Frontenac Islands Mayor Denis Doyle, Prince Edward County Mayor Robert Quaiff, and Loyalist Township Mayor Bill Lowry, with Councillor Duncan Ashley (Amherst Island), met with the Minister of Transportation, the Honourable Steven Del Duca, to discuss serious ferry service issues at Wolfe, Amherst, and Glenora. Kingston and the Islands MPP Sophie Kiwala attended the meeting.
“ It was a good open meeting”, according to Mayor Doyle who noted that the discussion included a request that the minister support the purchase of a used backup ferry to ensure continuous ferry service and safety in the three communities. And further with regard to a new 75 car ferry for Wolfe Island that the minister allow the design for it to start during the EA process (rather than at the end) ensuring an earlier completion date.
“Minister Del Duca was not only sympathetic to our situation but also apologetic about the present situation.” Doyle said “It was obvious that MPP Kiwala has been lobbying hard on behalf of the Islands and the existing ferry problems and has kept the minister well informed. The ministry will look into the EA process and consider use of a previous boat design . In industry it is not uncommon to use a previous design and alter it as required. They will also continue the search for a used ferry,” he said. “But we have to keep at it . One meeting can’t solve the problems. Hopefully we will get over the present situation with the Wolfe Islander III very soon and bring some relief to Amherst Island and continue to move forward.” Doyle concluded. The challenges of the ferry services have existed for more than 20 years.
2. WI Gas/Fuel Outlet. The response to the opening of the McKeown Wood Gas Pumps on Wolfe Island September 18th has been overwhelmingly positive. Except for a couple of glitches the first day, fixed in very short order by McKeown Wood, Wolfe Island residents are happy to access gas locally. Rather than using up 2 to 4 hours of the day in travel time, just to get the grass cut or to fill the boat to go fishing or to maintain the generator ever ready, they now can find it on the island. The Township of Frontenac Islands agreed with islanders this was a quality of life issue and an urgent need. The Township entered into a lease agreement with McKeown Wood Fuels Ltd. and with an expenditure of $150,00 plus the $50,000 from CFDC, moved forward in the best interest of the community. The Card Lock Gas & Fuel facility is located in the WI Municipal Works yard and is open to the general public.
3. The Land Fill Site (referred to as “The Dump”) on Wolfe Island is now a Recycling & Transfer Site. The ‘Great Hole’ that was, is now filled and topped arriving ever closer to being capped and seeded once and for all time. Recently the WI Historical Society in there annual Journal ‘Windword’ dedicated a page to the Quarry that became the “Dump”. Many tales are told about the place. “We used to skate there,” said one long time resident. Others commented about family members working there in years gone by. According to Vernal Yott , 92 who worked at the then quarry, the pay in 1939 was 25 cents an hour, the same price as a gallon of gasoline. When the quarry closed (1951) it was sold to Ernie Whitmarsh who in turn sold it to the Township of Wolfe Island in 1952 for use as a municipal dump.
4. And speaking of the Historical Society , their recent journal also pays special attention to the Dutch Connection and the arrival of families from the Netherlands following WW II (29 during 1948-49) with names ever familiar throughout Kingston and the Islands, De Ruiter, Vandenhoek, Hasselaar, Posthumus, Sjongers and many, many more all listed in “Windword”. The Historical Society offers history of the island to newcomers, refreshes stories and memories for life long islanders and safeguards the island’s past at WI’s Old House Museum with its increasing number of artifacts, through their annual speakers series, and of course, through “Windword”. For info Brian: firstname.lastname@example.org.
5. Federal Election- An All Candidate Debate will be held at the Gen. Wolfe Hotel (pub side) Friday Oct. 2nd , 7-9 pm. Organizers will accept questions from Islanders only, written in a civil manner (on paper provided). Coming from Kingston you are encouraged to use the free Shuttle Bus Service. For Info: Judith - 613-876-9015.
6. Extra ferry run: An additional WI ferry run at 4:45 am to begin Mon. Sept. 28 th until further notice specifically to take fall crops (2 trucks per ferry) off the island. Passengers and other vehicles can also board. This extra run is welcomed by farmers and by those who regularly take the 5:45 am ferry and struggle to make it to work by 6:30.
