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 26, 2015
“It is the Summer of our Discontent” or is it?

You have heard the news on radio, seen it in print , on screen, announced at a press conference by Kingston and the Islands MPP Sophie Kiwala, that Morrison Hershfield Limited has been hired to undertake and complete the Preliminary Design and Environmental Assessment Study for a new, 75 car ferry for Wolfe Island by 2017. The study paid for by the province, will also determine docking improvements/ wildlife impacts at Wolfe Island (Marysville /Dawson Point) and at the Barrack Street Dock. While not originally announced, the $1.8 M value of the contract was later confirmed by Kiwala’s office. Only one other bid for the second ferry EA to Wolfe Island was received. The exact cost of a new ferry won’t be known until designed. (Once upon a time the estimated cost of a ferry was $30 M).
According to MTO this is the first time that an environmental assessment study has been undertaken for a 2nd ferry on an existing route . A study in 2011 acknowledged capacity issues with the Wolfe Islander III. It can’t meet the demand of the ever increasing number of vehicles waiting in line for longer and longer periods of time. It was determined that a second ferry will increase capacity . But when ? Mayor Doyle hopes for the new 2nd “boat“ by 2018 . The EA announcement suggests a 2nd ferry between 2018-2020. “Maybe this means we’re closer to seeing the launch of a new 75 car ferry.” Good News if all goes well….
But Bad News for those who don’t believe it; for those who say they have heard it all before.. many times… And Bad News particularly for the Marysville Business Community struggling already because the smaller Frontenac 2 continues to operate from the winter dock in the absence of the Wolfe Islander. Will it, the Wolfe Islander on its return, operate from Marysville? The number of cyclists arriving at Dawson Point is on the rise but the number of walk-ons from Kingston is down, Americans coming to WI by way of Horne’s ferry, going on to Kingston are frustrated by waiting times. Although use of the welcome “Shuttle Bus Service” provided by MTO is on the increase, could/can WI’s Business Operators survive another 4/5 years, let alone the Summer of 2015 without a ferry operating from the village? But….

Hope springs eternal on Wolfe Island- Some time ago a petition went from Wolfe Island calling upon MP Ted Hsu to intervene on behalf of Frontenac Islands to the Federal Minister of Transport, the Honourable Lisa Raitt, with regards to removing the dangerous goods restriction presently on the Wolfe Island ferry service. And for the Ministry to issue a certificate permitting the ferry to carry vehicles once again along with the empty gas trucks returning to Kingston. According to Mayor Doyle, Minister Raitt listened to MP Hsu, understood the importance of the issue and called upon her staff to ‘get it done.’ “And they have. The dangerous goods restriction has been removed and a certificate issued requiring completion of certain work on the ferry… Our MP Ted Hsu has worked very hard on our behalf and we are grateful to him,” the mayor said.

Clarifying what needs to be done, Regional Communications spokes person Brandy Duhaime, said MTO is working towards implementing the changes approved by Transport Canada allowing regular traffic/passengers to travel on the ferry with dangerous goods. “We need to finalize the appropriate staff training, install portable foam firefighting equipment and adhere to all the conditions in Transport Canada’s Certificate. We are looking to implement toward the end of July, pending any delays,” she said. “The portable, foam fighting equipment, which can be used on the Wolfe Islander III and/or the Frontenac II is ordered. However, staff training and the implementation of a “No Smoking” policy must be in place prior to the first run carrying passengers and dangerous goods. MTO will inform the public of the changes and expected time of implementation closer to the actual date.”

Around Town: Senior MTO Captain Brian Johnson retired this week. As the ferry’s horn sounded loud across Kingston, Capt. Johnson with his wife Cathy close by, slowly walked off the ferry, threw his cap high overboard and with tear filled eyes walked into the embrace of a waiting crowd there to thank him for his many years of service , his friendship & dedication to the island he loves, and to the ships he sailed, and to wish him well at whatever he chooses to do.. no doubt not far from the water, whether that be with the “ferry tales” he tells or with the ”boats” he finds to sail. Thanks Capt. Johnson. …

Coming events:**WI Classic 5k-10 k Road Race in support of WI Medical Clinic Sun. July 5th. If you can’t run, show support by walking awhile. ** Stone Heron Gallery is Open.**Wolfe Island Round UP July 4th. **WI Boat Club book sale June 25- July 5th.** WI Yard-Vendor Sale July 4th Community Centre grounds. **Visit the Craft and Gift shop at the Wolfe Island Community Hall behind Town Hall Open Daily. ** July/August, Sacred Heart Church, Sat. Evening Mass 5:00 pm. Visit:

