You have read all this before elsewhere but it bears repeating…..
The new Wolfe Island ferry service policy for responding to land ambulance emergency calls on Wolfe Island has been in use for months. As a pilot project the new protocol proved reductions in ferry system disruptions. It was formally supported at Frontenac County council in January. During the 6 month project, Wolfe Island paramedics responded to sixty-two requests for service on Wolfe Island resulting in forty-five ambulance trips off the island. Of those, twenty-seven ferry trips (60%) met the protocol resulting in no interruption to the ferry service. MTO also reported that the Captains of the Wolfe Islander III support the protocol as a permanent solution.
The policy states that *for all Wolfe Island land ambulance response calls, where the Wolfe Islander III is enroute to Kingston and has passed the Point Fredrick Buoy, the vessel will continue its voyage, disembark cars and passengers in Kingston; load and return to the Wolfe Island dock. *When a request for an ambulance response is made, the Frontenac Paramedic Services supervisor is to be notified by dispatch and the supervisor will initiate direct contact with the Captain of the Wolfe Islander III to determine and coordinate ferry movements.
“The direct contact between captain and supervisor is the important part of this protocol,” Mayor Denis Doyle said. “For many ambulance calls, it will help reduce long delays for ferry passengers at both sides and reduce disruptions to the ferry service and, it already has. “
WI Medical Clinic member Hugh Cowan, noted instances where island residents did not call the ambulance when they should have because of the ferry disruption it would cause to the community and ferry disruptions lasting longer than was necessary “I think that is just simply wrong. There had to be a better way.” He and Mayor Doyle raised their concerns with Ferry personnel and learned that the Ferry receives instructions from the Coast Guard with no direct contact between the Ferry and the Paramedic Supervisor to coordinate likely timing of the needed Ferry, or in fact, if no ambulance run was necessary. “I believe the revised Protocol is critical to improving the situation. I am glad it has been approved,” he said “Choosing a buoy as the “point of return/no return to the Island” makes the best sense, though I suspect having the Paramedic Supervisor be in direct contact with the Ferry Captain is likely to prove more important in terms of getting back to the Island ASAP or continuing on to Kingston. Much depends on where the Ambulance call is on the island and its nature,” he concluded.
Concern has been raised locally that residents requiring ambulance transport on the ferry might be put at a disadvantage with the new protocol. Frontenac County’s Chief of Paramedic Services Paul Charbonneau said: “The patient is and will always be the priority. Our response to calls, is the same as always. This new protocol does not change the emergency response to the patient and is fluid — in critical cases, when the patient requires immediate transport to KGH, it can be waived altogether. The FPS Supervisor will communicate with the Ferry Captain directly in order to meet the needs of each call.”
2. Deputy Mayor Natalie Nossal Excited with Liaison position
Frontenac Islands Deputy Mayor Natalie Nossal (Howe Island) attended her first regular meeting as a member of Frontenac County Council where Mayor Denis Doyle serves as County Warden. Perhaps most exciting according to Nossal is the establishment of “ County Council Liaison positions for each of the second member County Councillors, one for each of these departments, Emergency and Transportation Services, Corporate Services, Long-Term Care (Fairmount Home), and Planning and Economic Development. A 4-year appointment, the Council Liaison, acts as a conduit between Council and the Department¹s senior leadership, and will be the primary spokesperson for issues related to the operation and direction of the department, as well as provide monthly overviews of Departmental activities to Council,” she said. “I have been drafted as the Liaison for Emergency and Transportation Services. The institution of these four liaison positions will be a very effective way to support planning and communication between the departments and the Council, “ she added.
County Councillor Nossal also volunteered for the Frontenac County Youth Justice Advisory Committee “It has as its objective to ensure collaboration between those working within the youth justice services, and to promote the provision of effective services for young people in conflict with the law. She has volunteered to join the 150th Anniversary Planning Advisory Committee I feel somewhat of an interloper she said. so much has already been put in place for these anniversary celebrations. Hopefully I can help in some way.”
Around Town: Much activity at the Rink… Cold but wonderful weather. Many Visitors. The roof , the lights are so impressive. * Many thanks to the WIPP for staying open all winter in all kinds of weather and hanging on to the bright lights since Christmas. * Cable break shut down Frontenac HI ferry. MTO on the job quickly. Ferry operational by 5:30pm. * Many Snowy Owls sighted on WI last week……
Coming Events : *Workshop Farm & food Entrepreneurs 9-5 pm Feb. 5th, Sydenham Public Library Contac tAnne Pritchard: (613) 372-1414 *Specimen Clinic,8 am-10pm & Frontenac Paramedecine Wellness Clinic 8:30-12:30 pm at the WI Medical Clinic.
