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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.

March 30, 2017
Will Goats Be Part of Frontenac Islands Agricultural Model?

That remains to be seen. Originally islanders were certainly talking about the possibility of developing goat herds on the islands since the news came, about Feihe International Inc. and their plans to build a $225 million infant formula facility in Kingston. Mayor Doyle noted at the time “The islands are prime agricultural places close to the city, with a long history of milk production. I am sure the other townships in the county will want to do the same. I see this as the best economic development opportunity that has come about in years. Its going to take many people many farms, and many goats to make it work.”
Mayor Doyle encouraged interested residents to attend the meetings hosted by Frontenac County’s Economic Development Officer Richard Allen and KEDCO’s Carey Bidtnes. The meetings were held to encourage interest in the goat dairy industry. Although the sessions were well attended and interest was high from the surrounding areas, few people attended from the islands, according to the Mayor. However, he did note a very strong interest by those already part of the goat industry, in one way or another. FYI: Along with the cow milk based infant formula production line using skim milk from dairy farms, the Chinese infant formula company has plans to manufacture goat milk based products, and to process 75 million litres of goat milk annually as well. The high end milk formula line will begin upon the completion of the facility scheduled for construction this summer. The goat milk product line is expected to begin in 5-7 years. That is, if there is enough goat milk available. There’s the rub.
“There was a lot of information, with a lot of government rules to follow, presented at the county meetings,” according to Mayor Doyle. “But the net of it is that the average cost for a farmer to get one litre of goat milk is about a $1.30, and the price they would get at this time is only $1.00. The price has gone as high as $1.09, but either way they would lose money. Personally I cannot see many people rushing into the goat dairy business. As well there is a shortage of good goats. They are currently selling anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000 each. To have a viable farm realistically you would need to have at least 200 to 500 animals. By the time you could get into a small size production one would have to invest around $2 million or more, so that makes it difficult. If the price of milk goes up it might be a viable business.” Doyle added that the officials from OMAFRA mentioned that there were a few long- term, well-established goat milk producers who had been successful in getting their cost down to below $1.00, but for a ‘start up farmer’ in this business they should plan for what the industry average is at this time.

Howe Island Councillor Bruce Higgs made some similar observations. His concern was for young farmers who might have considered goat dairy as the way to go, and it is effectively out of reach to them. “Add to that the fact that a prospective goat dairy farmer must have a contract through a broker, of which there are only two, to get into business at this time”, Councillor Higgs said. “Goats are at a premium. And it would be best to start off with those that yield the greatest quantity. Up and down prices can be pretty scary. I don’t know how many farmers would be interested in pursuing the idea. You would have to have a good banker who believes in your story,” he said. Higgs added that there are large (1500 goats) goat dairy farmers who have built up their goat flock over time, as well as smaller goat dairy farmers in Ontario who sell their goat milk for cheese. “I went as a councillor to get information and I did.”

For funding inquiries: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada offers a loan guarantee program,
For more information contact the program directly by email at fgp-pgf@agr.gc.ca, (toll-free) at 1-866-367-8506. See also the full list of programs. Also Farm Credit Canada offers a series of financing options for farmers.

2. Visitor Accommodation on Wolfe Island: Planning is underway for a May1st meeting with the WI business community and Frontenac County Business Development Officer Richard Allen . The purpose to come up with ideas and initiatives to attract overnight and “linger longer’ tourists to island accommodation, i.e. B&B’s, hotel /cottages, cabins and other commercial facilities..

3. Take note that the ferry, Wolfe Islander II is now operating from the Marysville Dock.

Around Town: **The family of WI resident Arthur Keyes invite you to celebrate his 90th Birthday with him on Sat. April 8th 1- 4 pm at the Wolfe Island United Church Hall. Arthur was raised and is still living in the house where he was born,
April 4th 1927, and where with his wife Geneva (65 years in July), they raised four children. Known as Poppy to many, he has 7 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren. His parents were John and Elsie Keyes.
Coming Events: ** WI Medical Clinic N.P. Walk-In’ Clinics Tues 4:30 – 6:15 pm; Thurs. 5:30-6:15 pm. Specimen, Wellness Clinic April 7th. ** Frontenac Islands Council meeting Howe Island 6:30 pm April 10, 2017

Posted by M Knott at 10:22 AM
March 23, 2017
Frontenac Islands Seniors Project- Moving Carefully Forward

Frontenac Islands will award a contract for the Seniors Apartment Project on Wolfe Island to Wemp and Smith Construction Ltd. All procedures, processes and documents are completed for the sale, transfer and registration of the land from Scarthingmoor Farms to the township. A rather exciting time for the committee, that is working hard to see this project become a reality. The land is located in the area east of the Medical Clinic & Emergency Services Building, and at the south end of Division Street.

