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In 1973, Winston Cosgrove published a 60-page book on the history of Wolfe Island. Wolfe Island Past and Present outlines how the island came to be settled, how it remained in use by indigenous peoples as fall and winter fishing and hunting grounds until the middle of the 19th Century, and how the population peaked in the late 19th Century before beginning a long decline that has only recently been reversed. The book is written in a kind of discreet manner that suggests its focus was more in the past than on what was then the present, and of course 40 years have passed since it was published. It contains, however, much information about how the island community developed from the late 17th until the 20th centuries. In 1685, Robert Cavallier, Sieur de Lasalle, having been granted the Signeury of Fort Frontenac by King Louis the 14th ten years earlier, conferred ownership of what would become known as Wolfe Island on James Cauchois. It was the “first conveyance of any part of Ontario from one subject to another”. The land remained in the Cauchois family for over 100 years, until it was sold in the early 1800s to David Alexander Grant and Patrick Langan for one shilling an acre. Grant had married the Baroness of Longeuil in 1785, and although the sale of the island to Grant and Langan severed all ties to the French monarchy it did establish the Baron of Longeuil as a major force on Wolfe Island. In 1823, David Alexander's son, C.W. Grant, the 4th Baron of Longeuil, owned about 11,000 acres on the island. A similar amount was split among the three daughters of Patrick Langan. Two-sevenths of the land had been turned over to England's King George when the British overturned French rule in the entire region. Grant sold off 100 acre lots starting in 1823, and settlement began in earnest. He also had a large house constructed near Marysville. The house, which was called Ardath Chateau, was known locally as the “The Old Castle”. It had 25 rooms, a dungeon, a carriage house and servants' quarters and was the “focal point for many years of life on the island”. In 1929 the house, which had been unoccupied for at least 15 years, was razed in a fire. “Being a native born Islander, this writer recognises the staunch loyalty among the Islanders for one another and out of respect for this tradition, would prefer 'to let sleeping dogs lie' rather than delve further into the matter.” This suggests that Winston Cosgrove knew more about the fire than he was willing to say, and in all likelihood further information about what happened that dark night in 1929 is still carried by any number of Wolfe “Islanders”. Although “The Old Castle” was certainly grand, the housing situation for Wolfe Island settlers in the early to mid 19th Century was more modest. Fifteen settler families lived on the island in 1823, and this increased to 261 persons by 1826. The population grew steadily, peaking at 3,600 by 1861. When the island was being settled in the 1820s and 30s “the typical house was a log cabin, 20 feet long by 16 feet wide, 6 logs high, with a shanty or sloping roof. Some had glass but most often the windows were only holes in the wall, which could be covered in the winter.” During the 1850s, demand for lumber for D. D. Calvin's shipbuilding operation on nearby Garden Island led to a lumbering boom on Wolfe Island, and the boom ended when the trees were gone. The population began to dwindle at that point, and by the time Cosgrove's book was published in 1973, it was down to 1,200. It had dropped to 1142 by 2001, and the 2011 population survey lists Frontenac Islands (including Wolfe and Howe Island) at 1864. The current permanent resident population of Wolfe Islands, according to Wikipedia, is 1,400, although it is twice that or more in the summer (perhaps excluding this past summer due to the Ferry Fiasco of 2015). Wolfe Island Past and Present contains a wealth of information about landmarks and renowned island residents. It explains how Marysville was named after Mary Hitchcock, who lived all of her 92 years on the island and was its first postmistress between 1845 and her death in 1877. The General Wolfe Hotel, originally known as the Wolfe Island Hotel, was built in 1860. It was renamed the General Wolfe by the Greenwood brothers in 1955, and benefited from the results of a liquor referendum in 1957, which was won by “the wets”. The hotel remains an island landmark and a major part of the hospitality industry. It's 130-seat restaurant has won a number of provincial awards. The final chapter of the book deals with a crucial subject, one that has been top of mind on the island this summer and was also the subject of a discussion and slide show on Wednesday, December 2, “Ice Travel” with Kaye Fawcett and Ken White, which was organised by the Wolfe Island Historical Society. Throughout Frontenac County the history of road and railway construction is full of colour, hardship and a fair taint of corruption and scandal. On Wolfe Island there is an added dimension - the water that separates the island from the mainland and the City of Kingston. It was 50 years ago, in 1965, that a year-round ferry service financed by the Province of Ontario was established on Wolfe Island. Until then the ferry service ran only until freeze up, and during the winter an ice road was the way across. In 1954 the winter was so warm that the ferry was only inactive for 2 days, but between 1955 and the onset of the year-round ferry in 1965, the range was 60 to 110 days, with an average of about 80 inactive days each winter. Over the years, tragedies and near tragedies occurred on the ice on many occasions. One of the more famous events was the near drowning of entire families on Christmas Day in 1955. The ferry was out of commission because of an early winter, but a tug boat, the Salvage Prince, waited at the edge of the ice at Barrett's Bay for families who had come to the island for Christmas Day and were returning to Kingston late in the afternoon. They were being drawn across the ice in a sleigh, but just before reaching the boat, the sleigh went through a wet spot in the ice, forcing a hurried and dangerous rescue, as children, adults and seniors, were luckily all pulled out of the freezing water back to the tug and a boat ride to Kingston. Some were taken to the hospital for observation. An account of the trip by Brian Johnson is available at thousandislandslife.com. In the concluding pages of his book, Winston Cosgrove makes the argument that the economy of Wolfe Island will be doomed unless a bridge is built. “In the past the economy of the island has been purely an agricultural one, with hunting and fishing and summer residents as minor items. Under this system the population has dwindled. The key to the problem is transportation. There is much beautiful undeveloped shoreline and land that is is well-suited for permanent homes but better ways are needed to get to and from the mainland if the community is to develop and grow. A ferry service is not efficient enough ... Meanwhile the Islanders who want a bridge must be content to await future developments while acting as guardians of a great land developed by pioneers, to whom all are indebted.” Although Cosgrove's views may have had a lot of currency this past summer while the Wolfe Islander ferry was in dry dock, Wolfe Island has reversed the population slide over the past 10 years and a number of tourism-related businesses are thriving.
