More than 50 persons attended a special Wolfe Island meeting called by Frontenac Islands Council to determine whether municipal funds in the amount of $ 180, 000 should be spent to provide a private gas outlet on public land on Wolfe Island. The island has been without a gas outlet since Mosier’s closed that part of their service centre in 2014. The tenor of the meeting as it got underway certainly indicated a strong wish by the public to resolve the problem of “NO GAS”. It was a meeting to say YES to a gas outlet on the island, in this instance a card lock system at the Municipal Works yard for use by the public and YES to spending tax payer dollars to do it. And in the end, it got done..
FYI- A survey conducted in February 2014 indicated high public interest in establishing an outlet. CAO Plumley received an “unsolicited “ proposal from McKeown Wood Ltd for a card lock facility. A grant submission for $100,000 was made to CFDC by the township confirming community support and provisions for a lease agreement for fuel at the island’s Public Works property. A grant of only $50,000 was approved and hd to be accepted within a 30 day time frame or is lost. The McKeown Wood Cardlock proposal is also constrained by a time element expressed clearly by Jim Wood at a recent council meeting.
Early in the meeting meeting Mayor Doyle invited comments from a public who expressed anger and frustration with the process. Each in turn pleading with council to get on with it for the sake of the community, its survival, its viability.
George Merry put it this way” I’ve read what the bean counters have to say but my concern is for this community. We have lost so much through regulations. We have lost a gas outlet, a camp ground. We are down to one grocery store and housing sales are slow. Try to build a house on your own property and you will be so regulated, you can’t afford to build. I love the island and I will stay but we can’t keep losing. We are not viable any more.”
Mike Hawkins called on council to think about islanders. “I pumped gas in my uncle’s place when I was a kid. It was important for the island then. It is important for the island now. We need gas. . We’ve lost a store, the sewage truck, we have to bring water over. I want my Wolfe Island back. Don’t be afraid . Make a decision. Just do it,” he said.
Another quiet voice called on the mayor to live up to promises made on the campaign trail. “The community is going down the tubes. Do what you said you would. We need this outlet. “ However Jarda Zabarovsky , a gas committee member believes it will be hard to reach the 100,000 litres of fuel, unless every one uses the proposed system.
At this point, Mayor Doyle called on Deputy Mayor Natalie Nossal to take over the chair explaining that he wished to bring forward additional information ( perhaps too late in the process) regarding a possible 2nd unsolicited proposal for a municipally owned gas outlet slightly different in its financial structure. “This is not to slow things down . Council wants to see gas on the island as much as the community does,” Doyle said.
Resident Hugh Cowan spoke about the McKeown Wood Ltd. Business Plan that he and CAO Plumley had worked on and outlined the cost to the township of a municipally owned facility. “This is a perfect time for council to rise above numbers, to go ahead and take a risk based on community need.” He noted gas transport requirements and survey results identifying gas as a major priority next to transportation.
Questions were asked and answered between some shouts (nasty and nice). “Spend the money was the plea.” Councillor Springgay and Councillor Grant were solidly behind the project without further delay in response to requests during the election campaign. There were time line reminders from the company and ‘use it or loose it’ reminders from CFDC ‘s Anne Pritchard.
Mayor Doyle’s repeated concerns about elements of the municipal act, spending taxpayers money wisely , due process and of course whether it would be better to wait, go for an RFP (request for proposals). frustrated islanders. All of which came up between loud cries for “Let’s Keep going. We need this now. Vote for it.. You don’t have a choice…” Councillor Springgay… said again, “Its time to vote. It’s the right thing to do… CAO Plumley said she is comfortable with the solicitor Tony Fleming’s report ”but I will confirm everything with him again,” she said. tomorrow, “ she said.
Finally a unanimous ,recorded vote to go ahead with the project was passed. Frontenac Islands will enter into an agreement with McKeown Wood Ltd. for a cardlock system and further that the grant from FCFDC be received for this purpose. Deputy Mayor Nossal reminded all in attendance that “we are required to do our due diligence and as difficult as that may be we accomplished that tonight. In the end it is clear every one wanted the same thing.. “A Gas Outlet on Wolfe Island.”