Coming Events:** WI Early Years Applefest at Horne’s Orchard Oct. 3rd 1- 4 pm. **Lunch Bunch begins Wed. Oct. 7th, 11:30 am WI United Church Hall. ** WI Walk In Clinics Tues.pm with Dr. Russell Thurs am with NP Sparrow ** WI United Church Turkey Supper, Oct. 24th Doors Open 4:30 pm
- It was announced, at the September meeting of Frontenac Islands Township Council, that the Card Lock Gas Outlet on Wolfe Island will open “by the end of the week.” (Sept.18th) The final requirements for the new facility are expected to be completed by then. So as you read this, gas will once again be available to the public for the first time since the closure of the gas pumps at Mosier’s always busy Service Centre on the island. Particularly grateful are residents who will no longer have to board the ferry for the sole purpose of getting gas for pieces of equipment, boats as well as motor vehicles. An official Opening is planned .
2. Howe Island’s Fire Chief Mike Quinn accompanied by members of HI’s Marine Unit Committee, Marg Renolds and May Squires, presented an updated research committee report and a request to move forward to establish a Marine Rescue Unit on Howe Island. The idea was presented first in 2014. The recent report noted the many times that HIFR responded to incidents on the water in borrowed equipment. HIFR now has a donated 21-foot boat, motor and trailer Money for a new motor has also been donated by an appreciative resident, ($10,500). A further analysis of the proposal include determining sufficient space for patient transfer and room to install an already available fire pump /hose and determining docking locations for easy transfer, as well as Operating Guidelines and Requirements. HI Councillor Hobbs expressed appreciation and amazement for the HIFR initiative. Seconded by Deputy Mayor Natalie Nossal who noted it as “just another of the many proactive initiatives undertaken by HIFR in the past,” citing for instance fund raising for a 4-wheel drive vehicle for use on the HI Trail in the event of a medical emergency, “ if someone should have a heart attack.” Council supported the Marine Unit Project, and accepted the outboard motor replacement donation. Once trained ( training to begin spring 2016) and certified, the Marine Unit will be placed in service. (South Shore between Howe and Wolfe Islands).
Chief Quinn also provided Council with an outline of a contingency plan for coverage of emergency medical issues which includes a staffed ambulance on the island when the County Ferry is out of service while MTO completes dock work.
3. IT & GIS (mapping) services will consolidated for all 4 townships at the Frontenac County level. The County will undertake to provide these services on a shared cost and utilization basis. Two specialists will be assigned for Central and North Frontenac and two for South Frontenac and Frontenac Islands, with a core group at the County Office. The complexity and specialization of this work was the basis for this decision.
4. Frontenac Islands has awarded the contract for a new Township of Frontenac Islands Website to ‘Floating Point’ . The website will be in compliance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act , and is expected to be up and running no later than December 18, 2015. It is expected the new site will affirm the township’s commitment to communicating with the public.
5. A substantial part of the agenda package included pages related to the Wolfe Islander III refit and the work to be done while it was in dry dock with a completion date of June 23, 2015 from MTO Regional Director Kathy Moore. An accompanying letter indicates winter ice conditions caused a delay in the Wolfe Islander’s departure to Hamilton and the extent of damage identified once the ship was out of the water and the hull exposed. Council received all this as information but is calling upon MTO to further explain: “Why was there a delay in starting the manufacture of the wheel house? The Municipality understood that it was being fabricated over the winter months to expedite the Wolfe Islander’s time in dry dock?” The date for the return of the Wolfe Islander III continues to be indefinite.
6. It was announced that MTO will operate a 4:45 am ferry for undetermined period of time to take large grain trucks off Wolfe Island. During that period (start date to be announced) along with 2 (two) large grain trucks, other vehicles and passengers can also board to fill whatever space remains. Watch for it…
7. Concerns of Council: *Mayor Doyle , the Mayors of Loyalist Township, Prince Edward County with MPP Sophie Kiwala will meet with the Minister of Transportation Steven Del Ducca in September regarding the ferry services and the serious lack of a back up ferry. The Islands Council further is seeking an answer to why and what caused the delay in the ‘bridge’ construction
*Councillor Springgay acknowledged the efforts of the WI landfill site committee as the site transitioned from waste disposal to a “Recycling and Transfer Station. . Newsletters to follow.. *Councillor Higgs wants his concerns about the Howe Island bubbler system on record. That’s it for now.