Rightly so, Frontenac Park is considered the hidden jewel of Frontenac County. It is located in the midst of an array of communities and cottage lakes within a stone's throw of Sydenham and is a short drive from Kingston; and yet it is a backwoods park in a unique geological and climactic location. It features the best canoeing, camping and hiking this side of Bon Echo Park, which is also a jewel but one that is less hidden and is also shared between Frontenac and Lennox and Addington. In his definitive book on the back story about the land where Frontenac Park is located, “Their Enduring Spirit: the History of Frontenac Park 1783-1990”, Christian Barber extensively researched all of the development that took place in and around the park before the idea of a park was floated and eventually acted upon in the 1960s. Their Enduring Spirit is not only a valuable resource in terms of how the park was developed; it is also an account of the difficulties posed by the Frontenac Spur of the Canadian Shield on those who were unlucky enough to attempt homesteading in its rocky terrain. The park is located in what were then Loughborough and Bedford Townships, now both part of the Municipality of South Frontenac. Many of the settlers who attempted to make a life in that region did so in the mid-to-late 1800s. There were some Loyalists among them, but there were also a number of Irish immigrants who made their way first to St. Patrick's Church in Railton, and then headed into the wilderness north of Sydenham in search of a new life. What greeted them was brutal and difficult. The history of a number of homesteading families forms the core of Their Enduring Spirit. Based on historic records, interviews with descendants who lived on or visited those who lived on the farms, and by walking the land and examining the remnants that are being reclaimed as wilderness lands, a picture of life in the back townships during the first 100 years of Frontenac County emerges. (An account of the life and times of the Kemp family can be found at Frontenacnews.ca under the “50 Stories/150 Years” tab) The level of poverty among late 19th Century settlers is reflected in some of the minutes of meetings of both Hinchinbrooke and Loughbrough Townships. In the minutes there are accounts of grants for as little as $1 for families in need after the death of a partner or a debilitating illness. Families who had settled on the worst pieces of land, who suffered from any kind of ill health, or for some reason were not able to keep up with the demands of clearing land, building shelter, keeping warm in winter and raising enough food, ended up in desperate straits. That is why settlers would take over abandoned fields and houses and only settle the ownership later on, if they decided to stay. Far from disputing this practice, as long as the property taxes were paid the local townships did not question the ownership of the properties. Mining was one of the few means of getting money for labour, and was also a major impetus for the establishment of the K&P Railroad. The village of Godfrey, to the west of Frontenac Park, was originally called Deniston after the name of the post office but it was known as Iron Ore Junction by the local population. The Glendower company mined 12,000 tons of iron ore between 1873 and 1880, and later the Zanesville company took over and a spur line was constructed between the mine and the Bedford Station (renamed Godfrey in 1901) of the K&P. A large deposit of Feldspar was found between Desert and Thirteen Island Lakes, and it was mined, on and off, between 1901 and 1951, producing a total of 230,000 tons in that time. In and right around the park, it was mica that was the most commonly mined mineral, in small mines as a kind of cottage industry and on an industrial scale as well. There is an account of how a mica mine operated in one of the issues of “The Frontenac News” (not this newspaper but the newsletter of the Friends of Frontenac Park) Below is an excerpt: 1905 - early in the morning Tom Gorsline, the foreman at the Tett mine, is checking the steam piping as a worker starts a wood fire in the boiler that will provide the steam that runs the drill and the water pumps. The miners had been following a vein of amber mica (phlogopite) since 1899 - the main pit now plunged close to 80 feet into the rocks and water sometimes was a problem. Fortunately, the price for mica is on the rise again and the main vein is still good. The hand drillers are already at work. Their job is to make holes in the rock to receive the explosives. The drillers are working in teams of two using a method called "double-jacking". One person, the holder, manually holds a steel drill against the rock. The other, the striker, swings an eight-pound sledgehammer hitting the end of the drill. In between the blow, the holder twists the drill to loosen the rock chips so it does not get stuck in the rock. Then the next blow comes with a sharp clank when steel meets steel. They are drilling at a rate of 1.5 to 2 feet per hour. After a half-hour, the holder and striker exchange places so the striker can have a rest. As you can imagine, accuracy is crucial. If the striker misses, the holder could be maimed for life. This is dangerous enough when they are drilling on the floor of the mine, but often the veins are at the roof of a drift or on the wall of the pit. As soon as the steam from the boiler reaches the right pressure, a miner starts the steam drill. It is faster and easier than hand drilling but the steam drill is enormous, unreliable and unwieldy because of connections with the steam pipes that come down from the surface. As a result, the steam driller is assigned fairly open spaces while the hand drillers work in tight quarters. Drilling is hard and dangerous - there are no hard hats, goggles, or electrical lights - but the dollar a day they are earning helps to feed their families. Now that the holes are in place, Tom calls the blasters. They make sure the holes are dry, otherwise the charges may not go off. They put the black powder in waterproof covers, attach a proper length fuse, and place it down in the hole. They pack the rest of the hole with clay. The length of the fuse is important or they could meet their maker faster than expected. After a few minutes, all charges are ready. The head blaster gives a signal to Tom Gorsline who orders all miners and equipment out of from the mine. When all is clear, the blaster lights up the fuse and moves quickly out of the way. The explosion rumbles and the ground shakes. After the smoke and dust settle, Tom sends in the muckers. They have a hazardous job. Everyone knew of George Amey, a mucker at the Birch Lake mine, who lost an eye when his pick hit a charge that did not fully explode. Some muckers sort the ore from the waste while others, with picks and shovels, load the waste rock in a large bucket until it is full. Then one of them yells: "BUCKET." Upon hearing the signal, a man at the surface gets the horse moving on a circular track so that the winch can hoist the bucket up to the top. The bucket is dumped on the tailings pile. As soon as the muckers are finished clearing the debris from the last blast, the drillers begin to make new holes. Cleaning the mica is the job of cobblers who work on the surface. Some cobblers "thumb trim" the mica by the pit while others are working at the cleaning shop attached to the main mine building, "knife trimming" the mica to remove all traces of unwanted material. They store the clean mica in barrels. The mica is shipped down the Hardwood Bay Road to Perth Road then north to Bedford Mills. There, the mica will be shipped to a buyer in Ottawa via the Rideau Canal. The Tett mine operated from 1899 till 1924. It produced 99 tons of mica for a value of $27,279.00. For a few months, it was the largest mica producer in Ontario. By the 1940s the mica mining boom had passed and most of the homesteads in the area had been abandoned or were on their last legs. It was then that the idea of establishing a wilderness park on the lands in Loughborough and Bedford township that had resisted settlement, and whose lakes (Devil, Big Clear, Otter, and Buck) were not already cut up into cottage lots, was first floated. In 1954 a Parks Division was created within the Department of Lands and Forests of Ontario (the precursor to the Ministry of Natural Resources. In 1957, the Kingston Rod and Gun Club submitted a proposal for a new park to serve the growing numbers of people in Kingston and southern Frontenac County wanting to experience the great outdoors, hiking, camping, fishing and the enjoyment of a sandy beach. The proposal included twenty-seven 200 acre lots in Bedford and twenty-five 200 acre lots in Lougborough, a total of 16.2 square miles, with an option to increase it to 23.7 square miles if the area below Otter Lake was added. That effort was not successful, and seemed to be dead when Murphy's Point Park on Big Rideau Lake near Perth was established instead. Five years later, in 1962, another group, the Kingston Nature Club, put forward a similar proposal. This time, even though the cost of purchasing private land for the park had ballooned to $200,000, the proposal was successful. It eventually cost over $1 million to create Frontenac Park, which opened in the late 1960s. The park's first superintendent, Bruce Page, was the great grandson of Jeremiah, one of the first settlers on the land in the vicinity of what became Frontenac Park. Among the features of the park, and on the nearby Gould Lake Conservation Area, are hiking trails that pass by and over mica mine sites. In the Park, the 10 km Tettsmine Loop passes by remnants of a log slide from the lumbering days, abandoned mica mines and the remains of McNally Homestead. At Gould Lake, the Mica Loop passes over several small mine sites and mica minerals can still be seen sparkling in the rock faces.