Frontenac Islands council approved a 15km-5km Road Race for women only, planned for Sept. 13, 2015 at 11am on Wolfe Island, to raise funds for two members of the Canadian Women’s Sailing team who are hoping to win a medal at the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro Brazil in 2016.
Sheila Kingston, a volunteer from Kingston, attended the January council meeting to seek approval for the request by the Canadian Sailing Association to hold a road race fund raiser on Wolfe Island for Danielle Boyd from Kingston, and Erin Rafuse of Halifax, who have been training and competing together since early 2013 in a new class of boat, the 49er FX with a goal of representing Canada.
“ Road races are an enjoyable experience, an excellent way to raise awareness and women’s races have gained approval in recent years drawing participants locally, and from out of town,” Kingston said, adding that the Kingston Running Room and volunteers will help with the running and promotion of the races planned to start and finish at the WI Town Hall. “We expect strong support from the sailing community as well as local runners and promotional support from the Queen’s Sailing team. (The WI community Medical Clinic board, sponsors of Wolfe Island Classic Road race held annually in July, in support of the Clinic, have offered their assistance and expertise.)
In other business: 1. Frontenac Islands Committee appointments were confirmed. It should be noted that Mayor Denis Doyle is an ex-officio member of all committees. Community Centre Board: Councillors Wayne Grant, Barbara Springgay. * Emergency Services: WI-Councillor Grant, HI- Dep. Mayor Natalie Nossal. *Ferry Services : WI- B. Springgay, HI- N. Nossal. *WI Historical Society: W. Grant. *Waste Management : WI_Grant, Springgay, HI Nossal. *Big Sandy Bay: Springgay. *WI Medical Clinic: Grant. *Parks & Recreation: WI- Grant, HI- Nossal. *Marysville Waterworks: Grant, Springgay. Seniors Housing: Grant. CAO Plumley joins the Cataraqui Source Water Protection Committee. The successful Howe Island candidate elected in the coming by-election will also have committee duties.
2. The report from Greer Galloway, concerning WI’s Reeds Bay Municipal Drain inspection, says that much is in good order but some further improvements are recommended. A spring site visit will be scheduled to assess what is needed.
3. A Frontenac Islands-(Howe Island District) waste agreement has been made with Stark Battams for weekly garbage collection along township roads to a transfer site, from Feb. 1, 2015 - Jan. 31,2018.
4. Not a month goes by without a loss of livestock with the township authorizing a $1,130.00 payment for the loss of a beef calf, based on its condition, to a coyote.
5. Frontenac Islands has entered into an agreement with OMAFRA to access the Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund over the next three years. The province has calculated it is eligible to receive $32,120 per year for capital projects and maintenance for roads, bridges and culverts, water and wastewater systems. Applications must be filed by March 31st of each year for the specific projects involved, with a report filed each year end.
*Interesting information was brought to the attention of council: a) AECOM’s Guy Laporte notified council that presently there is a slow down in the WI waste site’s conversion to a waste transfer site. At the same time he indicated that he had been in touch with Kenny Godin of Debruin farms Ltd. (Wolfe Island) regarding the use of their organic waste facility for the diversion of organic waste from the WI Waste Disposal site. Debruin Farms is offering an excellent opportunity to divert organic materials without “need for export it off the island.” Laporte will approach the Ministry’s Approvals Branch about an island ‘pilot project’.
b) WI resident Margaret Darling submitted a letter (in October) by outlining her frustration with cars butting into the ferry line up . She was able to get on the ferry but 4 cars behind her did not “ because of cheaters”. She noted cars parked in laneway entrances, and in spots left by those who had parked and then left the WIPP, and serious problems on hazardous goods days. Darling asked council to discuss her concerns and possible solutions. Township staff will review process of monitoring vehicles in line and defining parking spaces.
c) A partial funding request for the Howe Island VON managed Smart (Seniors maintaining active roles together) exercise program, has been referred to 2015 budget discussions.
d) A WI resident has called upon council to consider a “Wild Places” policy and process for determining needs of resident and migrating wild life before considering or making decisions on the sale or development of Township properties, and proposes a committee to outline recommendations focusing on natural resource protection, economic development and an informed public, that could inform decisions. Action pending.
