The April Meeting of Frontenac Islands Council had its moments some more momentous than others For instance the passage of the 2016 Budget detailed in an earlier column. But as always, other issue of interest to islanders came up as well.
1.Wolfe Island Transfer and Recycling Centre: Councillor Springgay would like a system established that would limit the number of bags deposited for transfer by individual residents. and considers the excessive number of bags she has seen deposited at times, an abuse of the system.
2. “Volunteers are the roots for strong communities” was the theme of National Volunteer Appreciation week (April 10-16). Councillor Springgay will bring forward a proposal to honour volunteers at the May meeting of council for doing so at the Community Centre grounds possibly during a summer event in July. (All members of council serve on committees of council as well as on community committees and are aware of the commitments of many island residents in a variety of other church and community associations.
3, Wolfe Island Round-Up July 2nd and 3rd : Rob and Erin White, hosts of the Round-UP requested Priority ferry boarding for Horses and Trailers (as they had last year) for the event. They will set up a schedule, booking times for trailer access Friday July 1st, allowing two trailers each trip and on Sunday July 3rd. “This schedule will reduce the congestion of trailers and wait times and allow for the free flow of traffic especially with it being a holiday long weekend,” the White’s said in their letter .
.4. Ferry line parking was a concern for Councillor Grant. He noted that people are parking in front of establishments (many not for the ferry) resulting in slowdowns in the line as vehicles have to move around them during the ferry loading process, also giving a false indication of the actual load limit. A reminder is to be sent out to residents which identifies the importance of maintaining a minimum distance between the vehicles waiting in line, providing those at the “maximum loading capacity sign” a better sense of whether they will make it onto the ferry or not. Maintaining a the minimum of distance between vehicles means that even smaller vehicles cannot slip into a space.. (Those who park in locations in proximity to their homes also skew the line up). Parking restrictions along the ferry line in Marysville have been posted on the ferry.
5. Howe Island Councillor Higgs commended Public Works Manager Rob Dillabough for the changes and advances he has instituted. Higgs said that Howe Island has already benefitted from Dillabough’s diligence in the purchase of vehicles for the Howe ward. “He did a great job with the cost coming out of reserves,” he said.
6. Deputy Mayor Nossal informed Council that a $500. grant from MTO was approved for the “Road Safety Challenge”, and will be used to promote pedestrian safety practices. Nossal noted as well that Frontenac Islands is promoting the use of Frontenac Transportation Service (FTS) which provides subsidized transportation at minimal cost to seniors by connecting them with volunteer drivers to get where they need to go. “The program depends upon the recruitment of volunteers within our community, and we would like to hear from potential volunteers and clients,”she said. On behalf of Council she also extended a sincere welcome to Larry Quinn who is now a full time Howe Island Public Works employee.
Council meets next: Monday, May 9th at 6:30 pm Wolfe Island Town Hall.
Around Town: The Wolfe Island Community Medical Clinic holds its AGM this year on Tuesday May 31st beginning at 6:30 pm. The Clinic officially opened in 1972 and rebuilt following a fire in 1972 is operated by a volunteer board of directors. It is dependant for its operation and programs offered on donations, and fund raising, the main community fund raiser being the (36th) annual Wolfe Island Classic Road Race being held July 3rd . Dr. Russell, a member of the Kingston Family Health Team sees patients Tuesdays (2:30-4:45pm) and offers a walk-in clinic until 6:15 pm. Nurse Practitioner Courtney Murdock leads a walk-in clinic Thursdays. The clinic received grants this year from the Wm. Henderson Foundation and the Britton Smith Foundation in support of the NP program. The clinic holds blood and specimen clinics (in conjunction with Life Labs), wellness and once a monthVON foot clinics, an annual Flu Shot clinic and presentations on subjects of interest. Guest speaker at the AGM will be , KFLAPublic Health Nurse Joan Black - Lyme Disease - An Update. Karen Lowry will provide information about the VON sponsored Meals on Wheels program and Cindy Weatherhead, the SMART Exercise program for Seniors. The WI Clinic Board is looking for input from the community about other possible health initiatives. If interested in serving on the board (2 year term). contact Linda Thomas at 385 1947 or Jackie Bird at 583-4447. Remember the AGM date: Tuesday May 31- 6:30pm (Meals on Wheels poster is on the ferry)
Coming events:** The WI Grill hours Thurs. 11 am 10 pm -Friday 11 am-11pm.Sat. 10am-11pm, Sun. 10am-10pm** Horne's Ferry Transportation Ferry Season Now Open. ** WI Bakery opens May1. 4.Fish Fry at the WI United Church Hall, Saturday May 21, 2016 Doors open at 4:30 ($15.00) 5. Learn about the 'cochlear implant technology' May 17th, 11a.m.–5p.m. At Frontenac Mall, 1300 Bath Road, (Call Linda, 1947)
Spring is Definitely Here. There may be another frost or snow for that matter… but it is here. And last Friday marked the first time a line up of cars was left behind to wait for the next ferry to Wolfe Island since the return of the Wolfe Islander to service in Marysville. That happened without the WI Bakery, or the Island Grill, or the Cafe Tenango, or the General Wolfe as yet being open for the season. But The WIPP was busy all weekend with visitors who boarded the boat to the island, as was Fargo’s.