There were a number of distinguished Frontenac County wardens from the Township of Wolfe Island during the first 133 years of Frontenac County history, and since municipal amalgamation there have been two more from the Township of Frontenac Islands: Jim Vanden Hoek for two years, and the current warden, Denis Doyle. Although Tim O'Shea was only county warden for a single year, the centennial year in 1967, he was a member of the council for 33 consecutive years as the long-serving reeve of Wolfe Island. He retired from politics in 1991 and died in 1996 at the age of 78. His son, Terry, who served as the clerk of Wolfe Island and Frontenac Islands for over 20 years, starting in 1986, described his father as someone who enjoyed people and was able to remain calm in tense situations, which might explain why he was able to win election after election. He worked for most of his life as a hunting and a fishing guide on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, and in the evenings he tended to township matters. As well as presiding over Council, he was the welfare officer for the islands as well as the manager of the ferry, all part of the functions of the reeve. Perhaps his most lasting accomplishment was convincing the provincial government to take over the ferry service from Wolfe Island and make it a free service. He also presided over the construction of the first library, medical clinic, ambulance base and fire department on the island. Because of all his accomplishments and longevity, he is still considered to have been the dean of Frontenac County councilors. One hundred and two years before Tim O'Shea served as county warden, another Wolfe Island politician held the post. The first ever Frontenac County warden was Dileno (Dexter) Calvin, the proverbial self-made man. He was orphaned at the age of eight in Rutland, Vermont. When he was 20 he moved to the State of New York where he worked as a labourer until he entered into the lumbering business when he was in his mid-20s. He started in 1825, squaring some timber with a neighbour and transporting it by raft to Quebec City. Slowly, he built up the business, and in 1835 he moved to Clayton, NY, and established a lumber transport business. Soon after, he became involved in a company based on Garden Islands, the Kingston Stave Forwarding Company, which was later renamed Calvin, Cook and Counter, and then Calvin and Cook after the men who owned it. In 1844, Dexter Calvin moved to rented land on Garden Island and took control of the company, taking advantage of the island's location, its sheltered port, and the fact that it was within the British rather than the American trading system. Out of its base on Garden Island, the company maintained agencies in Sault St. Marie, Quebec City, Liverpool and Glasgow, operated 12 -15 ships and employed as many as 700 people in its peak years. It became a generalized shipping company, and also operated a large tugboat service. The move to Garden Island took place soon after the death of Calvin's first wife, Harriet Webb, in Clayton, New York, in 1843. the couple had been married for 12 years and had six children. He remarried Marion Breck in 1844. They also had six children between 1844 and her death in 1861. His third wife, Catherine Wilkinson, whom he married in 1861 when he was 63, had two children, and lived until 1911. Of his 14 children, only six lived to adulthood. During the last 40 years of his long life (he died in 1884 at the age of 86) Calvin was a sort of patriarch to the inhabitants of Garden Island. He bought 15 acres of land on the island in 1848 with his partner Hiram Cook, and by 1862 they owned the entire island. Calvin bought Cook’s share in 1880. Garden Island became a model company town, with its own school, library, and post office. Although it was made up of people from different national origins and religions, it was reportedly remarkably peaceful and well managed. It was also a dry community, under the express orders of Calvin himself, who became a prohibitionist at the same time as his conversion to the Baptist Faith about a year before the death of his first wife. Since most of the inhabitants of Garden Island worked for Calvin, he was able to shield them from economic turbulence in two ways. For one thing, since he was more involved in lumber transport than buying and selling, the fluctuations in the price of lumber did not affect the business in a substantial way. He also chose to use the company's reserves to shield his employees during serious downturns, such as one that took place in 1873. At that time he cut wages but did not lay any one off, which was as unusual then as it is now. He was strongly opposed to organized labour, however, and when sailors on his ships started a union drive, he hired replacement workers from Glasgow and eventually sold some of his schooners and bought great lake barges to cut down on the need for labour. His political life, which began when he was in his early 60s, was quite distinguished. He had become a naturalized Canadian within a year of moving to Garden Island. By the time Frontenac County was established in 1865 after the amalgamated County of Frontenac, Lennox and Addington had been disbanded, Calvin was already ensconced as reeve of Wolfe Island and the surrounding islands. He became the first warden of the County, a position he also held the following year and in 1868 as well. He then took a turn at provincial politics, as a Conservative MPP for the riding of Frontenac. He served from 1868 until 1883, with the exception of the years between 1875 and 1877, when he lost favour with the party. In those days, becoming the Conservative candidate in Frontenac was more difficult than winning the election against opposing party candidates. He was also one of the first directors of the K&P Railroad. He was a man who was known for his eccentricities, such as a dislike for short men “for no other reason than that they were short” according to his grandson, as well as men who bit their fingernails (author's note – I'm sure we would have gotten on famously) as well as dogs and people who own them. “When a man's poor,” he said, “he gets a dog. If he's very poor, he gets two.” Dileno Dexter Calvin died in 1884, and despite his great success in Canada, he was buried next to his mother and his first wife in Clayton, NY.
Rightly so, Frontenac Park is considered the hidden jewel of Frontenac County. It is located in the midst of an array of communities and cottage lakes, within a stone's throw of Sydenham and is a short drive from Kingston; and yet it is a backwoods park in a unique geological and climactic location. It features the best canoeing, camping and hiking this side of Bon Echo Park, which is also a jewel but one that is less hidden and is also shared between Frontenac and Lennox and Addington. In his definitive book on the back story about the land where Frontenac Park is located, “Their Enduring Spirit: the History of Frontenac Park 1783-1990”, Christian Barber extensively researched all of the development that took place in and around the park before the idea of a park was floated and eventually acted upon in the 1960s. In doing so, Their Enduring Spirit is not only a valuable resource in terms of how the park was developed; it is also an account of the difficulties posed by the Frontenac Spur of the Canadian Shield on those who were unlucky enough to attempt homesteading in its rocky terrain. The park is located in what were then Loughborough and Bedford Townships, now both part of the Municipality of South Frontenac. Many of the settlers who attempted to make a life in that region did so in the mid-to-late 1800s. There were some Loyalists among them, but there were also a number of Irish immigrants who made their way first to St. Patrick's Church in Railton, and then headed into the wilderness north of Sydenham in search of a new life. What greeted them was brutal and difficult. The history of a number of homesteading families forms the core of Their Enduring Spirit. Based on historic records, interviews with descendants who lived on or visited those who lived on the farms, and by walking the land and examining the remnants that are being reclaimed as wilderness lands, a picture of life in the back townships during the first 100 years of Frontenac County emerges. The first family to be profiled in the book is the Kemp family, who arrived at their farm at Otter Lake, near the west gate of the park, sometime in the 1860s. By the time of the 1871 census, William and Jane Kemp, both 47, had six children living with them. The land they laid claim to, in addition to other properties taken on by their son George, was very good by local standards. Over two decades of work, making use of the efforts of the entire family, 30 acres of the 95 acre property had been cleared. “That might not sound like much to show for 20 years of labour, but in that district most farms worked 15 or 20 cleared acres. In fact the clearing was usually completed in relatively short order. But it was back-breaking work, without mechanical means. It involved cutting down the trees and clearing the brush, then burning the stumps that could not be wrenched from the ground by a team of horses or oxen and hauled away to form a first fence row. In the meantime the job of raising a crop to feed the family over the winter had to go on, and the first seeds were usually sown among the stumps ... it was no wonder that among the first settlers it was axiomatic to hate trees,” wrote Christian Barber in Their Enduring Spirit. The Kemp family prospered, and by 1900 the original log cabin that was built in the early 1870s had disappeared beneath white, painted clapboard, and numerous outbuildings had been constructed as well. There was a root cellar below, and fields that extended right to the front doorway. Still, cash was not easy to come by. A ledger from M.A. Hogan's General Store in Sydenham illustrates this. In late 1912, Mary Shales Kemp, George's wife, who managed the family finances among numerous other tasks, purchased dishes, a pair of overalls for a dollar, and the indulgences of walnuts and a vase, for a total cost of $7.32. Her custom was to pay for her purchases