The Howe Island District By-Election for one council member is March 2, 2015. Advance voter cards coming soon.
Telephone & Internet Voting ONLY. Advance voting begins Feb. 27th. Candidates: Edward (Ted) Besseau; Bruce Higgs;
Randy Pilszak. Council meets next: Mon. Feb. 9th , HOWE ISLAND 6:30 pm
Around Town: * Most Islanders are aware that the Wolfe Islander III’s 5-year refit is this year and presume it will leave in the early spring (maybe???) with a smaller boat taking its place, and so prepare for a difficult period. And most islanders are aware that negotiations between OPSEU and the Wynne Government apparently are not going that well, according to the OPSEU notice distributed by union members at the ferry dock recently. While islanders may be sympathetic should negotiations end in a strike, they also wonder about the scope (trips) of any Essential Service Agreement that might be negotiated between the Province and OPSEU for ferry service to the island, as there is no other means of transportation. ** Visit the WI Medical Clinic NEW face book web site: https://www.facebook.com/WICMC
Priority setting was the “agenda” for a recent special meeting of Frontenac Islands council. It was setup by CAO Darlene Plumley who in just a few months, during a difficult year including an election, has brought much order and efficiency to the operation of the township. CAO Plumley circulated a chart to council members requesting perceived township priorities and those heard from electors while by those campaigning. “So what you have before you is what you relayed to me as priorities, and I’m hoping we can prioritize them and determine what is manageable and how to accomplish them within a timeframe. This is an opportunity for council as well staff input,” she said. One section indicated common Howe and Wolfe Island priorities.
Councillor Springgay called for a high, medium low ranking priority plus a code for payback (defined as essential for township, financial, other). “ To be determined as we go,” she said. Marketing Wolfe Island is important but she recognizes its difficult because of the ferry. “We have a lot of homes for sale on both islands and unless we do something we could have a lower tax base. If we want to grow, we have to think about how to communicate (market) what we have here. Deputy Mayor Natalie Nossal agreed that the good news stories about the islands must be told…. reminding all that Howe Island has a “24/7, 365 days” ferry service and Wolfe Island has done well with recreation and parks.
While there was agreement that transportation and the ferries are the township’s highest priority, Nossal noted different transportation requirements for each island that can’t be put under one umbrella. “There is some similarity between Howe’s Foot Ferry and the Simcoe Ferry , “but not really. Different solutions are needed in each case,” she said.
While CAO Plumley meets with MTO regularly, it was concluded that MTO and council members must meet more often. MTO has yet to decide whether to allow at least some cars and passengers on the WI ferry ‘Dangerous goods’ days as requested by the township. A WI Committee for local transportation issues, parking, ticketing, etc. is a consideration. Mayor Doyle reminded council that the township has little control over what happens with the provincially operated Wolfe Islander. Locally the township will continue to plan for a new Howe Island foot ferry and how to improve Simcoe services.
*Roads and Infrastructure are listed as the 2nd highest priority concern. The township presently calls upon Jewell Engineering Inc. regarding roads, evaluation, budgeting. Mayor Doyle said the township must plan for surface treating some roads when economically feasible. Jewell Engineering will be invited to advise council on next steps (in preparation for budget meetings). Other concerns included need for radar type speed signs, village parking , snow fencing and so on.
* It was also determined that the township requires a “go to” supervisor staff person to manage township operations (roads, waste management etc.) and will proceed to do so..
*No gas station on Wolfe Island is a major concern. Efforts are underway by CAO Plumley to move a considered to be ‘doable’ project forward, which would result in fewer vehicles on the ferry.
*Waste Management is a high priority even if the closure of WI facility is delayed, as is recycling on Howe Island. Community committees / education /future initiatives were discussed. Mayor Doyle spoke of possible regional solutions.
*OPP cost increases and Asset Management are two major, critical, costly and mandatory items facing the township requiring public explanation. OPP costs must be understood and services clarified. *Asset Management requires both a roads supervisor and engineering services to determine a long term plan. Is it an annual 1% special levy? A Tax increase? Is it borrow and buy? or save and buy? Communication with the public must be a priority at all times, about all issues but particularly on these latter two.