And as has been happening for a few weeks cyclists singly, or in clusters, and others taking advantage of the Bike Rental facility arrive on the island. Throughout the weekend , MacDonald Park at the canal was in use. ( A pity the historic canal ends right there for fishing, with little water flowing through)
The many Snowy Owls , wondrous birds ,with us all winter drawing many visitors , are gone now. Bird watchers are coming now to see the many species arriving daily including Swans, Osprey, Herons, and many, many, raptors. Wild turkeys often prance through our yard. At early morning a woodpecker pounds with the same sound, speed and intensity of a jack hammer on dried out trees. The swallows, of course, arrived when snow was still on the ground. The scarlet cardinals can be heard but not seen. Many smaller birds have been sighted. And the mating season is in high gear… It is such an incredible time of year. Why wouldn’t visitors come….
All the above reminds islanders however, that the ferry Wolfe Islander, as wonderful as she is, cannot accommodate all the visitors, tourists, cottagers and service cars /vehicles coming and going from the island without leaving some behind at times for the next ferry. at times. MTO knows it. We know it. That is why Islanders have entered into the EA process for docking improvements and a larger 75 car ferry. That is why a Wolfe Island Ferry Committee with community volunteers is being formed to act in an advisory capacity to Council about concerns relating to the Wolfe Island Ferry. The committee will gather and discuss information to assist in dealing with the province regarding improvements to the ferry system, how to deal with parking for instance, or how to encourage park and ride, and to assist in developing programs to help cope with the under capacity on the current ferry until a new ferry is a reality. The committee includes the Mayor, one councillor member, and three community volunteers, with the right to add to it from to time.
Summer Tourism (May to October) is of great importance to Wolfe Island. Businesses depend on it. Planned Island events rely on it.. Horne’s Ferry to the USA provides a very important international link. The Island has the Wind Towers, Big Sandy Bay, The River Front Golf Course , The Corn Maze, The Stone Heron Gallery, the Museum, Wolfe Island Boat Club, Joy Boat Works, Sugar Woods Farm, historic cemeteries and churches. All there to be visited. There are defined cycling routes. Gas is available.. The Community Centre grounds provides a place to go with the children. (It is also available for rent for special events.) The Horse Club offers exciting shows. And there is fresh produce growing, and local maple syrup and honey and jams for sale. Scheduled events include the WI Classic Road Race, and The Round UP weekend. T he Information Centre offers just that, and is a respite.
Why am I saying all of this? Last summer was Wolfe Island’s “the summer of our discontent”. The ferry, Wolfe Islander 111 was in dry dock for 7 months. The Frontenac 2, a much smaller ferry operated (very efficiently) from the Dawson Point terminal all summer long. But it was too small to handle the summer loads. Line ups became impossible. Business dropped off. Events were poorly attended, etc., B&B’s felt it. The situation even led to the cancellation of the 2016 (this year’s) very popular WI Music Festival.
So all of the above is a reminder of what might have brought you in the past, and what might entice you to come if you have never been before. If travelling just for the ride on the ferry to the village, you are encouraged to walk on the ferry)…… If coming by car, take a look at our rural agricultural landscape as well. If travelling to the USA come our way…..Welcome to Wolfe Island.
Around Town: Much work going on at The WI Bakery.* The WI Grill Now open ,will serve brunch on weekends and open 7 days a week from May long weekend. call 613 385 1515 **Take a look at the WI Boat Club’s list of boating opportunities, Book sale, etc. **132 feral cats s/n/v/released. Wonder how many fewer ferals will result. **The River Front Golf Course is Now Open…YEA
Coming Events: 1. The WI Grill hours Thurs. 11 am 10 pm
Friday 11 am-11pm.Sat. 10am-11pm, Sun. 10am-10pm. 2. Water Chestnut workshop: Wed., April 27th Community Hall at 7 pm. 3. Horne's Ferry Transportation Ferry Season begins Friday April 29th. 4.WI Medical Clinic AGM May 31,at 6:30 pm Guest speaker Joan Black public health nurse, KFL&A. “Lyme Disease An Update!”
