Frontenac Islands Mayor Denis Doyle recently attended the Eastern Ontario Wardens Caucus (EOWC). The caucus met with Eastern Ontario MP’s to lobby for funding support and advice on key infrastructure projects in rural Ontario. “There are serious infrastructure deficits across the country related to roads downloaded to municipalities over the last 15 to 20 years, but we did not focus much of our discussion on that,” Mayor Doyle said. “ But locally in the Islands we have in the neighbourhood of $88 Million in assets most of which is the value of roads should they have to be built from scratch at this time.”
Mayor Doyle talked about EOWC successes. “Over the past 4 years they have completed a project to greatly improve Internet reception across Rural Eastern Ontario, at a cost of nearly $200 million. and supported by both the Province and the Federal government, each contributing one third of the cost. With that done we want to address inadequate or non-existent Cell Phone coverage in about half of our rural geography.” Mayor Doyle noted that in the case of the Islands down to the Quebec border the “stronger USA cell towers overpower the Canadian towers (Bell-Rogers). It is estimated that 130 more cell towers would be needed across the 13 counties in the EOWC area at a cost of $170 Million.” Doyle noted improvement in rural internet service but added that rural, isolated community health care services, ambulance and emergency services already demand even better, consistent internet and cell phone coverage. “Rural development, rural home sales, rural business ventures depend on it now. Without it rural communities will fail, cease to exist.”
According to Doyle the EOWC is currently working on a business plan with regard to the issue. “ Since there are so few customers in the rural areas of Eastern Ontario one thing is certain that we will need Federal and Provincial assistance as the private sector could not justify the expenditure.” Doyle noted waste management as an Eastern Ontario region concern, “say from Cornwall to Trenton, we are not sure what the long term solution will be, but we do know that Durham region opened a modern, expensive Incinerator plant south of the 401 east of Oshawa, with much of the
operation costs covered by selling electricity generated from the heat sold back to the power grid.”
And wearing his Frontenac County hat, Warden Dolyle said county budget discussions focused on how to manage the long term asset management plan. “The county adopted a plan to set aside a special levy of 0.65% of the budget for long term asset replacement, mostly buildings in the case of the County,” he said. “Short life assets such as ambulance vehicles will require building up reserves to cover 100% of the cost before purchasing, but long term assets, such as Fairmount Home we would plan to save 50% of the value before rebuilding, and finance the remainder.” He described the program approved for new light weight ambulance vehicles to be built with automatic stretcher loading and unloading systems (smaller outside, same dimensions inside, weighing half a ton less than current vehicles) with automatic shut down – restart engines to maintain appropriate inside temperature and having an estimated 40% fuel cost saving.
According to Mayor Doyle, Frontenac Islands greatest budget challenge is the increase in OPP costs from “$100K to $300K and planning for asset management primarily of our downloaded roads.”
Coming events: Budget meeting dates: February 27th, 10:00 am; March 11th, 10:00 am; March 18th, 4:30 pm. #2. Council meets Mon. March 9th- Wolfe Island #3 WI Medical Clinic No Specimen Collection Clinic Friday, March 6th. New Dates: Friday’s, March 13th & 20th. Clinic CLOSED Good Friday April 3rd. Friday April 17 is the month’s only Specimen Collection date. Wellness Clinics WILL BE OPEN March, (6th) and also on Good Friday (April 3).NO WALK IN CLINIC:with Dr. Russell on Tuesday, March 17. #4 And don’t forget Wolfe Island’s Winterfest 2015 Sunday March 1st at the WI Community rink beginning at 1pm. Bring your skates…
Around Town: Too often the Wolfe Island community has faced the loss of loved ones who died much too young, through illness or accident. Last Thursday there was a funeral liturgy at Sacred Heart of Mary Church on Wolfe Island for Gerald Eves whose sudden death, came as a shock to all who knew him. The liturgy was celebrated by Fr. Malcolm Burke who was joined by Rev. Canon Chris Carr and Deacon Gerry Moore from Wolfe Island’s Trinity Anglican Church. And in the company of Gerald’s grieving wife and children, his mother, his entire family, friends, co workers, the island community mourned with them and thanked God for Gerald’s life. He was one of their own and he died too soon.