Around Town:* Thanks to MTO for the Shuttle Service, Washroom services and of course the diligence of the ferry crews. *Marysville is beginning to buzz as workers/tourists adjust to using the bus . *Fishing has begun and boats are in the water.*The Boat Club is looking for help and participants. * Stone Heron Gallery opens Late June. * Check out the Island Grill web site also that of the WI Music Festival, WI Community Centre, WI Riverfront Golf. Horne’s Ferry to Cape Vincent, *Shanti Retreat *
Coming Events: WI Medical Clinic AGM Wed. May 27th 6:30 at the Clinic Come celebrate successes of the past year meet Bonnie Sparrow a Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioner, who will operate the walk-in clinic two partial days per week 30 June to 3 September *Pickell Band to Play at Trinity Anglican, Friday, May 29th, 8pm. $20 at the door
Frontenac Islands Council will be holding a public meeting at the Community Hall on the Holiday Monday May 18th , to get the process for establishing a Card Lock Gas Delivery System back on track. This came about at the regular May meeting of council that included a By-Law to enter into a Card Lock System Lease agreement with McKeown and Wood Fuels Ltd. The passage of the by-law was deferred much to the displeasure of many of the residents in attendance. Others questioned the process and the costs to the community for the service. One person noted that the municipal funding was not included in the 2015 approved budget and it should require public input before it is committed.
In his presentation, Jim Wood representing the McKeown Company, said he had approached CAO Plumley to see if there was a way to provide fuel to Wolfe Island residents . It was determined that the only way was through collaboration with the municipality in a card lock system. The municipality would purchase and own the fuel storage and dispensing system on township land, and would lease the facility to McKeown and Wood, who would operate and manage the site and set up accounts for island residents. “ Profit lines and numbers are tight,” Woods said, “ but I see it as a worthwhile project.”
The information sheet noted fuel at an average price of 2.5 cents per litre above the average retail rate. At this time, only the island’s Ambulance and Fire Services could make use of the proposed service, neither could personal cards, other than debit cards, be used together with a Card Lock card. Payback to the municipality would be based on litres sold plus annual rent. The total cost to the Township for the project would be $200,000, of which $50,000 has been received from a grant, and the balance would come from Wind Tower reserves. Jim Wood stated it was a very tight timeline for the project.
It was at this point, following the Woods presentation, that Mayor Doyle expressed concerns about the project relative to the Municipal Act that covers circumstances under which a community can support a commercial operation, noting the need for a detailed Business Plan that would indicate how long before there is payback to the municipality. “Then there is the new Bill 8 that calls for complete transparency and outlines that the Provincial Auditor has the right to come into any Municipality at any time, review any decision of council and reverse it,” Doyle said. “We need to make sure that we have done our homework and completely understand what we are getting into with a business plan
outlining our assumptions and risks. Did we put out an RFQ, have a detailed business plan, etc. If we voted on this tonight we would have a difficult time saying we have completed all that’s required”
Councillor Springgay was clearly frustrated.” We know what we want. Legally we can proceed. It seems we are going backwards on this issue. ” she said.
FCFDC’s Ann Pritchard spoke to the urgency of completing what needs to be done to proceed and the value of the gas project to the community. There is a 30 day acceptance period for the $50,000 grant (received May 4th)
Deputy Mayor Natalie Nossal said community values accessibility should be considered as well. “I don’t know how you quantify that for your analysis, but the non financial benefit and what it accords the population is important. So How soon can a business plan and public meeting be done?”
Acknowledging the anxiety of the public at that point , the Mayor Doyle said, “I don’t want to rain on this parade. We all agree there is not a person on this island who does not want a local gas station,” he said. “The question is do they want to invest $200,000 in the project. Do we have all our facts together to move forward.”
In Other Business:1. Council appointed Rob Dillabough as the Public Works Manager for the Frontenac Islands. 2. Frontenac By-Law Enforcement Inc. was appointed as the service provider for Animal Control and By-Law Enforcement. 3. This year’s 17th Annual Music Festival organizers have been authorized use of the Community Centre Grounds from Aug.6th- Aug.9th with overnight camping Aug. 6 and 7.
Around Town : WI Bakery is now Open also Mosier’s Variety * We Welcome Summer students to the Ferry Service. *The Shuttle Bus Service supported by MTO is now in Full Operation available for Residents and Visitors. As of Monday, May 11th, a free shuttle service on Wolfe Island is carrying ferry riders between the Dawson's Point Dock and Marysville. The shuttle runs continually during the week from 7:30am - 7:30pm and on weekends from 9:45am - 8:45pm. There are two stops in Marysville: one for pedestrian traffic right in the village at the summer dock and one at the Sacred Heart of Mary Church parking lot. The shuttle will operate while the smaller Frontenac II replaces the Wolfe Islander III currently in dry-dock. It requires higher water levels so must use the Dawson Point to dock. “Residents, visitors and businesses are feeling the impact of the smaller ferry. I strongly encourage people to take advantage of the shuttle service, as it reintroduces the option of parking and walking on the ferry,” according to Mayor Denis Doyle.”It will also allow our tourists to hop on the ferry, take the bus and explore Marysville by foot.