Posted by M Knott at 01:46 PM
June 19, 2015
Frontenac County Meets Frontenac Township

Members of Frontenac County Council along with county staff members travelled to Wolfe Island on the Frontenac 2, for their regular June meeting most leaving vehicles behind to get there. As part of Frontenac County’s 150th Anniversary Celebrations, council is rotating meetings through the four Townships: North, Central Frontenac, Frontenac Islands, and finally, South Frontenac in July. County Warden Mayor Denis Doyle, Betty Doyle and Frontenac Islands staff greeted county council as they arrived at the island’s newly decorated Information Centre offering coffee etc. before they moved to the WI community Hall, set up for the meeting. Joining Warden Doyle were Deputy Warden Frances Smith (Central Frontenac) and Councillors John McDougall (South Frontenac); John Inglis (North Frontenac);Frontenac Islands Deputy Mayor Natalie Nossal; Tom Dewey (Central Frontenac); Ron Vandewal (South Frontenac). CAO Kelly Pender, Jannette Amini, Legislative Services, along with staff members. The meeting, held in the community hall, had already begun its annual, summer transformation to become the Stone Heron Gallery (June 26th) with art pieces large and small and beautiful stained glass already in place. that beautiful morning.
Frontenac County’s Anne Marie Young dressed in period costume, and referred to as” Millie Murphy”, brought greetings on behalf of the County’s 150 Anniversary Planning Advisory Committee, urging all citizens to attend the150th Anniversary Celebrations coming up Aug. 28-30th in Harrowsmith.
1.Presentations: a) Ms. Denise Cumming, University Hospitals Kingston Foundation addressed County Council regarding Kingston’s hospitals and how support from the County of Frontenac has helped to further healthcare for the region.
b. WI’s Dr. Barrie Gilbert brought information about Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River Cities Initiative and its value to the county faced with water resources issues. “It is important to remember it not just about the number of lakes, we have to pay attention to shorelines where things are happening, development, pollution, agricultural runoff, septic, etc. We are inclined to look at lakes and fish and water quality but all of the materials from our industrialized society also come down into Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence, resources the county relies on. Right now a major concern is phosphorus, and it effects on the water,” which Gilbert described as he continued his presentation. County Council acknowledged the value and importance of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River Cities Initiative to protect the waterways, and communities close to them and will become a member of this initiative
2. It was at this point Warden Doyle gave over his chair to Deputy Warden Smith as they entered into a committee of the whole. .”We do this a little differently now, “ he announced. “ It’s a little more relaxed part of the meeting allowing greater participation.” What followed then was CAO Kelly Pender’s monthly report, with staff members (planning, finance, sustainability etc.) providing information and answering questions.. There followed reports by Council Liaison Appointees Emergency and Transportation Services - Councillor Nossal (also Youth Justice Advisory Committee); Long Term Care (Fairmount Home) - Councillor Inglis; Corporate Services - Councillor Dewey; Planning and Economic Development - Councillor McDougall. And so it proceeded…

Posted by M Knott at 01:41 PM
June 17, 2015
Senior Housing on Wolfe Island, Another Step Closer

It did not take long for Frontenac Islands Council to pass a resolution that will allow the township to move forward with the proposed WI Seniors Housing project, The Housing project took centre stage at their meeting on Howe Island when Frontenac County’s Planning Director, Joe Gallivan, reminded council of the county’s Strategic Plan prioriies to upgrade senior housing and transportation. That decision was followed by the establishment of a Seniors Housing Task Force and with Frontenac Islands – Wolfe Island ward stepping up first (for 1 of a possible 4 county projects). Following a study process initiated by the county, public meetings etc. SHS Consulting presented a Business Plan for Seniors Housing – Marysville project (March). “This meeting provides the next step between endorsing the project and getting to what we call the pre-development stage, Gallivan said. “ In between you need to make some commitments to show county council your preparedness to move forward that includes extending roads, land acquisition for this and further projects, and the establishment of a non profit organization to oversee it.’’ Council’s resolution and acceptance of the recommendations, once received by county council (July), will allow the county to provide monies for WI’s project. (already set aside from gas tax ?). Following discussion about occupancy eligibility , future projects and costs to taxpayers, council accepted the required commitments and resolved to move forward.

