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.

May 25, 2017
Yet More About Water

Yet More About Water
Shoreline residents around Frontenac Islands , Howe and Wolfe, as well in Frontenac County and Kingston continue their effort to keep the waters of Lake Ontario and the St Lawrence from destroying homes, cottages, shorelines . But day by day there has been little change in water levels that remain very high. With frequent high winds blowing in and periods of rain, an incredible effort is required to keep the water at bay by very tired home and business owners and their coteries of volunteers.

The Township of Frontenac Islands has done what it had to do: activated an Emergency Response Plan and filed an Emergency declaration made sand and bags available, and is closely monitoring the Simcoe Islander and Township Howe Islander ferries, Roads have been reinforced and Reeds Bay Road in particular with tons of rock. Citizens have been advised to keep receipts etc. for Disaster Recovery Assistance, be prepared to care for themselves for a minimum of 72 hours and perhaps most importantly to test drinking wate. The KFLA Health Unit Advisory has been issued with regard to water safety.

And on this day in late May, rain is once again in the forecast, and “Lake Ontario, could see a new record in just a few days,” Gail Faveri said (in a Press Reader article by D.Hains, Metro Toronto). Faveri is with the International Lake Ontario - St. Lawrence River Board which since 1960 has been in charge of regulating the flow of Lake Ontario into the St. Lawrence controlled by the Moses-Saunders Dam near Cornwall, benefitting St. Lawrence Seaway shipping, hydroelectric power generation, boaters and property owners. According to the Metro article, the board has been adjusting the flow every day since the beginning of April in an effort “to provide maximum relief to people living along the shoreline of Lake \Ontario and downstream.” Thus far it doesn’t seem to be much help to those Islanders affected most. The decent of the water is happening so slowly. And now it is raining….once again. Quoting from the plan “Experience has shown that during excessive spring runoff from the Ottawa River, which is a major tributary, flooding in the Montreal area can be reduced by temporary reductions in Lake Ontario outflow. Plan 2014 formally incorporates these temporary reductions in outflow.” This obviously happened and we have that water.

2. Wolfe Island Ferry Line Ups- Anyone who travelled to Wolfe Island over the holiday weekend could only wonder at what drew the many, cars, trucks, trailers and boats to Wolfe along with so many visitors walking and biking off the ferry Wolfe Islander III into Maryville on Friday. The lineups on the Kingston side were long but it was the number of vehicles leaving the island at the end of the weekend that was truly incredible. And how grateful we are to have the MTO students keeping things in order traffic-wise. They tightened up the line, kept cars from sneaking into it, moved those parked in it and going nowhere, and generally got into the swing of the summer travel to the island.
At the recent Frontenac Islands council meeting a discussion about the line up, and the idea that that the ferry might better operate from the Dawson Point Dock all year for ease of lineup, boarding and unloading came up because the disregard by some people for the rules in Marysville causes disruptions to the MTO ferry schedule. The Township will issue a flyer to Wolfe Island residents outlining those rules as stipulated in a Township bylaw and a notice that Frontenac By-law Enforcement will be present on a regular basis to ensure compliance. Adherence to the rules is not seen as a threat to Marysville businesses but rather will help keep the ferry on schedule. Councillor Springgay expressed her strong desire that the ferry remain in the village all year for the sake of businesses, development and tourism. Though fundamentally opposed to having local citizens ticketed for lineup infractions as a way of improving lineup efficiency, she would agree if necessary. As the students become more experienced , that option may not be required.

3. Around Frontenac Islands: (a) Severance Application Review Public Meetings : June 20th on Howe Island; June 22nd on Wolfe Island, both at 6:30 pm. (b) Council approved a minimum, 1 week closure of a portion of Howe Island’s Lower Side Road to allow a culvert replacement south of the Baseline Trail. © Footings were poured for the WI Seniors Apartment facility. (d) Frontenac Islands website:

4. Around Town: Thanks to Rhonda Brown, who is retiring, for providing (Lifelabs) blood services to the WI Medical Clinic twice a month since 2013. Friday June 2nd is her last day. Enjoy Rhonda. Catalina Schneider will be taking her place. FYI: The Clinic bears the cost of the Nurse Practitioner Walk In’s and the specimen collection centres. donations are accepted. The WI Classic Race Sun. July 2nd also supports the Medical Clinic. Register at:
Coming events: ***Rummage Sale WI United Church Hall Sat. June 3rd, 9am to 2pm… ** Wolfe Island Classic Race July 2nd 9:30 am ** WI Round Up July 1,2.