There is no doubt about it. There are serious concerns at this time about the provincially operated ferry service (MTO) to Wolfe Island. Although talking about it has a tendency to cause concern for island business operators about the future of their island businesses, tourism and economic development generally . The hope being that in not talking about concerns, they might just all go away.
But instead, Frontenac Islands Councillor Wayne Grant brought forward a new and significant concern at the February council meeting where he introduced correspondence he received from islander Dr. Janine Handforth (Posthumus) on behalf of the dairy producers on Wolfe Island, addressed to the Dairy Farmers of Ontario, and written to raise awareness of potential issues that could arise “in the next short period of time” should an OPSEU strike come to pass. Dr. Handforth pointed out that as one of four Wolfe Island dairy farms, the only link to Kingston is via the MTO ferry.
“The employees of MTO are members of OPSEU and could walk off the job if a strike occurs,” she says noting certain essential factors. One that the milk transporter, from the mainland, comes every other day to pick up the milk from the four milk producers. Without an island outlet, livestock feed is delivered from the mainland, as is gasoline and diesel fuel twice weekly for the operation of farm machinery since there is no island fuel depot. If there are veterinary services, or issues pertaining to milking equipment and machinery etc., service providers must come from the city. Their fees include travel and time spent on the island. These service providers receive no preferential travel status on the ferry
There were clear reminders by Dr. Handforth about the last strike, when picket lines were set up and the Essential Services Agreement, established between the OPSEU union and the province, set three round trips in the morning and three in the late afternoon. The remainder of the time the “boat” was anchored whether there were vehicles waiting in line for transport or not. (The regular schedule of the Wolfe Islander III ferry from Wolfe Island is 19 roundtrips per day and any extra emergency trips.)
Following some discussion it was determined that the Township of Frontenac Islands will send a letter to the Minister of Transportation Steven Del Duca, M.P.P. Kiwala, & MTO Regional Director Kathryn Moore, identifying the negative impact of reduced ferry service on Wolfe Island residents, farming operations, local businesses and those in need of medical support. They will also be reminded that the impact “will prove to be even greater” when the Wolfe Islander III goes into dry dock for approximately 12 weeks at which time use of a smaller ferry see the reduction of vehicle capacity from 55 to 35 during this period compounded by the ‘Dangerous Goods’ restrictions and the lack island fuel supplier, the township is requesting that in the event of a strike , essential service trips should be determined by vehicle capacity rather than ‘the number of trips’ as was the case during the strike in 2002. Most islanders remember it, all too well.
In other business: #1. Dates for Frontenac Islands budget meetings , all to be held on Wolfe Island are as follows;
February 27th, 10:00 am; March 11th, 10:00 am; March 18th, 4:30 pm. #2.The By-election for a Howe Island councillor will be held March 2nd. electronic voting only #3. Council received information re Frontenac Islands Fire Department/Emergency Services: *a Fire Prevention Policy; *a Fee for Services policy; *and adopted the Simplified Risk Assessment report presented by Fire Chief Quinn. #4Council meets Mon. March 9th- Wolfe Island
Around Town: WI Medical Clinic announces cancellation of Specimen Collection Clinic Friday, March 6th. New Collection Dates: Friday’s, March 13th & 20th. The clinic will be CLOSED Good Friday April 3rd. Friday April 17 is the month’s only Specimen Collection date. Wellness Clinics WILL BE OPEN March, (6th) and also on Good Friday (April 3).NO WALK IN CLINIC:with Dr. Russell on Tuesday, March 17.