Coming Events: *The Wolfe Island Lunch Bunch Series begins Oct.7th WI United Church 11:30 am. * WI Fiesta at the Island Grill Sun. Sept. 27th 1:30-5:00 pm (Central American Solidarity ) Check for Full schedule of dates at the WI Medical Clinic. Wellness, Specimen collection, Physician/NP walk in clinics etc, Check at “wolfeisland.com.”
As summer draws to a close Wolfe Islanders appreciate the time to take a deep breath, turn to each other and say,”It’s been quite a summer.” And it has. Not what tourist dependant businesses in Marysville had hoped for and counted on but pleasant in a different sort of way. Tourists strolled through the village, enjoying what many saw as stepping back in time to a quieter gentler way of life. Fewer visited the Art Gallery but those who did stayed longer as they did at the Old House Museum and the local shops and the restaurants. It was wonderful to see many stop and enjoy a picnic at the picnic tables here and there around the village and MacDonald Park apparently in no great hurry to catch the next ferry. Visitors greeted local folks as they too waited at the Shuttle Bus Stop going back. Big Sandy Bay as always brings visitors, as does the Corn Maze and the lovely Riverfront Golf Course.
We are still with no clear picture on when the Wolfe Islander III will return or how long the Frontenac II can stand up to the pressure or “What, no back-up!” On the other hand those frustrations have not discouraged Islanders. Not to be deterred regular local summer events have taken place and flourished. The Community Garden offers gardening fun. The successful Ball Tournament brought islanders home. The Canadian & Local Ploughing matches were successfully held on the island. WI Wind welcomed islanders once again. And as fall approaches, the Feral Cat Project is off and running with a fund raiser in the offing also Apple Fest… Church Suppers AMBUSH… Pumpkins & Photo Contest….Christmas Market etc. etc. The WI Community Medical Clinic has a new sign reminding of days and times of walk in clinics and other health opportunities . And A quiet drive around the island at this time highlights the beauty of the crops ready for harvest, apples ready to fall, grapes ready to pick, vegetables, pumpkins, corn in season, and honey near ready to bottle. And finally enthusiasm for the coming season at “The Rink” is in the air…..
2. Speaking of the Friends of Ferals Fund Raising Event, it will be held at the Island Grill on Saturday September 19th beginning at 3 pm. . It will include music featuring islanders Chris Brown, Teilhard Frost and Dhyani and a live auction of community donations led by James Kirkham. A fun event. All funds from the fundraiser will go towards their initiative to stabilize feral cat numbers on Wolfe Island through a livetrap/spay/neuter/vaccinate release approach. If you are coming from Kingston, the Shuttle Bus will get you to The Grill and back to the ferry. The wonderful poster announcing the event was painted by local artist Nancy Steele.
3. A 1st on the Island: The FIRST Wolfe Island Ladies Invitational Golf Tournament was held at WI Riverfront Golf Course on Aug. 28th. Twenty six players enjoyed a wonderful day of golf followed by a BBQ dinner at The WIPP with entertainment provided by James Kirkham. Prize winners with the lowest scores of 36 by team were Nancy Snaar, Eva Hulton and Charlene Breen.. Longest drive Nancy Snarr. Straightest drive Mary Quist. Closest to the pin was Carol Fargp and Nancy Snarr.
4. Wolfe Island Waste Site: The dreaded day, Sept. 8th, which saw the closure of the WI landfill site due to Ministry of Environment regulations, came and went with out incident to become instead a Recycling and Waste Transport Station with waste transported “off” the island. On hand Sept. 9th when the changes came into effect was Waste Site Transition Committee Chair, Frontenac Islands Councillor Barb Springgay. She joined WI Waste Site Manager Mae Etmanski, Bill Speers and Nancy Snarr to assist islanders in the new approach to disposing of waste and recyclables without turning to the “great hole” now to be covered and capped. For any questions, contact C.A.O./Clerk Darlene Plumley or or Councillor Springgay 613.385.1259
Around Town: * Dr. Russell’s Tuesday and NP Sparrow’s Thursday “Walk IN”, Weekly Clinics began Sept.8th (not Oct. 8 as previously stated) * The I Am Strong Women’s 5K-15K run/walk on WI is supporting in part Sailing Team members Danielle Boyd and Erin Rafuse’s Rio 2016 Olympic goal.