Following the passage of the by-law at the March meeting of council to regulate events, Councilor Springgay reminded council of the amount of waste and recycling material that ends up at the island’s waste site following these special events, and the costs involved in its disposal. May Etmanskie, Waste Recycling Depot Manager, wanted to know why there was no fee for waste from special events , a situation she believes needs to be dealt with. “It’s not the taxpayer who should bear the costs for all the extra waste,” she said. Council will review the Transfer Site bylaw for cost recovery options. (FYI-The event application form takes into whether an event is organized by a ‘not for profit’ group, or events are focused on community groups.)

In other Business: *Howe Island Garden Buds: A letter to council from their president, Shelagh McDonald, she described their Foot Ferry Gardening project, the work accomplished with “in kind” funding, received from the township, and included a refund cheque. Councilor Higgs expressed great satisfaction with their initiative and the beautiful work they have accomplished at the both the county and foot ferry docks, and asked that the township do the same * Council expressed support for the ‘Moratorium on School Closures’ and will do so by resolution. Councilor Springgay noted the loss of specialized programs in rural schools is unfairly drawing children to city schools. * The township will once again raise concerns with Kingston’s Mayor Patterson regarding the timing of the street lights at Barack and Ontario, with a request to allow a direct flow of island traffic into the city when the Wolfe Islander III unloads. * Councilor Grant wants thanks extended to Don Eves on Simcoe Island, for all he does for people there. “Most don’t realize he is not paid for it,” he said.

As the meeting drew to a close, Mayor Doyle brought council’s attention to concerns he has with regard to Bill 68 – Modernizing Municipal Legislation and its many Acts ( Conflict of Interest, Municipal Elections, etc). He said the proposed changes will impose even greater restrictions than already exist for smaller municipalities. “The province is making it even more difficult for council and committee members to serve at all,” Doyle said. “With all this bureaucracy, why would anyone want to volunteer to serve on a committee, or to run for council for that matter. I think we should pull back and maybe work with the county to make our concerns particularly for small municipalities such as ours known,” he concluded.

2. A community mourns: Every death in the small Wolfe Island community has a ripple effect, an effect that surely verifies an expression I heard when we moved here., “Everyone is related to everybody!.” And if not a direct relative, we are drawn together in other ways. Most everyone knows everyone else because we see them in the village, at the store, the post office , the library, the restaurants, local events, at church, in the line-up and “on the boat. They remain in our memory as islanders, relatives, family, neighbours, friends or acquaintances. So to lose five islanders in a short period of time, through accidents and illness has touched us all one way or another. Many islanders will also remember in their prayers Monsignor Don Clement who died recently who served as administrator of the Sacred Heart Parish when it was without a pastor.

Around Town: * The WI Community Medical Clinic reminds you that there are now two, Nurse Practitioner led Walk-In’ Clinics held weekly, Tuesday 4:30 – 6:15 pm, with NP Emma Hughes and Thursdays with NP Karen Fisher 5:30-6:15 pm. The cost to the clinic for these valuable services is approaching $20,000 per year which represents a big effort by the clinic board and the volunteers who act as receptionists. The costs are achieved through fund raising, and donations. Islanders who have not yet met the NP’s are encouraged to use these service when they need some after-hours care. Bring your OHIP card. Their AGM is coming up on May 30th. The board would welcome your ideas for the future of the clinic. For your information, Dr. Russell continues to meet with her patients, by appointment on Tuesday’s from 1pm - 4pm. She is no longer holding an after hours walk-in clinic.

Coming Events : Frontenac Islands Council meets on Howe Island Mon. April 10th 6:30 pm

Posted by M Knott at 12:23 PM
March 16, 2017
Frontenac Islands Budget Deliberations Draw to Close

It was another of those, one after the other, meetings for Frontenac Island’s council members and staff, as they looked to completing this year’s budget before moving on to a regular council meeting. It’s an interesting thing about budgets particularly if you understand little, other than budgets determine what you pay in taxes, and are taxes are always too high.