Posted by M Knott at 12:56 PM
May 18, 2017
Some Say Itís the Highest Water Ever: On the Islands

Frontenac Islands activated its Emergency Response plan and ‘Declared a Flooding Emergency’ on Tues .May 16th due to the already high water levels of the St. Lawrence and River and Lake Ontario, which at this time are expected to continue increasing. The weather in the region has included high winds and incredible wave action causing flooding in low lying areas, shore lines, and erosion affecting homes , cottages , roads, etc.

To date islanders have willingly volunteered to help fill and place sandbags to divert water in a number of areas and around homes on Wolfe and Howe Islands with the sand and bags. These were made available at the islands public works facilities, with a reminder to bring a shovel and a caution to drive slowly over water covered roads. Volunteers can be called to assist local staff. With a ‘Declaration’ both Provincial and Federal Governments can also be called upon. Islanders have been advised to document any damages incurred with photo/receipts for expenses, if the Ministry of Housing determines that Frontenac Islands are a zone eligible for Disaster Recovery Assistance for Ontarians (DRAO).
There has been no problem with the Wolfe Islander III ferry, which is sitting very high in the water, but going up the ramp and down to board and exit the ferry however, is quite an unusual experience. I expect it must be similar experience for the Howe Island County ferry. However should water levels continue to rise expect the Simcoe Islander and Township Howe Islander to shut down until levels drop. The big fear as always is for the ferries to be shut down with no way to leave the islands, and in this case impassable roads, or no access to homes. But as Mayor Doyle so often says: “We are indeed a resilient lot on Frontenac Islands.”
Have you had your water tested yet? This is very important. KFL&A Public Health advises drinking water testing. Flooding conditions may have affected wells and sewage systems. Test bottles are available from either Island township offices to be returned for pickup by the Health Unit. In this situation, test the water regularly. For more information visit the Frontenac Islands website at:

2. Great Things Happening at The General Wolfe Inn: . As a member of the Frontenac County Accessibility Committee I felt compelled to call and remind the new owners of the Inn that there are a number of areas in and around the Inn that need improvements when it comes to making it accessible according to Ontario standards. And how thrilled I was to hear that such are already underway. You can’t help but notice the level of activity across the street at the Inn’s outdoor Summer Patio on the Dock. It is undergoing a complete rebuild that will include a number of initiatives to make it accessible including a wheelchair accessible washroom, barrier free entries, and height level considerations. Many may have already seen the design for that area presently hanging in the restaurant showing plantings, rock design, and general needed dock repairs If not, consider having a look. When it comes to the restaurant itself, there too initiatives are being considered including making the direct entry door at the back of the building as the accessible entry door. The operative word being a Welcoming Accessible Door , good lighting etc., and perhaps handicap parking. Much thought is being given to ways of improving the accessibility of the interior and exterior of the restaurant as well as the dining room. Good |Luck …

3. And About Beaches and Ferries: ** FYI: The design-build contract for the new Amherst Island Ferry also includes the design-build for the new Wolfe Island ferry. The contract is currently in the ‘Request for Proposals’ (RFP) stage, which is the second phase of procurement. The RFP was sent to the five qualifying shipyards at the end of April. It is expected the contract to be awarded by late summer 2017. The information about this project comes from Ms. Brandy Duhaime, Regional Communications Coordinator MTO, Eastern Region. Also from MTO: Glenora Ferry Service will remain on a 30-minute schedule with only one ferry running on limited service until further notice. Only cars, SUVs and ½ ton pick-up trucks can be accommodated. (On a trip to Picton, we noted the Glenora Ferry had a large truck centered in the middle as form of ballast against the water level.) ** Wolfe Island Welcomes Back the MTO Summer Students whom we count on to keep the ferry line-ups in order. Good Luck. **Please Take Note that Big Sandy Bay is closed until further notice due to high water levels. To put it succinctly, There is No Beach at this time. Watch for an Opening Date at:

4.. Around Town; * Jana Mills was in attendance to receive a $4,000 grant for the Friends of Ferals from the Kingston Community Foundation. **Also from the Foundation a $6,362 grant for the NEW WI Community Garden (behind the WI Medical Clinic) presented to Kayo Murakami. **

Posted by M Knott at 12:53 PM
May 11, 2017
Frontenac Island Seniors Apartment Project-- Moves Forward