All members of council and staff contributed to the discussion For instance a tax preamble was suggested as critical to bring realities of needs to taxpayers was suggested. Also suggested was a clarification and defining of WI Community Centre use, the Community Centre Board and the need for a hired manager for it and Big Sandy Bay, and for island promotion and development. *Howe Island is interested in more community health resources (wellness,blood clinics) and a permanent meeting centre. A market survey was suggested.
*The Frontenac Islands Township website will be upgraded using county and local help so that it becomes the ‘where to go ‘ site for matters of importance to taxpayers and the public.
A discussion regarding taxes took place. Members were reminded that no provincial grants for anything were forthcoming last year because from the province’s perspective Frontenac Islands taxes are low compared to other jurisdictions. Deputy Mayor Nossal said there is need for a dramatic change in how the township budgets in the future. “We should have increased taxes in the past,” she said.
Around Town: An early morning completely destroyed the WI home of the Bob & Lynn Brown family. A neighbour seeing an unfamiliar light in the Brown’s home as she was passing at 5:15 am going to the ferry, stopped, banged at the doors and windows until she got some response, probably saving Mom and children. (Dad at work) The community has begun to collect funds for the family, who have lost everything. For more information contact: Lesley Mosier at (613) 385-1671. * FYI: MTO has posted a request for expression of interest (EOI) for acquisition of a design consultant to do a Preliminary Design and EA Study for the Wolfe Island Ferry and Docking Improvements.
Frontenac Islands does not hold a New Year’s Levee. So attending the City of Kingston’s New Year’s Levee is not a new to us. Walter and I have attended annually for quite a number of years. It offers an opportunity to be in touch with Wolfe Island’s closest neighbour, and perhaps closest political associate, the Mayor of Kingston at this time Bryan Paterson. At the same time it offers the opportunity to catch up with the MP for Kingston and the Islands, the Honourable Ted Hsu and as well as our MPP, Sophie Kiwala.
Of course, I was personally delighted to see our former Member of Parliament, Peter Milliken, whom I met when he first campaigned on Wolfe Island and later when he visited the children at Marysville Public School, and writing about him on many different occasions there after. The same applies to our former MPP John Gerretsen, now “sort of retired”who has stayed in touch with island concerns over these many years and is known as a friend of the island. Both joined the line up to meet and greet the members of Federal and Provincial parliaments, the newly elected city council members, and Mayor Paterson at whose public invitation we were all there. Due to poor weather we only had time to wish Mayor Paterson well as he begins his 4 year term, before we left to catch the ferry home.
Islanders particularly those from Wolfe Island see Kingston in an entirely different way that most Kingstonians. They come into the city over the water towards its beautiful architectural landscape. They come into the downtown. They encounter the 4 sets of lights within a two block radius, and confront the city traffic as the ferry unloads. They walk into the city, on their way to work, to appointments etc. and see the many vacant buildings, have experienced probably more than most Kingston residents the loss of the S&R, the general store that held the down town together. They use the City, particularly the downtown provincial and federal services (health ,education etc) as well as the recreational, retail and food services. They notice the changes good and bad.
For Frontenac Islands in particular, 2015 is to be the Year of the Ferry, with improvements to Howe Island’s provincially owned Howe Islander and hopes for a new municipally operated foot ferry there. For Wolfe Island, the selected alternative is for a new 75 car ferry to operate from the island’s Dawson Point dock to Kingston’s Barrack Street all year, along with the Wolfe Islander III coming from Marysville to the same city dock during the high tourist season a particularly important time for both. These are the proposed solutions for Wolfe Island’s continuing transportation problems, specifically its lack of capacity. Oh really? Islanders have heard it all before.
Although they are aware that much effort is being made by MTO and Frontenac Islands to keep these options open and on track, they are also aware of Ontario’s huge debt, some of it caused by what many perceive as wasteful spending. How will Ontario pay its bills? On the backs of smaller cities such as Kingston, or smaller municipalities like Frontenac Islands? What happens in the event of public sector strikes? Does Frontenac Islands stand a chance. Will much needed infrastructure, including the proposed new ferry, fall by the way side ? Those are their concerns.
Interesting to note that Kingston’s Mayor Paterson attended the inaugural meeting of Frontenac County where Frontenac Islands Mayor Denis Doyle was installed as warden. At the time Mayor Paterson said that Eastern Ontario is stronger when it is together and his door, is open for discussion. Transportation is a major issue for both Kingston and Frontenac Islands… Is that topic open for discussion? Will this be on the agenda for the first meeting of Frontenac Islands council in this new year? Similarly there are many other issues of mutual concern that warrant open discussion between the township, the city and the county. Will it happen?