Frontenac Islands Mayor Denis Doyle extended a vote of thanks to the many for their efforts in completing the 2016 budget. “The last numbers were received today in time to present the budget at this meeting” Mayor Doyle said “ Now I can now say at a high level it is about 2.8% tax increase on Wolfe Island and 2.5 % on Howe. We were trying to keep it close to the inflation rate which we did. It was a particular challenge this year because OPP costs keep going up. (Over four years the OPP contract increase is from $100,000 to $400,000 requiring a 4% increase in township taxes over all until it is fully implemented.) “We are lucky we did not have to pay it all at once. It will 2018 before we feel the full impact”. Doyle said. The township council concluded its budget for 2016 and voted for the changes in spending, and increases in taxes.
The total spending for local services on Wolfe, Howe and Simcoe Islands in 2016, has risen to $4,312,691, up from the $3.8 millions last year. Overall spending includes payments $884,381 to Frontenac County (ambulance/Fairmount Home) and $1.183,489 to the school boards, bringing the total to $6,3780,561. Revenues, including provincial grants for ferries, and miscellaneous revenues, along with the use of reserves previously set aside for specific purposes, and some of the Wolfe Wind Plant current funds, totalled $2,220,921. Thus the funds to be collected from taxes amount to $4,159,640. This translates into increases of 2.75% for the Wolfe Ward, and 2.49% for the Howe Ward. These rates are based on the current property assessments. For your information, the total property assessments for each ward are: Wolfe $348 millions, & Howe $212 millions.
As the township press release indicated, the single largest item in the budget is for OPP policing, and it increased in 2015 to $232,800 this year, and will rise to $392,000 in the year 2018. The major projects/changes in 2016 are as follows: Howe Island - new tandem combo unit-$225,000; culvert etc on Howe Island Dr. - $70,000. Wolfe Island: Division street extension - $300,000; Simcoe ferry dock - $80,000. Joint- OPP police service-increase -$69,000
2. Tree Cutting and Trimming : Mayor Doyle received calls from many residents regarding red paint marked trees, and asked Public Works Manager Rob Dillabough to began his report with the planning process for the safe maintenance of island roads, since some of the residents were in attendance. “None of us want to cut down trees if we don’t have to,” the mayor said, “but we can’t wait until they rot and fall down on the roads.” Dillabough reading from the act, said in essence that: ’ a municipality that has jurisdiction over a highway/bridge shall keep it in a state of repair that is reasonable and failing to do that is subject to the Negligence Act,’ (damages due to default).
While the tree ‘Request for Quotation’ have gone out with lists of trees, brush, stumps, that does not mean the whole of program will happen. “It is in two parts, one to cover the liability of the township , the other to determine costs,” he said. “A lot of trees were left after the ice storm in 1998. Others overhang roads in need of trim. They have to be marked for the bidders to find them to get the pricing indexing, An arbourist will access the marked trees for trimming or cutting to be determined at the time.”
In response to questions by council members, Dillabough said that he would be working closely with local rate payers. I “If there is a tree on the line and its over a little bit and the trimmer is there, they can pay for it themselves and get it right. I’d like to say there won’t be an oak cut, but I can’t until an arbourist gets up there and puts a rod down to check.”
Allowing questions from the floor: WI resident Dale Sutherland expressed anxiety at finding precious trees marked and feared they would be gone the next day, “ I don’t think they all need to be cut down and I am encouraged that there is a process to follow,” he said. Another acknowledged process, but questioned the intensity of the tree marking paint, while another suggested that signs indicating overhanging trees on lesser travelled parts of the islands might be sufficient as well as a need for an expert to determine state of certain trees. “We are not going to cut anything that doesn’t need to be cut,” CAO Plumley declared. Council was enthusiastic with the request to consider a tree planting program, one cut down, two to replace, for instance. The mayor will follow up with the residents in attendance . Interesting also to note the enthusiasm for WI’s tree expert James Sansom’s work (Just Trees Inc ),
In other business: 1. The township will look into Dr. George Merry’s request for a Skeet Shoot and Sporting event at the Community Centre (May 28th) In principle there is no problem but more information will be required to ensure safety of residents. 2. Metal Craft to be advised some parked vehicles are considered dangerous to traffic. Concern has begun about cars left parked in the ferry line up, no drivers A Notice re: parking is posted on Township website. More Next week.
Coming Events:* Join us for a free workshop about Water Chestnut on Wolfe Island: Wed., April 27th Wolfe Island Community Hall (behind the Town Hall) at 7 pm. ** WI Community Centre spring/summer programming coming soon.** Horne's Ferry Transportation Ferry Season begins Friday April 29th.