with butter and eggs from the farm. However on this occasion, after the eggs and butter were factored in there was a shortfall of $1.45. Back went the overalls and the extra 45 cents was paid in cash. During the mica mining year in the first decade of the 20th century, George Kemp found a number of small deposits on his farm, and even took on investors to pay the $70 that was needed for drills and blasting powder at one site. However, enough mica was never found to make a profit on the venture. To the extent that there were roads in the area, they were built and maintained by all of the farmers living in there, sometimes as part of their taxation responsibilities, which, in the late 19th century, included putting in some time improving the local roads. While the Kemp family were able to establish a successful farm in what is now Frontenac Park, it was ultimately unsustainable. Mary Kemp lived on the farm after George died, but moved away in 1928 and sold the property in 1941. The last people to occupy it were a family from Wyoming in the late 1940s. By the time Mary Kemp died in Sydenham in 1952 at the age of 93, the property where she had made her life had been abandoned and the house and barns had burned down. When Christian Barber went to the property in the late 1980s as he was preparing his book, it was mostly overgrown with vegetation, and it required effort on his part to find the remnants of what had been a going concern for 60 or 70 years. He notes this at the end of his chapter on the Kemp family of Kemp Road : “... the fields, so painstakingly cleared and planted and harvested by generations of settlers, are overgrown with sumac and birch, locust and juniper. Rusted barbed wire – embedded by years in the centre of the trees that it was originally stapled to the bark of – is stretched to the breaking point by fallen trees, and there is no one to cut them away; no farmer in overalls, with strong, knuckly, barked, and sun-tanned hands to walk the line on a summer day between haying and harvest and maintain a fence.” The Kemp family's story is similar in outcome to others told in the book - struggle and some success followed by a move to better farmland elsewhere in the region or to work off the farm in Sydenham or beyond. Mining and logging were also prevalent in the park. Logging started in the early 19th century and mining later on, with the logging having the greatest impact on the land, as it did elsewhere in the region generally. In the interesting chapter on mining, Barber touches on the story of Antoine Point on Devil Lake. Francis Edward Antoine and his wife, Letitia Whiteduck, built a log cabin on the Point in the mid 19th century and they are buried there. One of their sons, John Antoine, is listed, along with the government, as the owner of Antoine Point in the 1883 Meacham map, one of the best source materials for information about land ownership in those years. John, with his wife Elizabeth Hollywood, had 11 children. According to Antoine family lore, it was John who found mica deposits at Antoine Point, although there are competing accounts about who found the ore at that location, and it seems that the Point became of interest to mining interests in the early 1890s. There is an entry in the land registry indicating that John Antoine sold his interest in the land to William Jones for $50 in 1897, and the Antoines moved to Godfrey, and eventually back to Sharbot Lake, where another branch of the family was already located. The idea of establishing a wilderness park on the lands in Loughborough and Bedford township that had resisted settlement, and whose lakes (Devil, Big Clear, Otter, and Buck) were not already cut up into cottage lots, was first floated in the 1940s. In 1954 a Parks Division was created within the Department of Lands and Forests of Ontario (the precursor to the Ministry of Natural Resources. In 1957, the Kingston Rod and Gun Club submitted a proposal for a new park to serve the growing numbers of people in Kingston and southern Frontenac County wanting to experience the great outdoors, hiking, camping, fishing and the enjoyment of a sandy beach. The proposal included twenty seven 200 acre lots in Bedford and twenty five 200 acre lots in Lougborough, a total of 16.2 square miles, with an option to increase it to 23.7 square miles if the area below Otter lake was added. That effort was not successful, and seemed to be dead when Murphy's Point Park on Big Rideau Lake near Perth was established instead. Five years later, in 1962, another group, the Kingston Nature Club, put forward a similar proposal. This time, even though the cost of purchasing private land for the park had ballooned to $200,000, the proposal was successful. It eventually cost over $1 million to create Frontenac Park, which opened in the late 1960s. The park's first superintendent, Bruce Page, was the great grandson of Jeremiah, one of the first settlers on the land in the vicinity of what became Frontenac Park.
For 18 years, David Craig built conventional homes. Then, he saw the film Garbage Warrior, a 2007 documentary about Mike Reynolds, who came up with the Earthship style of building. Intrigued, he went to take a course from Reynolds in New Mexico. When he got back to Canada, he quit his job (“it was a good job,” he said) and began building Earthships. He has two of these completed and sold under his belt. Craig’s company, Talking Trees Communities, is one of the ‘stakeholders’ in C & T North Frontenac’s One Small Town project. Craig’s part, and indeed his vision, is to create a community of Earthships. “Eighty-nine would work, 111 would be nice,” he said. Currently, Craig is working out of the house beside the liquor store in Plevna that’s serving as the overall project’s headquarters. “I don’t have any say in this building, I’m just in it,” he said. “It’s all of our offices.” He’d really rather be out there building Earthships. “To make the projects viable, we’d need 300 to 500 acres,” he said. For those unfamiliar with the Earthship design concept, they are based on six principles or human needs: • thermal/solar heating and cooling• solar and wind electricity• self-contained sewage treatment• building with natural and recycled materials• water harvesting and long-term storage• some internal food production capabilities. Craig’s design is based on Reynolds’ but he’s modified it somewhat. He retains the six principles and recycles tires to create the thermal mass which is a crucial component to the heating/cooling system but he’s scrapped the horseshoe concept which he deemed unnecessary to the functions of the house and added some insulation to the thermal mass. But it’s essentially still the off-grid, self-sustaining plan Reynolds came up with in the early ’70s. “The conventional house is a freezing, useless box,” he said. “An Earthship will stay at 15 degrees year ’round. “Now that’s too cold for most people in the winter so you’ll need an additional heating source but nowhere near as much as you do in a conventional home, regardless of how it’s insulated.” He said the owner of the home plays a big part in the design in terms of how many solar panels are used, size of the greenhouse and accoutrements as well as actual construction if desired but $150 per square foot is “middle ground” building cost for these homes. The actual plan for One Small Town is very much still in the planning stages but for Craig location and/or construction of the other components (medical centre, electrical generating plant, aquaculture facility, apiary and wood products) is a non-issue. He’s ready to start building houses as soon as the land is secured and subdivided. “We (the Earthship component) don’t need the power,” he said.
The Ducharme family is pretty busy these days. Not only are they installing thousands of lights at just the correct location in the four acre patch of property that they decorate for Christmas each year, there is also the matter of preparing the Singing Trees. “We store about 80% of the lights each year and put them up in new locations to keep the display new,”said Greg Ducharme early this week, “and tee Singing Trees are new for us this year. The lights are hooked in to a computer so they respond to the music that is played through the system. It really looks like the trees are singing when you see it in action.” Ducharme is waiting for the final piece of equipment to come in from Kansas City to hook up four trees, and the singing trees will be the centrepiece of the display at Riverhill farms this Christmas season. The display will be complete and ready for the opening evening, which coincides with the Ompah-Plevna Santa Clause Parade. Riverhill farms is located on Struthadam Road, which is off River Road. Riverr Road runs between Ardoch Road (near Ardoch) and 509 (at Ompah) in North Frontenac Township. For the past four years, Ducharme’s past time of putting up Christmas lights, which started in 2008 with the birth of his grand-daughter, has been a public event that is a highlight of the Christmas season in the region. “We kept adding to it and adding to it as each year progressed, more and more people were coming in the driveway. We tried opening it to the public for the first time four years ago and it has been very successful,” he said. The lights are turned on each evening between November 25 and New Years, and the Ducharmes keep then lights on until 9pm on weeknights and 10pm on weekends. For three Saturday evenings during that time (December 2, 9, and 16) between 5pm and 8pm there will be wagon rides, hot chocolate, coffee, donuts, and pancakes and sausage or bacon and home-made maple syrup available as well. Bus trips for 30 passengers or more can be arranged by calling Greg at 613-282-3276. Please provide one week’s notice. The entire enterprise is about sharing the Ducharme families’ passion for Christmas lights that bring joy to the cold, dark fall evenings. “I’ve lived a pretty blessed life,” said Ducharme, “and this is my way to give back some joy and Christmas spirit.” The Riverhill Christmas Lights Show is free to view. The only charge is for refreshments on the three special Saturday Nights. There is a jar available for donations to help cover costs.