The rain was falling too heavily to proceed with the planned ground breaking ceremony at the site for a first Seniors Apartment Project for Frontenac Islands. The honoured guest was present , the shovel was gilded and the people came to the Wolfe Island Community Hall. And, not for the first time, is it that Mr. John Weatherall, (Scarthingmoore Farms) has donated land for a special project on Wolfe, this time one for seniors
“We are delighted to have John here with us today. His donation is another key piece in this project,” Mayor Denis Doyle said in his welcome. “When Frontenac County went on to develop a strategic plan, county council determined that as one of their priorities, a senior apartment project be established, one in each of the four townships and allocated $375,000 for each of them, and a little more to hire a consultant to help us develop a plan,” he said. Wolfe Island indicated a need for senior living spaces some years ago, and the Weatherall’s expressed ongoing interest and support at the time. Doyle paid tribute to the WI Senior Housing committee (which he chairs) made up of members of the community including Councillor Wayne Grant, Brian Scovill, Kathy Horton, Mikaela Hughes, Walter Knott, CAO Darlene Plumley, and advisor Patrick Thompson. Frontenac Islands Deputy Mayor Natalie Nossal also attended the gathering.

As people arrived (40-55), they were invited by committee members and staff to walk through an accessible one bedroom apartment laid out to full size with tape on the floor at one end of the hall. Each room space was identified with cupboards, doors, sink, tubs, windows, etc. Islanders took their time, from ‘room’ to ‘room’, offered suggestions, asked questions, and picked up rental application forms, tenancy agreement forms and information before leaving. Coffee, cookies and pie was served.
Present from the County were CAO Kelly Pender and Communications Marco Smits, and from Wemp-Smith Building Contractors wasTammie Shatraw. This first project for Frontenac Islands -Wolfe Island Ward will consist of four -one bedroom apartments, and one 2 bedroom apartment. The project is ready to go… when the rain stops… when the ground dries For more information contact Frontenac Islands -Wolfe Island 613-385-2216.
At Frontenac Islands Council: A Service Employee Appreciation event in this instance for Wolfe & Simcoe Island employees was held in advance of the May 8 Council meeting. Honoured for years of service were: Don Eves, Tom Hines, Keith Greenwood, Ed Etmanskie, May Etmanskie, Kevin Frost, Theresa Quist, Carl Lambert, Darlene Plumley, and Rob Dillabough. A similar employee appreciation will be held on Howe Island in advance of the regular June Council meeting. Each person received a certificate and a gift. (which was a surprise.)
2. A minor variance request for a property on Easy Lane was withdrawn, at the request Frontenac County Planner Megan Rueckwald on behalf of the applicant Margaret Webb because of the severe flooding on the Webb property. Webb was also at the meeting was obviously anxious and concerned as she described the flooding pattern, and all she and family members have been doing (sand bagging, ditching), to try and save their house, including manning 4 very costly industrial pumps. She spoke of difficulty with adjacent lot flooding patterns, and no proper ditching etc. The owner asked that their building permit remain open. The township will repay the $475 cost of the minor variance, and has sought and will seek further input from the Cataraqui Regional Conservation Authority, Ducks Unlimited, Ministry of Natural Resources and the Municipal Drainage Inspector regarding properties on Easy Lane. At the present time sand and bags are available at the public works departments at both Howe and Wolfe. Interesting to note, Township staff will meet with a representative from Emergency Measures Ontario to discuss Disaster Management related to flooding.
3. W.I,s Chris Brown, owner/operator of a music recording facility on the island, accompanied by Janette Haase of Community Gardens, spoke to council about the planning that has begun for a weekend featuring music, farm and garden open houses/work shops. It is to raise awareness of community gardening and the WI Community Gardens to coincide with the formal launch of “Wolfe Island Records” and also ‘Casey’s’ brewery launch. A very ambitious program involving businesses, restaurants, musicians, and gardeners with a focus on social justice, food and the rural sector. It will include the WI Island Grill and the General Wolfe Inn. More information soon..
Around Town: Speaking of Gardens, the Tulips in Maryville’s Community Garden Planted for Canada’s 150th are in full bloom. Why not take a walk that way… June 10-18 is Garden Ontario Week.
Coming Events: **. Fish Fry, Wolfe Island United Sat. May 20TH,doors open 4;30, *** Community Yard Sale, Saturday & Sunday May 20-21, 9 AM to 4 PM, New & Used Items Rain or Shine, 1263 Hwy 96 East *** WI Boat Club Try It Day–Open House, Sunday, May28 ***Rummage Sale WI United Church Hall Sat. June 3rd, 9am to 2pm…