As a matter of interest the 2017 budgetary process for Frontenac Islands was done by a small group including the head of public works, the two fire chiefs, the deputy clerk treasurer, the administrative assistant, the CAO, and councillors involved with community groups. They began with a review of the past year, looked at new and non repeated issues and items projected into the new year. Council then set a target percentage increase that they felt was manageable by the citizens. Public meetings were held and numbers were shuffled around, all the while keeping in mind the fixed changes such as the increase in OPP costs (up another $100,000) for 2017, contracts, new equipment required, etc., along with new projects.
Changes in reserves were noted….such as using them for major asset purchases, and replacing/increasing them for future asset changes. As the numbers were agreed to they were entered into the spreadsheet which the treasurer operated, and the bottom line, i.e. the change in tax rate, was calculated. That bottom line is by ward, based on the latest current value assessment of properties, as provided by MPAC. Added to the township spending plans are the school taxes and the county taxes, provided by the school boards and the county.

The result of all that effort by the staff, with earlier input by those who submitted funding requests (groups, associations, etc.), for budget year 2017, the increases for both wards is 3.9% to the mill rate. The mill rate is the charge by $1,000 assessment on individual properties. For 2017 that increase can be summarized as being 2% for the OPP increase, 1% for asset management (reserves), and the balance for operating and capital changes for the new year. This is all based on the total assessment, which actually decreased from the prior year, as many who have received MPAC notices will know. This increase and the budget will be formally adopted at the next council meeting on Howe Island.

Some of the detailed discussions follow: Fire Chief Tim Hawkins returned to request an increase in the training allotment from $2000 to $4000 as originally submitted, noting that courses are very expensive and he hopes to offer more of them.. (Funding for this request will come from department reserves now at $25,000).

Chief Hawkins brought to the attention of council the need for more space for training and storage. “We would like to get back the old fire hall on the dock from Steve Fargo,” he said. (Fargo’s has already exceeded the 1-2 year rental agreement for storage.) They will be notified that as of January 1, 2018 the ‘old fire hall’ will no longer be available for rent. Hawkins had thoughts about Canada’s 150th, noting no one has stepped up as yet with ideas, suggesting that linking to certain future events might be one way (Canada Day, Round Up.)

*WI Community Centre Board representative Councillor Springgay presented budget reductions proposed in the areas of contracted services, hydro, and other materials with the amount for reserves reduced to $10,000 .

*As Frontenac Islands building permit fees are lower than in other communities, staff will undertake an investigation to determine a comparable rate.

*When it comes to Howe Island’s Roads Councillor Nossal and Councillor Bruce Higgs engaged in a discussion with Public Works Manager Dillabaugh regarding a 4 phase project on Spithead Road (a priority in the in the township’s asset management plan), with the two phases to be completed in 2017 at a cost estimate of $96,800, to be transferred from the Howe Island roads reserves. A further $4,000 will be transferred from reserves for some work on the North Shore Road.
* There are other increases for Howe specifically the HI Trail $2000 to $4000; also a $500. contribution to reserves.
*And finally for Wolfe Island, The ‘Friends of Ferals will receive $1500 and WI’s Community Support Program $1000. for a Canada 150th Celebration, both amounts from amenities money. Good News—having completed budget deliberations, it is now onward on to the budget’s adoption on April 10th.

Around Town: Please Note; Violations of half load road restrictions, once in place, will lead to call for By Law enforcement. (cameras help) .** The WI Music Festival has been confirmed for Aug.11-12th .** Check Summer Jobs at www.frontenacislands.ca **Look for Station 14 Kington’s video about the new Wolfe Island Springs Craft Brewery located at WI’s Metal Craft Bldg. with Brew Master Rene Ziegelmaier, and WI Grill’s Casey & Nicole Fisher owners of the business. * Nurse Practitioner Walk In Clinic’s Tuesday's 4:10 pm-6:15 pm Thursday's: 5:30 pm-7:15 pm Bring OHIP card. (Costs covered by Medical Clinic)* ** Goat Farming Sessions. Frontenac County Offices March 23; 2 - 4 p.m.; 7 - 9 p.m.; register online at: 2pm: https://goat-farming.eventbrite.ca at 7pm: https://goat-farming-2.eventbrite.ca. *Euchre St. Margaret’s Hall 7pm March 27th.