Ron Higgins sees himself as a kind of hub in the wheel that is rolling towards a major change in the economic and social reality in North Frontenac Township over the next ten years. He is neither and investor nor a proponent for any of the series of projects that are in various stages of development, but he has been at the centre of the effort to put groups and individuals interested in starting new ventures with the governmental and non-governmental agencies that can help make the ventures come to fruition. Higgins brought the projects together in one package at a special meeting of Council almost two weeks ago. He was seeking Council’s support in principle in order to advance one of the projects, a power generation proposal, which is still in the conceptual stages, but the meeting provided an opportunity to bring forward two other initiative that are at a more advanced stage, even though they do not require council action. In an interview with the News last Friday (November 19) Higgins took the opportunity to clarify where all of the threads of the complicated set of initiatives are located, both physically and in terms of time frame. The proposal for a wellness centre, wood shop and apiary is the first that will get underway. It has a location that has already been purchased. Planning is underway now for a renovation to the former Tooley house and 36 acre property which has road frontage in Plevna on Road 506. The property has commercial-residential zoning and starting up the new ventures will not require any planning applications. However renovations to the 2,275 square foot house on the property to create an interim home for the wellness centre will require a building permit, which has not been acquired as of yet. The proposal that was presented to council said that there is potential for the centre to offer the following services: massage, including Reiki, Shiatsu, accupressure and other types, chiropractic services, physiotherapy, First Nations healing or crystal/herbal healing, and primary care services offered by three medical doctors, and the services of a locally based Nurse Practitioner and midwife. There is a large garage/worskhop on the property, and the plan is to build a canoe this winter to “show the community the quality of canoes that can be made here in North Frontenac. Publicity would be enhanced by raffling off the canoe,” according to the report on the “One Small Town Implementation Plan that Higgins submitted to Council on November 3. The other project slated to get underway in the near term on the Tooley property is an apiary. All of the projects will be taken on by a co-operative called C&T North Frontenac (C&T stand for Contribute and Thrive). Part of the operating mandate of the co-op is that members who contribute 3 hours per week to one of the projects will receive a share of the benefits. In the case of the canoe factory, if one develops, that would amount to a free canoe. David Craig, one of the main proponents of the Talking Trees project, which will be discussed below. According to Ron Higgins Craig will be involved in the renovation project in Plevna and will be living and working in North Frontenac this winter. He has been residing near Perth until now. The second initiative covered in the plan is the Talking Trees Earth Ship project, which has been the subject of articles in the Frontenac News as early as last spring. In its current incarnation, the project envisions constructing 89 Earth Ships, homes built from used tires and concrete, built into the land to make them self sufficient in terms of electrical power and heat/cooling. The land for this project has not been purchased but there are un-comfirmed reports that a property that is suitable for the project has been located to the east of Ompah towards Snow Road, close to Road 509. Higgins said that this project will require planning approvals from Frontenac County, likely a Plan of Condominium will need to be prepared and approved before lots can be created and construction of the pod based community can get underway. “I don’t think the process will create the same amount of controversy among neighbours as a proposal to create 20 or more waterfront lots would,” Higgins said, comparing the Talking Trees initiative with the Ardoch Lake Plan of subdivision, a project in North Frontenac that is being opposed by neighbouring property owners. In the plan that was presented to Council, construction on the Talking Trees project is slated to begin in late 2018, although Higgins said he does understand that may be an overly optimistic given the land has not been purchased and planning processes in Frontenac County tend to be slow. The longest term plan is the proposal for electrical generation and aquaculture projects, which will require some land that includes waterfront because the generating process requires water to be drawn from a water source, processed and then returned to the water source. A second factor about site selection for this project is proximity to the electrical grid to feed power into the hydro system. The aquaculture project will be energy intensive and will require the electrical generation to help it remain competitive in the market place. The municipality will need to be the owners of the power project, but Higgins said that Langenburg, the company that has expressed interest in building the project, is prepared to cover all the costs in exchange for the profits that will be generated, making North Frontenac a power producer in name only. There is no time frame set out for this part of the One Small Town initiative.
A raffle for a lot in the One Small Town community proposed for North Frontenac Township has been cancelled after it was discovered that no licence had been issued. “After checking into it, we realised we didn’t have a licence and wouldn’t have time to get one,” said Duncan Spence, national coordinator for Ubuntu Canada acting as spokesperson for C & T (Contribute & Thrive) North Frontenac, the cooperative being formed to facilitate the One Small Town project. “We notified everybody who had bought tickets and asked if they wanted a full refund or to make a contribution. “We’re being very transparent here and not hiding anything.” The raffle had been promoted on the Talking Trees website and its Facebook Page. On Nov. 6, The Frontenac News become concerned about the legality of raffling off a lot that did not yet exist and contacted the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) asking about the legalities involved. Ray Kahnert, senior advisor, Communications and Corporate Affairs Divison of the AGCO sent the following response on the morning of Nov. 7: “The framework for charitable gaming flows from the Criminal Code (Canada), which establishes the need for charitable or religious organizations to meet eligibility criteria in order to obtain a lottery licence. The framework also requires that the proposed uses of lottery proceeds be reviewed and determined to be eligible before a lottery licence is issued. “The Talking Trees organization has not received a licence from the AGCO. We also checked with the local municipality and are advised that they have not issued a licence for this group to conduct a raffle or lottery. It is possible that the organization may be eligible. It would need to submit a lottery licence application and an eligibility assessment would need to be conducted by the appropriate licence authority, i.e. either the municipality or the AGCO.” On the evening of Nov. 7, The Frontenac News contacted North Frontenac Mayor Ron Higgins who said he couldn’t answer questions on the matter because Talking Trees is “a separate entity” and referred us to Spence. By Nov. 9, the raffle graphic had been removed from the groups’ website and Facebook Page.
Last Wednesday, students in Barry Harding’s grade 6-8 class made the trek down to Kingston to be the first class in the Limestone District to problem solve their way out of four Victorian style rooms. The goal of an escape adventure is to work as a team to find clues, answer questions and solve riddles to escape the room in under 60 minutes. Sherlock’s Escapes uses infamous characters such as Jim Moriarty and Irene Adler to help paint a picture of what it must have been like to be Sherlock Holmes. The class was split into two groups. One group at a time would begin in Moriarty’s photo lab, filled with vats of chemicals and photos as clues to help them enter the next room, Irene’s Kitchen and then into a store room. Clues from one room would often transfer to the next room. The rooms have an escape rate of around 20% for adults. And while neither team finished, they were each only one room away. While the other group was waiting for their turn in the rooms, they split into another two groups and created mini treasure hunts for each other. They used cards, a bunch of different kinds of locks the decor of the rooms they helped each other solve the 10 minute mysteries. In one of these puzzles, candy was locked in a box, and the key to the box was placed on a book. To find the book the students had to find hidden letters that led them to a combination lock that led them to a map where the title of the book (China Tides) was marked on a globe. Makenzie Drew, Erika Wood, Izzy DeSa, Allison Chacon (above), Bella Uens, Keyana Whan. Erika Wood solving the combination lock.