Around Town: The Wolfe Island Rink schedule is listed at wolfeisland.com Winter programs are underway.* Check also for WI Medical Clinic dates. *WI’s WINTERFEST is slated for March 1st at the WI Community Centre Rink. Watch for details.
Frontenac Islands Mayor Denis Doyle is now serving as Warden of Frontenac County for the year 2015. South Frontenac’s Mayor Francis Smith is serving as Deputy Warden. All members of Frontenac County Council (2014-2018) were sworn in by Madam Justice Anne Trousdale at a prestigious event attended by family, friends and constituents .
A number of politicians also attended the ceremony including MP's Ted Hsu and Scott Reid, MPP Randy Hillier and City of Kingston’s Mayor Bryan Paterson all of whom extended their good wishes and support. Greetings were presented on behalf of MPP Sophie Kiwala .
The role of Frontenac County Warden is a one-year term, filled by one of the four County Mayors. Frontenac Islands Deputy Mayor Natalie Nossal (Howe Island) is also a member of county council.
During his inaugural address following the swearing in, Warden Doyle added many significant comments to his prepared address highlighting some things he hoped would be accomplished or set in motion during his term as warden and as a member of the 2014 - 2018 county council…
“Looking back in history the County has a proud heritage,” he said referencing Frontenac County’s 150th Anniversary in 2015 and the plans to celebrate that history in Harrowsmith in August as well as in other parts of the county. He spoke of Sir John A. Macdonald as a major driver in the development of the City of Kingston and indirectly the Frontenacs “certainly impacting our way of life in the region. We ask all to join us for a Homecoming to celebrate the 150th Anniversary.”
With reference specifically to Frontenac County council Warden Doyle said “our role as Council is to set the tone through respectful dialogue for leadership,(responsible governance); stewardship, (quality of services, mindful of taxpayers’ abilities to pay, value for every dollar spent); and respect, (for taxpayers, for each other, for staff, for other Governments, the Townships, Kingston L&A, the Province and the Feds… and the political process by supporting the decisions of the majority of council.”
Warden Doyle referred to the present, three county priorities 1. Seniors accommodation in each of the 4 townships; 2. Meeting the emerging “post landfill” Waste Management challenges facing Frontenac residents, and working with Kingston and others in our region, and the Eastern Ontario Wardens Caucus to arrive at solutions 3. Reduce the burden of Residential taxpayers with focused economic development to bring in more Commercial and Industrial tax revenue. “As we make progress on these three, ,” Doyle said , “we can add more priorities, but we must focus on a critical few items, do them well, then add another. Frontenac County and Kingston have had preliminary talks to find a solution for the garbage needs of both municipalities post landfill site closures.”
When it came to shared services Warden Doyle had this to say. “Rationalizing costs through shared services across the Townships and County emerged as a theme during the last term of Council and will remain a top priority. Partnerships will be increasingly important as we face tough challenges,” he said. “We need to make use of each other’s expertise, buying power, and look at ways of sharing services across the County; promoting working relationships with the Townships and initiating County-wide programs that can help us achieve economies of scale. We also need to continue strengthening partnerships with neighbouring municipalities, especially the City of Kingston. Our delivery of services is interconnected and so too are our constituents – many County residents work in the City and many City residents spend recreational time in the County. It’s for the benefit of the whole region that this mutually beneficial relationship should flourish,” he concluded.
Doyle acknowledged in addition to the Townships and the City of Kingston other partners such as the Library Board, Health Unit, CFDC, Northern and Southern Frontenac Community Services among others as well the Eastern Ontario Wardens Caucus… and Volunteer and Citizen appointees to committees.
The final minutes of Warden Doyle’s speech addressed the relationship between county council and county staff and their efforts to provide service to their customers. “By working together and fostering good relations at this table, and with staff, we will be better equipped to find solutions,” he said. “I will promote Team work to support taxpayers in Kingston and the Frontenac’s.”
Around Town: The January Meeting of the Frontenac Islands Council will be held : Monday, Jan. 12, 2015, 6:30 pm, WOLFE ISLAND. *Check out WI Community Centre on Face Book for WI Rink Schedule.