Posted by M Knott at 12:17 PM
March 03, 2017
Itís that Time of Year on Wolfe Island

MTO has informed the residents of Wolfe Island that their ferry, the Wolfe Islander III will not be returning to Marysville just yet. With what looks like there might be an early spring, and hopefully a rise in water levels, many islanders are looking for the ferry to move from the Dawson Point docking facility to the ”summer” dock in the village, sooner than later But at the present time, according to the notification, maintenance work on the hydraulic cylinders used to lift the ferry is underway. At the same time water levels continue to be monitored, and the ferry will be moved once it is safe to do so, according to MTO.

It is interesting that the notice suggests many islanders are looking forward to the ferry’s move, which is true of course. But many are ‘not wondering when the ferry will be returning to the village.’ To quote one such person,” I love the efficiency for loading/unloading and the parking at Dawson Point.” And from another , “ from Dawson Point the lineup is clear, parking, as well as drop off and pick up is easier and you are always headed home (east or west) at least 5 minutes earlier.” and “ if you want to stop off in the village there is time and parking around to do so”, etc.… Of course facilities at Dawson Point are sparse, although there is a warm waiting cabin. Unless you live in the village or you are buying coffee at the WHIP during the winter months, it is not bad. And it sure has been an easy winter….

2. Get behind “ Rural Schools Matter”, a volunteer group of parents, grandparents and other community members, chaired by “Robin Hutcheon” , who are distressed that the Ministry of Education wishes to close one out of eight schools in the province, and that the Limestone District School Board plans to close all of the schools in the Township of Stone Mills, plus Selby. On Wed, March 8th they will host a peaceful, but determined, rally at the Limestone District School Board office on Portsmouth Ave. in Kingston, from 5 to 6 pm. The board will reviewing a plan to close Yarker Family School, and bus students to Odessa instead.
‘Rural Schools Matter’ is looking for you support at the rally. Their press release notes that what is going on “points to a disturbing trend towards school closures and consolidation, a problem for citizens of all ages.” This will be the second of several rallies intended to raise local awareness of the impact of school closures and to convince school board trustees to keep our rural schools. The threat of rural school closings has taken on new meaning in our own region, and in the rest of Ontario. Frontenac Islands is an isolated, rural island community (Howe, Wolfe, Simcoe) with schools on Wolfe Island, Marysville Public, and Sacred Heart.”
Recently Mayor Doyle with members of the community Schools Alliance met with Minister of Education, Mitzi Hunter, (she who said recently “a school is the heart of a community”) at the ROMA Conference, to bring to her attention not only the detrimental results of school closures, both economic and social, on rural communities. But also the impact on children’s health as a result of long hours of travelling to and from school. He noted that the costs of closing and disposing of schools and extra bussing are probably well known, but was the fact that MPAC property values will go down as people with young children leave a community with others not likely to move in. “Schools slated for closure, and the impact closures have on communities are big issues for rural municipalities,” Doyle said at the time.
It’s time to follow this important Issue…

3. All About Goat Farming: Two Public Information Sessions at Frontenac County offices in Glenburnie—
Date: Thursday, March 23; Time: First session: 2 - 4 p.m.; Second session: 7 - 9 p.m.; Frontenac County offices, 2069 Battersea Road, Glenburnie-Seating is limited. Please register online at: 2pm: https://goat-farming.eventbrite.ca
7pm: https://goat-farming-2.eventbrite.ca Goat milk will be the foundation of an innovative, hypoallergenic product manufactured and as much as possible produced locally at a Feihe infant formula plant slated for Kingston. It is to be Canada’s only wet formula facility and North America's first and only producer of goat milk-based infant formula. The two information sessions, both with the same content, are being held to educate interested community members about the goat milk industry, including regulations and start-up considerations and to accommodate interested people. The content of the sessions will be valuable for those who are currently running farming operations and looking to expand to produce goat milk, or those hoping to enter the farming industry. However, anyone interested in the Feihe project is welcome to attend.
The project is seen as an opportunity that could provide multiple opportunities for both local and regional economic development, from the construction of the plant, to the company's plans to produce goat milk based formula. Kingston’s Economic Development Corporation together with Frontenac County and the Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs will develop an Ontario plan for expansion of the goat milk industry

Around Town: **The annual Wolfe Island St Patrick's Day Seniors Lunch will be held Saturday, March 18 at the United Church Hall,12:00 noon. (hosted together by the WI Women's Institutes). ** Notice to truckers and shippers 2017— Half Load restrictions expected to start March 6th on all Frontenac Islands roads.

Posted by M Knott at 11:13 AM