Welcome to Wolfe Island’s Winterfest 2015
The Frontenac’s Team Captain, Roland McKeown , will be a Special Guest at Wolfe Islands “Winterfest Sunday, March 1st beginning at 1pm.. Some favourite Frontenac’s (6-8),” will be playing along with young WI hockey enthusiasts at a hockey game, a highlight of the day’s activities at the covered rink. They will also have an opportunity to meet Islanders who faithfully attend Frontenac’s games at the K Rock Centre.
Of course Wolfe Island’s Winterfest includes the Chilifest challenge (sign up sheets at Fargo’s) to make a little chili, taste a little chili, and have a whole lot of fun regardless of how chilly it may be.. Along with the chilli, the popular Wolfe Tails , a sweet sugary confection, sausages and more, will be available. The day also includes, music, Free skating, and 50-50 draw with all proceeds for WI Community Rink. Celebrate winter with us March 1st and remember..the ferry lands at Dawson Point… not Marysville…
In his first 2015 address as Frontenac County Warden, Frontenac Islands Mayor Denis Doyle said that the role of council is to set the tone for leadership, stewardship and respect, outlining very broadly what those roles require. At the same time he outlined Frontenac County’s three strategic priorities for the next four years including * meeting the needs of Seniors,* the “post landfill” Waste Management challenge for Frontenac residents and * reducing the burden to residential taxpayers. “We must focus on a critical few items, do them well, then add another,” he said.
Mayor Doyle offered similar insight at the beginning of a local strategy and priority planning session undertaken by Frontenac Islands Council and staff in late January. The meeting was led by CAO Darlene Plumley.
Throughout the meeting council members were clearly focused on local community needs and concerns they became aware of during the election campaign period. Deputy Mayor Natalie Nossal spoke of a meeting place for Howe Island (as part of seniors initiative perhaps), establishing certain health initiatives (wellness programs), and better communications in every area, signage web sites, general information. Nossal said residents there assume that much of what happens on Wolfe Island is township generated when in fact most of the community activity and events are volunteer initiatives undertaken through local associations and volunteer committees of council.
The Wolfe Island Medical Clinic is community owned facility (not the township) supported and maintained through donations/ fund raising and a grant from the township. It has an elected volunteer board of directors.
While all issues were considered important, of high priority to Councillors Springgay and Grant were the ferry services, roads/ infrastructure and waste management now, and post land fill site closure, and communications with the public, The ferry (4) issues were identified as individual in each case, requiring the appointment of a Committee of Council, increased regular communication with MTO regarding traffic demand management (dangerous goods, providing gas for residents, ticketing) and other options. Communication with the public through web site re-design, Frontenac Islands promotional materials, public education, , communications committee mandate, etc. all came under discussion . Market surveys with residents are seen as a very important way to determine a community priority/preference.
Roads and infrastructure require the hiring of Township Public Works Supervisor/Manager . Developing a criteria for road development and a financial strategy for surface treatment to be considered. And of course Waste Management is a of high priority with further efforts regarding recycling /reducing the garbage generated, possibly accepting organic waste, developing a user fee policy and moving to eventual transfer station.
Policing costs, determining a proactive service delivery and how to reduce cost of calls per service all came under discussion. As did the idea of having an economic development/recreation coordinator. Staff will begin a review of township facilities and programs, those tasks presently assigned to volunteers, to staff and at staff workloads as first steps. All members of council were well pleased with the session and expressed thanks to CAO Plumley
FYI- Members of council serve on Township (Howe-Wolfe Island) Community Committees, all of which have volunteer boards and operate with volunteers, township staff assistance and in some instances summer staff. Frontenac Islands (Wolfe Island) owns the Historical Museum Building, the Community Centre (rink, grounds), Info Centre and other Howe/ Wolfe Island municipal facilities and operate Big Sandy Bay.
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. * Power failures, heavy winds and lots of snow has been the order of the last few days.. * Many Snowy Owls sighted on WI of late. * Check out wolfe island.com, * Wolfe Island WinterFest March 1st *Watch for Council budget meeting dates coming soon.