EVENTS: ** Feral Cat Rescue Meeting WI Town Hall on Sunday, May 24, from 1- 3 p.m. **The Brian Pickell Band plays at Trinity Anglican Church, Friday, May 29th, 8pm. $20 at the door, Children Free Shane Cook, fiddle; James Stephens, fiddle, mandolin and viola; Pat O’Gorman, flute, whistles and pipes. Julie Schryer, piano. Brian accomplished composer, guitarist, and banjo/mandolin player.** Robert Graham and Band coming to the Island Grill Sat, June 27th at 9pm. Mark your calendar,
I recall an editorial in the Kingston Whig in 2003 or 2004 that suggested if golf and tourism generally took off on Wolfe Island, Islanders would have to decide whether they really wanted change and if they did what about transportation? No, I am not going to talk about transportation, not really. How about tourism instead.
We are well into the month of May and Marysville on Wolfe Island has begun to come alive in anticipation of another busy tourist season. The winter entrance to the WIPP is gone, the sound of happy voices is heard through the open windows. Across the street a billboard announces that at the Island Grill is now open weekends, Thurs/Friday 11 am, and Sat./Sun. 10 am all to midnight. The General Wolfe Hotel is open. Fargo’s is gearing up for the first large influx of summer guests over the May long weekend. At the same time the Wolfe Island Riverfront Golf Course, on the south shore of the Island facing the United States and the international shipping channel, is open and welcoming golfers. And the Horne’s Ferry to Cape Vincent (with Customs both sides) has begun its regular “May 1st to Thanksgiving” service. At the same time Big Sandy Bay is staffed and opens to the public, weekends only from May 16th to June 20th, and full time daily after that till September, all with full time security.
Looking across the many open fields the cows and beef cattle with their romping, playful calves have been enjoying the fine weather and the outdoor grazing. The commercial fish nets are in the water. At the same time at Joy Boatworks, Bill and Michelle Joy are working hard to get the many stored boats ready and launched. (they, by the way, have taken over the Boat Works from Dave.) The Wind Towers are turning. Metal Craft Marine appears busier than ever. The Shanti Retreat has begun its new spring/summer season. The WI Day camp for children 5-12 is taking registrations. The Info Centre will open as will the Stone Heron (summer art gallery), and the Gift Shop as well, The Old House Museum, the Boat Club and White’s Wagon’s always in service.
There has been No Change to a long list of events scheduled for the summer months including a Fish Fry, the Island Classic Road Race, The Round Up, The Music Festival, Sorting Horse events, Canadian Plowing Match , the WI Plowing Match, Apple Fest, Pumpkin Fest, Barrett Bay Regatta, Book Sale, Family Ball, Music events, etc., etc. No doubt there are more.
And of course the seed trucks are arriving daily with corn, soy bean, hay, grains, etc., and incredible equipment is at the ready to continue planting them in the fields. Canada Geese, wild turkeys, & deer roam those fields devouring what was left on the ground before the snow in the late fall. O’Kee’s organic vegetable farm is selling shares at this time. Landscaping and gardening have begun in earnest. Trillium and crocuses have ventured out of the ground after a cold hard winter. Birds of many varieties are back. Swans and even frogs can be heard late evening and during the night. Fox and their playful kits are fun to sight. The osprey seem without fear as they fly high and low swooping regularly over the line of vehicles waiting for the ferry.
It is quite obvious with all that, TOURISM IS IMPORTANT TO WOLFE ISLAND, in spite of capacity problems with the ferry. Problems made even worse this summer with the Wolfe Islander III in dry dock and not expected back till late summer, and the smaller Frontenac 2 landing at the winter dock away from Marysville, the heart of most of it.
An Islander once said “the island needs to become totally self sufficient.” Great concept but it has never been that way. Islanders have always gone to the city to work or to bring the fruits of their island labour to the city to sell. So here we are with enthusiasm to showcase the island, but dependant on the Province to make that possible… One way or another, sooner than later, two boats, a bridge, a shorter route…. Please.
Around Town: A gas facility for the island is on Frontenac Islands Council agenda. * Also the hiring of a Frontenac Islands head of Public Works. *Approved by MTO, CAO Plumley is finalizing with Hulton’s Transportation a bus service plan from the winter dock to the village 12 hours daily. Also MTO is planning upgrades to toilet facilities at the winter dock.. Yea! *Traffic is heavy. walk-on’s, cyclists, cars, trucks, trailers . The road from the ferry seems so much narrower-be careful. *Frontenac County declared May3-9 Emergency Preparedness week (Frontenaccounty.ca for kit). Stay alert for Ticks (Lyme Disease) * There is a New City Bus Stop at the ferry terminal. *Visit WI Music Festival.
Coming Events: * WI United Church Fish Fry : Saturday May 16th Adults $14.00. Under 12 $6.00 Doors open 4:30 pm Take Out available. * WI Friends of Ferals meeting: Sun. May 24th 1-3 pm, WI Town Hall to organize a solution to increasing feral cat population Council members to attend. Come, share your views. *WI Medical Clinic AGM May 27th 6:30 pm at the Clinic. Welcome.