Posted by M Knott at 10:41 AM
May 04, 2017
Marysville Comes to LIFE in Spring

Spring has finally arrived for Frontenac Islands…There is excitement in the air. You can see it happening at this time of year in every small town along the St. Lawrence, and Lake Ontario. Here Municipal crews were out cleaning the streets of winter leftovers of sand and grime. The last of forgotten Christmas decorations are gone . Flower pots are appearing on the main street ready for plants, or already filled. Islanders are back from winter holidays. Trees and bushes are just aching to bloom. The Bicycle Rental shop is open for business is Horne’s ferry, the Bakery. Soon to follow will be any other restaurant , shop, retreat, park, garden, and golf course, that was closed for the winter. The Coast Guard has set out the markers.
In small towns all over, signs will appear announcing this event or that and how to get here or there. Plants , vegetables and flowers, along with mulch and whatever else required for the growing season, will fill the stands along the front of the local general stores. Patios will be opening at village restaurants, as will accommodation facilities closed for the winter. Fishing has started and boats have begun to arrive at the village docks.. Summer residents will begin to trickle back. Local food and produce appears for sale. And finally as schools near closing for the summer, everything else that was shut down for the winter, art galleries, museums, information centres, specialty shops, parks, walking tours, etc. etc. will open, and summer fund raising events of every sort begin and visitors come in droves. Welcome to Summer….
It’s all about TOURISM, attracting people to share in what you have to offer and to SPEND their dollars that help maintain your town when businesses close down for the winter. It doesn’t seem to matter how big or small the town may be, (unless you have a ski hill or concert hall), that’s the way it goes. Here, take the Wolfe Islander III to Marysville and Welcome to Wolfe Island.
2. THE LADIES IN SIR JOHN A.'S LIFE’: Brian Porter, the well known Sir John A MacDonald impersonator, and his wife Renee wearing an 1880’s gown as Lady Agnes Mac Donald, presented a series of stories about Canada’s first Prime Minister and the women in his life. This was at a gathering presented as part of the WI Historical Society’s annual speakers series. The historical slides and the skits presented by Brian, dressed in his1880’s period frock coat, took the audience back in time to Confederation 150 years ago. But it was the stories about the women in Sir John A’s life that came as a surprise. The women included his mother Helen Shaw, his two sisters, two wives, sickly Isabella Clark, Lady Agnes, his handicapped daughter Mary and granddaughter Daisy. Sir John was a widower for 10 years before he married Lady Agnes One story about her, read by Renee Porter, was a surprise. Apparently strong willed, she travelled 600 miles , tied to the cow catcher of the train travelling through the Rocky Mountains. Through the stories it was clear that Sir John A’s home life was difficult, while his role in the formation of Canada significant. WI Historical Society president Hank Connell thanked the Porter’s for coming. It was a wonderful afternoon.
Around Town: ** Water levels are high around Frontenac Islands. As a precaution loads of sand and bags are at public works areas on both Howe and Wolfe for sandbagging if required. ** Horne’s Ferry to Cape Vincent NY was forced to delay its May 1st opening to make some dock changes due to high water. ** New owners of the General Wolfe Inn, formerly the General Wolfe Hotel, are Laurence Gray and Ron Gibson. The Restaurant Operator is Kelly Hale. At the present time the Inn restaurant is open weekends only with bands and a new menu. *** The WI Community Garden Project is the recipient of a grant from the Community Foundation of Kingston. The project to offer experiences, planting, tending and harvesting for elementary school children and further opportunities. The garden will be located behind the WI Medical Clinic. **By the way, WI Clinic AGM is Tues. May 30th *** All proceeds WI Classic Road Race support the WI Community Medical Clinic. Donations for the clinic are gratefully received. *** Check out the Tri-Island Series. The first event in the challenge is the Howe Island Hustle, this year on May 13th, the Classic in July followed by the Wooly Bully on Amherst Island August 20th. ***Howe Island Pitch In week a Great Success. ** WI Boat Club May 13th Spring clean up of boats, books and boat house on May 28th.. Open House & summer program registration and membership renewal time. ***A new building is to replace present building at the WI Recycling Centre. *** The W.I. Bloomin’ Gardeners is looking for new members to join the group. Interested? Call Linda 385-1947.
Coming Events: **. Fish Fry, Wolfe Island United Sat. May 20TH,doors open 4;30, Adults $15.00 Under 12 –$6:00 Under 6 free, Take outs available. *** Shanti Retreat 6 Week Yoga Session, Mon. May 8th – Mon. June 19th, 7:30 - 8:45 pm. All levels, beginners welcome! $115 for pre-registration or $20/ class drop in *** Community Yard Sale, Saturday & Sunday May 20-21, 9 AM to 4 PM, New & Used Items Rain or Shine, 1263 Hwy 96 East Wolfe Island, left off the ferry. *** A Rummage Sale will be held at Wolfe Island United Church Hall Sat. June 3rd, 9am to 2pm… Spring cleaning think of them . Gently used items-books, clothing, kitchen items, toys, etc. No electronics or large furniture!… If you have items for this Diane 385-2411 or Linda 365-2665.

Posted by M Knott at 10:37 AM