2. Public Works Manager Rob Dillabough presented his first report to council since his arrival 3 weeks ago. Dillabough said that he had been touring the islands Howe, Wolfe, & Simcoe. “In July I will be bringing back a number of issues for council’s consideration and decision as to what should be dealt with in the short term.” His report identified pending issues in numerous areas including Simcoe ramp access, spill kits at township pumps, and uniforms. Councillor Higgens asked if he was aware of Howe Island ferry issues. A resident asked who is responsible for the HI Trail. (All Council members had issues for consideration). Manager Dillabough said he is only aware of some issues at this time. CAO Plumley expressed her satisfaction with having Dillabough on board.

3. WI “Friends of Feral Cats”, an association of island residents formed in March, want to stabilize the feral cat population on the Island, estimated to be over the 300 already identified. Group members Jana Mills and Linda Thomas sought council’s support to carry out plans to organize and undertake a Spay/Neuter program for the island. They have been in touch with the College of Veterinarians of Ontario, and Welland’s Spay Neuter Clinic, to determine possibility of bringing their spay/neuter mobile to the island. If it happens , they are asking to use the community centre building as a recovery unit. Chris Brown and Teilard Frost, local musicians, will hold a fund raising concert (July) for the program using the rink to increase revenue possibilities. The group, not yet registered as a “not for profit”, asked if they might apply for grants under the township’s umbrella. The Township will issue a letter of support for the project, pay for issuance of a flyer ($75) and consider their latter request for the next meeting.

4. MTO is prepared to offer ‘Priority Boarding’ for: * Agricultural commodities, one truck per sale provided the truck is in line 20 min. before trip, except at 3, 4, 5, and 6 pm departing from Kingston and 5:45, 6:45, 7:45 & 9 am departing from Wolfe Island. * Asselstine Milk Transport Ltd. ‘ as needed’ basis June 1-Sept. 30th * Specific boarding opportunities for trailers during Rob & Erin’s Round Up weekend. * Priority for attending Nurses on case by case basis; for transport of Blood products. The number of trips Thursday’s Dangerous Goods has been reduced to one only per day at 6:15 am from Kingston; 11 am from Wolfe Island. (This will return to 2 trips a day in the fall.) MTO and the Township continue to discuss furthers options.

FYI: In advance of the council meeting, Frontenac County Planners Joe Gallivan and Peter Young held a Frontenac Islands Phase 2 meeting to continue updating the townships zoning bylaw amendment to ensure its conformity to the Township’s Official Plan. “With Phase 1 technical corrections completed, Phase 2 was an opportunity for review and to hear from the public what could improve the by-law . We also received letters/ emails from residents. This is an important process,” Young said.

Around Town: *MTO announced that the Wolfe Islander III will not be back until the end of July. Earlier maybe or later perhaps ? ** Speaking of the Wolfe Islander, its much respected senior Captain Brian Johnson is retiring after 34 years . Come out and celebrate with Capt. Johnson, Tues. June 23rd, at the Kingston Dock, later at The Merchant. ..** Friends of Big Sandy Bay-WI Boat Club 10 day Book Sale starts at the Boat Club in Marysville, Friday June 26th to Sun. July 3rd. Visit .** During May Shanti Retreat collected and matched donations for Canadian Red Cross Nepal Earthquake Relief Fund. Visit shanti

Events: ..** Friends of Big Sandy Bay-WI Boat Club 10 day Book Sale, Friday June 26th to Sun. July 3rd. at Boat Club Visit: *** Robert Graham and band at The Grill: Saturday, June 27 at 9:00pm ** WI Medical Clinic-WI Classic 5k-10 k Sun. July 5th. Two (2) Shuttle buses hourly all day from winter dock. Register at Running Room. Visit WI Medical Clinic Facebook ** WI Round-Up - Team Sorting Competition July 4th and 5th at the WI Community Centre.

Posted by M Knott at 11:31 AM
June 02, 2015
Challenging Time for Islands, Busy Days, Things to Think About, Prayers to Say

Busy Days ahead on Wolfe Island as the summer season of events begins in earnest. At this time Howe Islanders who want to know why their taxes are so high, have been invited to a meeting organized by the Howe Island Ratepayers Association (HIRA), with Frontenac County CAO Pender, and Warden Denis Doyle, (also Mayor of Frontenac Islands), Deputy Mayor Natalie Nossal and Councillor Bruce Higgs, to be held on Howe Island Thursday, June 18, 2015 at St. Philomena Parish Hall at 7:30 Pm to find out why. Wolfe Islanders are welcome.

Howe Island is not a tourist destination in the same way as is Wolfe Island. Cyclists, bird watchers and fund raising events (Terry Fox run for instance,) and an annual dinner are popular. Howe Islanders have undertaken the establishment of a park, and anniversary memorial and revamping their community centre grounds. Many maintain an interest in local politics and attend council meetings on a regular basis.