Judge resists crown, defence efforts to move case to Kingston In considering whether to conduct a judicial pre-trial in a case against Christopher Leger, 53, who is facing 5 assault charges, Judge Geoff Griffin said he was reluctant to do so “because if I conduct the pre-trial I won’t be able to conduct the trial.” Crown and Defence Counsels said that the trial will likely have to move to Kingston anyway, because of the expected length of the proceedings. “How long will it take,” Griffin asked Defence lawyer John Norris. “Up to 2 days,” Norris said. “We can do 2 days in Sharbot Lake. We can start on December 20 and finish on January 16th. If this goes to Kingston it won’t go to trial for another year.” “There are other issues which we need to discuss privately in chambers,” said Norris, “that may impact the decision about the location of the trial.” “Sounds mysterious,” said Judge Griffin. After a 15 minute conference, court re-convened and the case was adjourned until January 15 in Sharbot Lake (Norris was not available on December 20). Griffin said that a pre-trial will likely take place in the interim, in front of a judge in Napanee or Belleville. The January 15th date is not a trial date at this point, but that might change. The case has attracted local interest. There were four observers in court this week, intent on following the proceedings, a rarity in the monthly court. First Appearances – Randall Kirkwood, 62, charged with operating a vehicle with blood alcohol over 80 mg/100ml of blood, and having open liquor in a vehicle, will return on December 18. Dwight Vanalstine, 50, who faces 5 driving related charges, including driving while disqualified and driving with open liquor in a vehicle, will also return on December 18. Ongoing – Mallary Kehoe, 27, is charged with theft, possession of stolen property, and 4 counts of driving while under a suspension order. Her case was adjourned until December 18. Jeremy Pershaw, 34, is charged with Operating a vehicle while disqualified, dangerous operation of a vehicle, and two counts of failing to comply with court ordered conditions. He will also return on December 18, with his lawyer. Sue Vinkle, 38, is facing a single charge of obstructing a police officer. She will return on December 18th. Marion Vanalstine, 59, Sherri Wylie, 44, and Devin Kennedy, 28, are all facing a single charge of production of marijuana in a combined case. They are represented by the same lawyer, and since instructions from their lawyer were not received by Duty Counsel before court commenced, a warrant with discretion was issued by Judge Griffin. The warrant will be rescinded if and when they appear in court in person on the next court date, December 18.
At the latest induction of new members into the Frontenac Catalyst Leo’s Club, District Governor Bill Zwier issued a challenge to the young Leo’s. Lion’s members were challenged back in 1925 by Helen Keller to be “knights of the blind in the crusade against darkness” and now the torch for this crusade has been handed to the young club. DG Bill has challenged the Leo’s to collect 100 pairs of gently used eye glasses to be redistributed to people in need. And the group has graciously accepted!! There is a donation box for glasses at the Central Frontenac Municipal office lobby and it will remain there until the end of November. The Sharbot Lake Lion’s breakfast in support of the Salvation Army Christmas basket programme is on November 25th at the Soldiers’ Memorial hall where you can drop them off as well. Please support our efforts and give the gift of sight! If you are a youth between the ages of 12 and 18 and are looking to get involve in your community you can contact any Lion’s club member or call Lion Lesley Merrigan at 613-279-3144 for more information. Our next meeting is scheduled for December 7 at the Royal Canadian Legion in Sharbot Lake and folks are welcome to come and sit in and see us in action. Thanking the community in advance for your continued support of our youth programme.
Central Frontenac Council voted 8-1 to have staff prepare a plan for septic re-inspection at its regular meeting Tuesday. A plan for septic re-inspection presented at the Oct. 24 Council meeting had been defeated. This time, Councillor Tom Dewey presented a plan using a two-part, 10-year phase-in. Under Dewey’s plan, all RW (waterfront) properties must be inspected by an approved inspector, authorized by the municipality, within five years of implementation. Phase 2 will include all other properties, which must be inspected within 10 years of the implementation date. All properties will require a 10-year cyclical inspection after that. Furthermore, staff is directed to develop a list of referred agencies that are available to help with funding for failed systems, which is to be regularly maintained and updated. There will also be a municipal funding program. Staff have been directed to investigate and bring forward rules and procedures for municipal funding assistance for lower income residents. Councillor Victor Heese, who chaired the committee that brought forth the previous plan, said: “With all due respect, I cannot support this program. “If I were a cynic, I would say it’s designed to fail because there’s really not enough detail in it.” Heese said it will cost homeowners $130 for an inspection. “I can’t say citizens are well served nor will they like this.” Councillor Bill MacDonald, who also supported the Oct. 24 proposal, said he didn’t agree with waterfront being the biggest issue, citing the hamlets instead and he didn’t like waiting 10 years for every system to be inspected. But he was prepared to support this proposal in order to get a process started. “Whether or not a person can afford it (a new septic system), we cannot afford to close our eyes to failed systems,” he said. Deputy Mayor Brent Cameron and Councilor Jamie Riddell, who were the staunchest critics of the previous proposal, both said they supported this one because it had some proposal to assist low-income homeowners. Oso Hall insulationThe installation of spray-foam insulation at Oso Hall in Sharbot Lake is going well, said Developmental Services Manager Shawn Merriman. He said when they removed the inside walls, there was very little damage evident. “There were a couple of little stains from leaks that were quickly repaired,” he said. “I suspect the leaks were from 40 years ago.” Merriman said he expects to see substantial savings on heating and cooling bills with the addition of the insulation, “due to the fact that there was no insulation before. “When it’s all finished, the walls will be painted blue-gray and it should be all ready for your Christmas party (Nov. 25). He said he expects the renovations should be within the budgeted amounts. Playing well in the sand box After considerable discussion, Council decided to put boxes of sand outside the gates its two public works yards for residents’ use. “I haven’t spent this much time on sand since golf season,” said Dep. Mayor Brent Cameron. Public Works Manager Brad Thake said not only would it be more accessible (“user-friendly”) for residents but would also be safer not having residents go into sand domes to get sand for their roads due to the proximity of heavy equipment, which could also potentially create a liability for the township. RFCS youth funding approvedFollowing a presentation from Rural Frontenac Community Services Executive Director Louise Moody, Council approved $15,500 to be included in the 2018 budget for programs for rural youth (the same as last year) to be provided by RFCS. “It’s good to see we’re doing things for our kids,” said Mayor Frances Smith. “We here around this table tend to think more about roads and waste so it’s good to see we’re looking after our politicians-to-be.” Moody said her next stop was Plevna for a similar report. North Frontenac usually gives $5,400 to the program, she said.
The Frontenac County Economic Development wants to know how residents feel about allowing motorized off-road vehicles to access the K & P Trail at the planned Bellrock Road Trailhead among other things and as such held an Open House information gathering session Monday night at the Lions Hall in Verona. “We’re here to listen,” said Richard Allen, the County’s manager of economic development. “Not to create a debate ground. “There is a proposal for allowing (off-road vehicle) user access (but) we don’t have a proposal design. “We’re getting people’s ideas.” To that end, the County provided aerial maps where community members were invited to draw on their ideas, and a display where people were invited to write their thoughts about the potential off-road vehicle use. Currently, off-road vehicles are not allowed on the trail south of Craig Road. However, there is precious little parking there and while off-roaders could access the businesses in Verona by taking to Road 38, there is little incentive for them to do so. Also, there has been damage to gates and the surrounding forest as some motorized users circumvent the measures used to prevent their access south of Craig Road. Thus the idea of extending the off-road permission to the larger Bellrock Road area at the south end of Verona was proposed. For the record (and granted the comments hadn’t all been read) the tally of sticky notes at the end of the evening was 36 agreeing with the proposal to extend off-road use to Bellrock Road, 3 neutral and 13 disagreeing with the idea. “Again, we’re not making any decisions tonight, this is a workshop,” Allen said. Although ATVs seemed to be the dominating discussion topic for the evening amongst the sizable crowd, it wasn’t the only thing the organizers wanted to hear about. There were also discussions about parking, benches, garbage receptacles, washrooms, signage and fencing. For those who were unable to attend Monday’s Open House, there is an online survey at the www.infrontenac.ca website where residents can voice their opinions on all the above topics. The survey is open until Dec. 1 and Allen said they’ve received 100 responses so far. “I think it’s great that the community has been given this opportunity to voice their opinions,” said Warden and South Frontenac Mayor Ron Vandewal.