Coming Events: Ferals Fund Raising Event, WI Island Grill 3 pm, Sept. 19th ** AMBUSH Concert Sept. 18th 8 pm at the Rink Tickets local businesses. **Howe Island Terry Fox Run Sept.20th 9:30 am. ** WI Community Garden Planning Session Oct. 4th WI Medical Cinic 6:30 pm** Lunch Bunch Series, begins Oct. 7th 11:30 pm WI United Church.** A Play “Bus Stop” in support of WI Medical Clinic @Domino Theatre Oct. 21st 8pm.
There is no doubt about it, Heddle Marine in Hamilton is busy. Last week the largest of the Canadian Coast Guard ships was there and out of the water. And hidden away behind a number of other vessels was the Wolfe Islander III.
We weren’t able to see her as security is tight but there was an opportunity to talk to a number of the workers off for a coffee break. Their assessment of when the Wolfe Islander would be back in service is much as Islanders have concluded as the months go by. Thanksgiving? Christmas? Who knows for sure? Not even MTO?
The Frontenac II, Amherst Island’s 33 car ferry has worked overtime at Wolfe Island during the WI Islander III’s absence. It has been worked hard and to capacity on nearly every trip throughout the summer, in most instances leaving vehicles behind. Who knows really what condition the ferry is in now. The ferry crews are tired. It has been a long hot summer for them. They have had to deal with the frustration and anger of visitors, travellers from the US and from island residents who are just about done when it comes to the amount of time they must wait to get to and from the city, and for the costs involved to have goods, services or materials come to the island, that is, IF vendors will come .
And that’s not all, though not much talked about, there is no backup ferry should the Frontenac II breakdown. Local residents suggest the Horne’s 9-10 car ferry the William Darrell served as a back up ferry for Wolfe Island in years past and may still be listed for that purpose… can you imagine with present traffic levels. One has to hope, trust and believe that MTO has a plan and a ferry hidden away somewhere. (Mayor Doyle’s “finds” in Quebec are not available MTO says)
The summer tourist season has proven devastating for Wolfe Island businesses some loosing more than 50% in sales. One has to wonder if those relying on sufficient sales to remain open in the winter achieved their objective this year.. The Gallery, Bike Rentals, Island Tourism operations, organizations and events have suffered as well but they Carry On.. finding ways to entice visitors to the island.
Perhaps if MTO had taken a page from the WI Music Festival Planning Book and rented a Passenger Only Tour Boat operating on a regular schedule back and forth to Marysville, Rather than or Along with the Shuttle Bus to the winter dock, it could have saved the tourist season for WI businesses and provided tourists coming from Kingston ‘the walk- on the ferry- experience’ and the village visit they look forward to and are encouraged to make..
As fall approaches, and school begins, and water levels decline and Islanders prepare for the fall and winter season, concern remains high as to When and IF the Wolfe Islander III will be back and what will replace the Frontenac II if it should break down in the meantime and, does MTO have an Emergency Plan in place?
2. The Good News from the Wolfe Island Community Medical Clinic is that Dr. Deanna Russell returns to the island October 8th for regular patient appointments Tuesdays from 2:30 pm to 4:45 pm followed by an after hours clinic till 6pm. Further Good News is the fact that Nurse Practitioner (NP) Bonnie Sparrow will continue to hold weekly Thursday Clinics from 9:00 to 11: 30 am. It is anticipated that these will clinics will be increased if there is sufficient demand. It should be noted the summer NP clinics were very popular and much needed. The WI Community Medical Clinic Board urges residents to keep an eye out for a notice ( in the near future) inviting them to a public meeting to determine the community’s interest in seeing the NP Clinics continue and even expand. Providing more and more in the way of health care services locally is their hope.
Around Town:** Wonderful news in Sacred Heart’s Church bulletin that Canon Chris Carr has been feeling much better this last while. **It is odd that a few of Conservative Candidate Andy Brooke’s signs disappeared. Maybe it had to do with grass cutting…* The rock in the bay going east out of the village keeps getting bigger which must mean the water is going down, Right George.** The new deployment model for paramedics (on-site 8 hours/ on-call 16 hours per day) at WI’s Ambulance Station is expected to improve emergency response time.
Coming Events: AMBUSH Sept. 18th 8 pm Tickets village businesses *HI Terry Fox Run Sept. 20th 9:30 am Info: 613 542 1905 ** Support the Medical Clinic A Play”Bus Stop” Domino Theatre Oct. 21* Frontenac Islands Council 6:30 pm WI Town Hall,Oct. 12th.