A special council meeting on Wolfe Island brought together Frontenac Islands Mayor Denis Doyle , (WI ward) Councillor’s Barbara Springgay and Wayne Grant, and the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) Team for the Wolfe Island Ferry and Docking Improvements study presently underway. MTO members of the ‘Preliminary Design and Class EA Team’ included Tina White, Senior Project Manager, Amanda Grypma, Environmental Planner, and Sharon Westendorp, Senior Environmental Planner. Members of the community were also present.
The meeting was held to provide council with an update on the Preliminary Design and Class Environmental Assessment associated with the ‘Preferred Option of the 2011 Planning Study’ which set out a dual-vessel ferry service operating from Dawson Point (75 car ferry ) and Marysville (WI3) during the summer. It called for improved docking/marshalling at the terminals, and integration with Kingston transit and related issues..
To a resident’s question, Is this about a vessel, or docking or both? “They go hand in hand,” Project Manager Tina White responded. “ But the vessel is not in this study. You have to get environmental approval to improve or expand a service, but the building of a vessel is done differently than building the docks. We have a naval architect who fits into our study.”
MTO’s Amanda Grypma, brought all up to date on the EA process, the consultations that have already occurred, how the public can be involved , the status of the study, and what’s next. Work is ongoing to complete a transportation environmental study report for docking improvements, improving efficiencies, and safety for vehicles and pedestrians & cyclists etc., and how a larger ferry will fit into the picture, before moving on to the Detail and Design stage. “Its important to note that we are applying environmental processes at every stage of the EA process,.” she said.
Data collection and field work to generate and evaluate alternative marshalling, docking and pedestrian facilities are on going and, with a broad consultative process, a technically preferred option for Barrack Street, Dawson Point and Marysville docks/facilities to accommodate a new larger ferry will be arrived at.
Consultation is also underway with municipal governments, , First Nations, agencies, the public, and interest groups. A first Public Information Meeting (PIC) with full rage of design alternatives will be held in late May-early June, a date chosen to also accommodate summer residents. Its purpose is to receive feedback on the alternatives with a second PIC meeting in Winter 2017 to present the Technically Preferred Alternative. A Community Advisory Group (CAG) has had its 1st of 4 meetings. (The 4th will be input on final design features before final (TESR)Transportation Environmental Study Report.)
There will be further occasions for consultation (meetings, field visits, one on one meetings) as required or requested to address specific needs or issues (i.e. property). Residents were encouraged to use of the www.wolfeislandferryea.ca website to remain current with the process and to submit comments.
A lively period followed as the MTO team responded to questions from members of council and the public with answers as follow:
“# Operational issues such as the ramp effectiveness are not part of project. # We are looking at the impact of the roads to both terminals and additional survey requirements to assist with design alternatives . # Believe road was surveyed from Dawson to the Marysville terminal, so technically it is part of the project scope, with information available to the township. #The plan is to expand and implement a two ferry system. # In either location for the purpose of expanding marshalling areas you can build on the land, or into water depending on the environmental assessment. So based on technically preferred alternative we would look to purchase land from Ministry or land owner(-expropriation). # All public comments are welcomed. # Although not part of this process, different ideas for boarding and offloading of ferry and boarding will be considered. # When it comes to the “boat”, the design is harder but we will bring all ideas forward during the study at any time. It is a matter of cooperation, back and forth. A naval architect, ALION Science has been chosen for the project.”
In the final moments of the meeting Mayor Doyle commented that Wolfe Island has been need of increased ferry capacity for quite a number of years already and whatever can be done do to speed the process would be appreciated. “It would be great to have the budget approved before the next election. I won’t be happy until I see it approved. ( The project is listed in the MTO Southern Highway program list with no $ figure)
Residents are encouraged to use of the www.wolfeislandferryea.ca website to remain current with the process and to submit comments. MTO is also on Face Book.. Twitter. This is an open and transparent project. All meetings will be announced .
Around Town: *Planning is ongoing for a new Township of Frontenac Islands website to be unveiled soon. ** As of April 7th the Nurse Practitioner WALK IN Clinic at the WI Community Medical Clinic will be held from 10:00 am – 12:30 pm. (Cost for the NP is undertaken by the Medical Clinic ) . **The village is coming to life now that winter is gone. ** Folks are happy to have the “boat” back in the village. * Time to register for the WI Road Race… * The ferry line-up already can be a problem for those coming from the east. Will welcome Summer Students to keep it straight… **Accessibility Awareness week in the Township of Frontenac Islands- April 3rd to April 9th 2. The Township also proclaimed Pitch In Week – April 17th-23rd .