: Take note that the date for the annual Barrett Bay Regatta has been changed from June to Sunday, August 24th

And of course there is the annual 5k-10k road Race scheduled for Sunday July 6th held now on behalf of the Wolfe Island Community Health Clinic. It’s a beautiful run along the river. Register now for this important event through the “Running Room.” Also visit FYI- The Clinic is wholly supported through donations and some assistance from the Township. The Clinic Board is working hard to gain access to further health services for the island community, presently only available in the city.

And finally watch for the dates of the Family Ball Tournament, Horse Club activities, Fibre Fest, the WI Ploughing Match, Old House Museum days, Church and Community activities/dinners etc., special music at the Island’s restaurants and events slated for under “The Roof”, as they come up.. Rent a Bike, visit the Corn Maze, take Horne’s Ferry to Cape Vincent..
And, there still is time to Register for Kingston Field Naturalists 16th annual BioBlitz to count plant and animal species June 13 to14 at Big Sandy Bay Friday (2:00 pm to 2:00 pm) Contact: Anne Robertson, coordinator, 613-389 6742, Additional information at: And June 14th, Marysville Public School Celebrates its 60th Anniversary 1-3 pm Come and share stories, reminisce about the “old days”, tour the site. The Information Centre is staffed weekends and during the week.

Posted by M Knott at 01:03 PM