LPS students Owen and Emily Desjardin and Grace Silver, all from the congregation of St Paul’s Anglican Church Sydenham, present a playground enhancement cheque for $1,300 to Lisa Welder, parent council treasurer and Jeff Peck, fundraising chair. This summer, the Limestone Board removed the play structures at Loughborough Public School, having deemed them unsafe. Faced with a hole in the ground, the Parent Council set out to raise money for a replacement, and within two months reached their goal. This structure, designed to accommodate up to 45 children at once, cost over $40,000 to buy and install. One less costly playground enhancement is in the works, but the details aren’t finalized. St Paul’s had agreed to match any money raised at the church’s 180th anniversary, and at the church volunteers’ hot chocolate and coffee table at Hallowe’en, to go toward purchase of school playground equipment. “The whole village uses this playground,” said Welder, waving toward the sweep of parkland running from the school down to The Point, “we’re so lucky to have this space."
Lovers of ferocious budget debates are likely to be disappointed by South Frontenac’s 2018 budget process. Although MPAC numbers came in lower than expected — to the tune of needing to cut $44,500 in order to maintain the tax increase Council had mandated, CAO Wayne Orr and Treasurer Louise Fragnito came into the Saturday morning meeting with a solution already in hand. A proposed mechanic position for public works and shared with the fire department was budgeted at $41,995. “I think if we have one full-time competent mechanic, we’re well served,” said Mayor Ron Vandewal. “Plus a lot of the work a second mechanic would do goes to our local garages. “Why would we take that work away from them?” Council seemed to agree and Orr suggested they could easily find the other $2,500 to cut. “So, we’re done,” joked Vandewal. Not really. There was a suggestion that the cuts could come from roads projects until they get a roads master plan completed but that didn’t sit well with Coun. John McDougall. “We should take the Public Works Department’s suggestions on roads,” McDougall said. “I really have problems with people who know nothing about roads sitting around discussing what we should do about roads. “That really annoys me.” “There was discussion about a proposal for a skateboard park/splash pad but the splash pad part was nixed outright. “There are thousands of lakes in our area, what do we need with a splash pad?” said Vandewal. In all, South Frontenac plans to spend about $550,000 more than it did last year. Overall, the Township expects to raise $19.17 million through taxation, an increase of 3.16% over last year when they raised $18.59 million. The budget target that Treasurer Fragnito has established over the last few years, with council support, is not actually based on raw budgetary numbers. It takes into account other factors, such as growth (0.74%), which mitigate the impact of the budget on ratepayer. Fragnito bases her calculations on the average residence in the township, which was valued at $252,000 in 2017, and whose value has risen to $256,000 in 2018. The owner of that home would see a 2% increase in South Frontenac taxes as the result of the 2018 budget, to about $1531. It is in the context of the impact of the budget that the township sets a 2% target, even though the budget increase, in terms of real numbers, remains at 3.16% year over year. Local taxation makes up the largest share of tax bills in Frontenac. Frontenac County taxes then added, as are Education taxes, to make the overall levy to ratepayers, which is then divided out to ratepayers on the basis of the assessed value of their property. This is the final budget for the current South Frontenac Council. The municipal election next October will result in a delayed budget process for 2019.
At a special committee of the whole meeting Monday afternoon in Sydenham, South Frontenac Council committed in principle to some form of near-future project for seniors housing. Just exactly what that project will look like other than 12 units with a price tag of around $1 million has yet to be finalized but CAO Wayne Orr expects to have some form of proposal ready for Council’s Dec. 5 meeting. The reason for the sense of urgency, Orr explained, is that the City of Kingston has indicated that they have funding to support seniors housing but will need “final approvals by December 2018 and a ‘shovel in the ground’ by March 2019.” Given that there is a municipal election in 2018 and Council could be faced with a ‘lame duck’ situation, a decision has to be made soon in order to make further decisions on financing before Council might not be allowed to make such decisions until after said election. From the onset of the meeting, Council seemed quite unified in its belief that there is need for more seniors housing and its desire to proceed with with some form of 12-unit plan. Several councilors were concerned should this be a repeat of McMullen Manor in Verona whereby units intended for seniors ended up being assigned to non-seniors (with challenged clientele) because of not enough seniors to fill the units. “There’s such a small number of people from South Frontenac needing this,” said Coun. Ron Sleeth. “Are we going to create seniors housing for people outside of South Frontenac?” “Do we run the risk of loosing control of this (new) facility like we did with McMullen Manor?” said Orr. “No — that was a provincial decision.” “Will we be tied to Kingston and their wait lists?” said Coun. Alan Revill. “No, Kingston will simply manage things as a South Frontenac board dictates,” said Orr. “We won’t be tied to their wait lists.” So, that essentially left two questions — how this would be financed and where would it be built. As far as financing, rather than take out a mortgage, Orr suggested the Township could “act as its own banker” by financing the project through reserves. “But, the reserves would have to be paid back with interest (out of rents, subsidies and grants) similar to what we would get for investing the reserves,” Orr said. The “where” part drew considerably more debate. Sydenham and Verona would appear to be the frontrunners for such development given that they have the most amenities such as medical facilities, shopping and social opportunities within potential walking distance, ie ‘walkable communities.’ Also, several councilors pointed out potential sites already owned by the Township and the fact that Sydenham has municipal water, making it the front runner. Not surprisingly, the two representatives from Storrington District, Sleeth and Dep. Mayor Norm Roberts argued for the ‘Inverary Corridor.’ “I’m going to push the Inverary Corridor,” said Roberts. “There is development coming and as far as water goes, I’ve talked to a home in Gananoque who uses a 10,000-gallon tank from which they draw 3,000 gallons a day.” There was even a brief consideration of Fermoy Hall. “We do own the building,” said Mayor Ron Vandewal. “But there’s not much land there,” said Coun. Pat Barr. Eventually, Vandewal said “we’re not much further along than when we started.” Orr disagreed. “We’ve moved from ‘should we do it’ to ‘how do we do it.’” Orr said. “The biggest variable now becomes land.” Council decided to have Orr return a report with recommendations.