*On Wolfe Island right now, although the smaller Frontenac 2 ferry is operating from the winter dock at Dawson Point, the number of visitors to the island is increasing daily. Cyclists are coming in droves. Walkers take the distance from the ferry to the village of Marysville in stride. And of course the ‘Shuttle Bus’ supported by MTO, provides a much needed service for visitors who Park and Ride or just walk on from Kingston. For some events extra transportation is provided.
*The bells at the Wolfe Island United Church will have been rung 90 times Wed. June 10th (along with UC Churches across the province) to acknowledge the 90th Anniversary Celebration of the United Church of Canada established in 1925. The church’s small, but mighty parish, will make a joyful noise that day and serve cupcakes on the lawn when it is over.

*WI’s OLD HOUSE MUSEUM in Marysville, right beside the Island Grill, has been identified as one of 14 county locations for Frontenac County’s “Doors Open” event Saturday, June 13th —opened for the public to discover the county’s history during its 150th Anniversary Year. The museum, owned by the township, is thought to be the island’s oldest building. It is operated by the WI Historical Society and offers many different displays. But it is perhaps the stories you will hear about island life in the past from enthusiastic volunteers that will keep you spell bound. The Museum will be open from 10 am-4 pm. on that day (as are all other locations).

*A former WI resident musician Robert Graham, (vocalist/keyboardist/songwriter) is bringing his 6 piece band “The Fairest and Best” to the “The Island Grill” on Sat. June 27th at 9 pm. “I hope you can come,” Robert said in a note. ”I have a bunch of new songs. I would love you to hear them! Robert and Kerryn became part of the community following their arrival from Australia. Robert played at church/community events and volunteered when music was required. Kerryn offered her distinct artistic talents. It will be great to see him at “The Island Grill” and to hear him sing and play. Join us…..

*WI Horse enthusiasts were busy in early spring tidying up the community centre grounds, along with other community volunteers, for regular events and the regular season of the Horse Associations ‘Barrels & Keyhole’, ‘Flag & Poles’ where even children participate. More island children than ever are learning to ride, have horses and yearn to join in.

  • Rob and Erin White, the 4th generation of White's on a family farm, will welcome horse men and women to their 2nd annual WOLFE ISLAND ROUND UP to be held 4 & 5 of July, at the WI Community Centre Grounds. Deadline for entries, Friday June 12th. A ‘Round Up’ allows a team of 3 on horseback 60 to 90 seconds to separate three specifically identified cattle from a herd and put them into a pen. The first ‘Round Up’ in 2014 had more than 70 participants. The White’s also hold regular ‘ Ranch Sorting’ and ‘Team Penning’ events on their farm that involve moving specific cattle on horseback by riders in timed events, all intended to preserve the traditional skills of working cow horses and handlers. Check their website: FYI. White Family members operate the well known White’s Carriage–Sleigh-Wagon Ride business popular on the island and in Kingston.

*Coming in July is the Wolfe Island Classic 5k-10k Run Walk sponsored by the Wolfe Island Community Medical Clinic. The date is Sunday, July 5th at 9:30 am. All profits from the WI Classic support the WI Medical Clinic. The Clinic operates through fund raising, donations, gifts and a grant of $5000 annually from Frontenac Islands Township. It has a volunteer board of directors. Past President Liz Crothers encourages island residents and friends of whatever age, who do not, or cannot run, to Come Out to the Race and Walk instead, for whatever distance you are able….. in support of the Clinic ‘s objectives to provide as much health care as possible locally. Hope YOU are planning to participate
Around Town: *Summer appears to have arrived. Wind Tower maintenance underway, *Rain has blessed the fields. *We pray for our much loved, very ill, Rev. Canon Chris Carr.

Posted by M Knott at 11:26 AM
Dream becomes a Reality at Wolfe Island Medical Clinic AGM

A contract for services with Bonnie Sparrow NP (Nurse Practitioner) was announced by president Liz Crothers at the WI Community Medical Clinic AGM. The contract for two, half -day clinic’s per week (Tues. PM-Thurs. AM) with NP Sparrow will cover the 10 week summer period, (during Dr. Russell’s personal leave from late June to Labour Day) Ms Sparrow is not replacing Dr. Russell. The Clinic will pay for her services. “In my practice in Sydenham I did everything,” Sparrow said. (Diagnose, prescribe, refer, dispense etc.) “But I do not have access to Dr. Russell’s patients , so what we will have is a drop-in clinic on Tuesdays as usual, and a different kind of clinic on Thursday’s .” It was noted that there is no rostering, no cost for islanders and U.S. A. guests who use the service. “This our opportunity to demonstrate the need for a Nurse Practitioner permanently on the island. If we can, perhaps the Medical Clinic can get funding to hire a NP full time. We have to,” Liz said.
She outlined the programs that the clinic presently provides. and thanked the many volunteers, nurses, Mae, receptionists, blood transporters. and so many others who step forward with donations, or to help in some way. Services include: flu shot clinic, specimen collection service monthly 1st & 3rd Friday’s, Dr. Russell’s walk-in clinic, the paramedicine clinic, & a athletic therapist weekly at a cost. It should be noted that the WI Classic 5-10 k is the Clinic’s main fund raiser . “ Support the Clinic., enter and walk if you can’t run,” Liz suggested. Donations, bottle refund and support from the township provided other income. Treasurer Wilma Sjonger said in her report. We are doing well.
Changes to the board: Liz has completed her term as president. Leaving the board are Sue Bowers & Linda Van Hal. Remaining members include Hugh Cowan, Wayne Grant, Sally Kane, Wilma Sjonger, & Suzanne O’Reilly. New members elected: Linda Thomas, Jackie Bird, Jane Woodman, and Paul Taenzer reelected.
.Health care has always been a concern on Wolfe Island, as an isolated rural community dependant on a ferry for hospital and physician care. Before regular ferry transport island history tells us that in the early days, before regular ferry transport midwives tended to births and when the island’s population was at its highest in the mid 1800’s, a number of physicians lived and practiced on the island. Perhaps all islanders are aware of the name of Dr. Wm. Spankie who maintained a practice from 1885-1930. and those of nurses, Carmel Cosgrove, Louise Flynn, and many others who over the years were called upon to tend to the needs of ill or maimed islanders separated from hospital and emergency health care, for all of those recorded early years, which improved only as the ferry service improved.
The first Wolfe Island Health Clinic, a 12’ x 52’ mobile home opened in 1972. It was located on the property of clinic founder, Dr. George Mary, and his wife Catherine, an RN. It was bought and paid for through fund raising, and donations from Garden, Simcoe, and Wolfe Island residents, and cottagers. Also from Kingston businesses , all enthusiastic about the project and encouraged to do so by the Clinic Committee.
Dr. Merry’s vision was that the clinic would eventually be staffed by a Nurse Practitioner and /or a doctor full time and provide a variety of services.( FYI Dr. Merry also initiated the Island’s first Volunteer Ambulance Service again through donations, & fund raising.)
Since then much has occurred. The Clinic was moved (1981?) to property beside the Ambulance /Fire Services Building, donated by Mildred Hawkins- Walton, a driving force in the clinic’s viability. City Doctors serviced the island over the years, notably Dr. Hugh McBride in the 80’s, followed by the arrival of the Victorian Order of Nurses. The township hoped an isolated community designation might lead to hiring a Nurse Practitioner. Instead the Clinic closed for a time until Kingston’s Dr. Hans Westenberg began holding a weekly half day clinic beginning in 2003, until the WI Clinic fire in May of 2008.
Under the leadership of Mildred Walton and a strong board of directors the replacement of the WI Community Medical Clinic began on the same site and with the same enthusiasm from the community. There were donations of time resources, and money which the clinic, not a provincially funded facility, continues to rely on to operate. The new building is paid for…. The dreams of what it could become, remain. And todays clinic board of directors continues to search out ways of providing services locally so residents , those not requiring an ambulance, need not take the ferry to Kingston to receive care, perhaps a prescription, whose issues could be dealt with in a staffed clinic by a health care professional. Maybe this time with Nurse Practitioner Sparrow to help, the WI Community Clinic Board will finally be able to prove the value of providing medical care locally, as much possible .
Around Town: *We need rain very badly. * The numbers using the Shuttle Bus are on the rise.. sort of. * Good to see so many out walking in spite of little mayflys (?) buzzing round. *WI Friends of Feral Cats will hold a fund-raising concert and silent auction this summer in support of their spay-neuter initiative. Anyone with items to donate could
contact Gail Kenny 613 385 2365
Coming Events:*Specimen Collection Clinic 1st & 3rd: Friday June 5 & June 19 – 8 to 10 am *Paramedecine “WELLNESS” Clinic monthly 1st Friday June 5th 8:30 am to 12 *WI United Church Hall Rummage Sale –Silent Auction. Sat. June 6th, 9am- 2pm. Contact :Diane 385-2411 - Linda:385-2665

Posted by M Knott at 11:19 AM