Budget article update - Wednesday 6:00 pm (At their meeting today, Frontenac County Council considered proposals which would have brought their 2018 budget levy down by up to $150,000, but in the end only managed to make the most superficial of cuts to the document. But pity the poor foster kids! A 6,000 expenditure to support a scholarship program for foster children in Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington, was cut from the budget. The impact of the cut was to lower the budget levy by 0.06%. The only other change to the budget that was made by council was to remove another $6,400 from taxation by cutting almost half of the budget for a parking lot restoration project at the county offiuce/Fairmount Home complex. All in the levy to ratepayers has been reduced from $9.775 million to $9.763 million, a decrease of a little over a tenth of one per cent. The net increase in the levy to ratepayers has been set a 4.4%. The other potential changes that would have had a greater impact did not have enough support from Council to come to fruition. A motion to cut the $55,061 contribution to the University Hospital Foundation of Kingston, which was made by North Frontenac Mayor Ron Higgins, did not receive a seconder. The only major dispute of the morning came when Warden Ron Vandewal proposed that the ambulance that is stationed on Wolfe Island could be replaced with a cheaper option using a single paramedic and a first response vehicle. The transport ambulance would come from Kingston off the soon to be upgraded ferry service. This would save about $100,000 per year, and a portion of those savings would go to Frontenac County ratepayers. Chief of Paramedic Services Paiul Charbonneau said that the alternative service would be a good fit for Wolfe Islands and would serve the residents as well as the traditional ambulance that has been phased in. That did not sit well with Frontenac Islands Mayor Dennis Doyle however. “Just like we voted to support the K&P Trail and Economic Development, I would ask that the county support the residents of Wolfe Island by completing the phase-in of ambulance service that this council started in 2015.” Council stood with Doyle. The draft 2018 budget thus remained intact, with the only losers from today’s process being part of a parking lot and a foster child who will not get a scholarship. Overall spending for Frontenac County, which stood at $41.3 milliom in the draft budget, remains at $41.3 million. The $26,000 decrease in total expenditures (0.06%) falls within the rounding error. The following was published before the meeting on Wednesday morning, and is based on the content of the draft budget, which as explained above, has remained fundamentally intact in its final incarnation Perhaps Kelly Pender sky dives on the weekends, but in his working life the Frontenac County Chief Administrative Officer is averse to risk and drama. As far as the annual Frontenac County budget is concerned, he has been preaching from the gospel of predictable, controlled budget increases over time. This has taken a lot of the drama out of the annual Frontenac County budget process, which was never a riveting spectacle to witness even before Pender took the helm. This year Frontenac County Council has moved away from the very general; approving the parameters of the budget in conceptual terms in September, to the very specific; looking at individual projects as add-ons to the budget in late October. This week they received, for the first and likely the last time, a draft budget document. It contains few surprises. The number that matters in 2018 will be $9,775,000, that’s how much will be levied to the four Frontenac Townships if Council accepts the budget as presented Wednesday morning (This article will be updated on Frontenacnews.ca at that time) The townships will then collect that money from Frontenac County properties. This projected levy is over $400,000 higher than it was in 2017, an increase of 4.5%. Most of that increase came about as the result of previous decisions by this Council. They indicated at their meeting in September that they would like to see an operating budget, including service enhancements, come in at under 1.5%, the figure for the increase in the consumer price index (CPI) for the year as calculated in late August. Treasurer Susan Brandt, working her first budget as the lead official (she was the Deputy Treasurer until replacing the retired Marion Vanbruinessen earlier this year) followed last year’s practice and added 0.6% to that target, based on figures for the projected increase in property assessment that was provided by the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation. By keeping the operating budget increase to 1.1% ($104,117), adding 0.89% ($83,550) for new projects, and using $88,000 from reserve funds, the result was a 2% increase. This increase includes a new overnight Personal Support Worker shift at Fairmount Home and a new Human Resources position, as well as $35,000 for the Economic Development Department. Added to the 2% increase from this year’s process are increases resulting from commitments made earlier in the mandate of this council. The largest of those is 1.78% ($166,7782) for two service enhancements of the Frontenac Paramedic Services, which are being phased in. One is on Wolfe Island, which is now fully funded, and the other is the second of three increases for a new overnight ambulance in Kingston. Another 0.65% ($60,787) is devoted to increase the reserve fund for capital projects, which has been in place for three years now and will continue to effect future budgets. All together, the increase rounds off to just about 4.5% Because of the incremental process and the weight of prior commitments, there is little to be decided when the entire package is presented this week. All of the spending increases have been approved in principle at previous meetings, but Council is not bound by those prior decisions. Based on the discussions that took place earlier, the only item that is at all likely to re-surface is the commitment to provide $55,000 each year for ten year to the University Hospital Foundation of Kingston. That was approved in a vote of 6-3 and may come up for a final vote before the budget is signed, sealed and delivered. Whether approved with or without amendments, the enacting bylaw for the budget will not be before Council until their meeting on December 20th. (Frontenac County’s overall spending budget for 2018 will be $41.3 million, up 3% ($1.2 million) from 2017. Most of the money required to deliver Frontenac County Services is provided by the Province of Ontario and the City of Kingston, which provide the lion’s share of funding for the two largest County operations (Fairmount Home and Frontenac Paramedic Services)
The Tree of Hope – one of the oldest holiday appeals in Southeastern Ontario – begins in Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington November 20. The campaign is expected to help 900 kids with toys, food, clothing and other items.The Tree of Hope is the annual Holiday appeal of Family and Children's Services of Frontenac, Lennox and Addington – a 123 year old Children’s Aid Society. The Agency has been running holiday appeals every December for most of its existence. This year, the campaign will feature two “official” permanent Trees of Hope – young evergreen trees planted outside at the Agency’s 817 Division Street office in Kingston and 99 Advance Avenue office in Napanee. Both will be dedicated in special public evening ceremonies – Saturday, November 25 at 7pm at Division Street and Sunday, November 26 at 7pm at Advance Avenue. All are welcome to attend. The Agency is currently running an online contest to name both trees. All the details about how to give, what to give and where to give it are online at HelpTreeofHope.ca or by calling (613) 545-3227.
In October of 1962, a U.S. U-2 flight photographed a construction site at San Cristobal in western Cuba. The CIA’s Photographic Interpretation Center identified Soviet made SS-4 intermediate range missiles on the site, the kind of missiles the U.S.S.R. used to deliver nuclear warheads.On Oct. 22, at 7 p.m. EDT, U.S. President John F. Kennedy went on nationwide television announcing the discovery of the missiles, as well as “quarantine” of all offensive military equipment under shipment to Cuba. Since the quarantine was to take place in international waters, Kennedy needed the approval of the Organization of American States and before the speech, Canadian Prime Minister John Diefenbaker was briefed by a U.S. delegation. According to Wikipedia, Diefenbaker was “supportive of the U.S. position.”While no Canadian ship took part in the quarantine, Canadian and U.S. navies had participated in many joint operations in the years prior to the Cuban Missile Crisis and although it ended peacefully through an agreement between Kennedy and Soviet leader Nikita Krushchev, Canada’s navy was ready to step in on a moment’s notice if called. Sydenham’s Bob Stinson knows. He was there. In May of 1959, Stinson joined the Royal Canadian Navy. He was 17. Because of his young age, his parents Vera and Ken had to sign their permission.“There wasn’t much going on in Sydenham in those days,” he said. “When I left, my mother made me some sandwiches, wrapped in maps.”The train trip to Halifax was all naval recruits, heading for the 15 weeks of basic training. “I had to stay on a little longer,” he said with a sly grin. “I didn’t always do what I was told.”His first stint was on the frigate HMCS La Hulloise, where he was in the boiler room.A promotion to EM1 “brought me to the engine room,” he said. “It was a better job.“You’ve seen in movies where someone in the bridge gives orders into a pipe.“I was the guy on the bottom end of that pipe.” Stinson next served on the Destroyer HMCS Athabaskan doing North Atlantic Patrol.“It was rough on the North Atlantic,” he said. “There was thick ice on all the railings and sometimes you’d look out the portholes and see your sister ship on a wave way above you. The next minute it would be way below you.“We didn’t even leave the engine room. A guy with a rope tied around him would bring you your meals.”During that time, he said, they did a lot of joint operations with U.S. ships. “We went down the east coast of the U.S. stopping at ports in Norfolk all the way to the Gulf Coast of Florida,” he said. “That’s where I had shrimp for the first time.”In October of 1962, Stinson was on the HMCS Haida, another Tribal Class destroyer. While the guys in the boiler room weren’t told much, “we knew something was going on,” he said. “We were told to wear our life jackets (the self-inflating kind) and we were issued gas masks.“There were blackout curtains and I recall everybody on leave was called back.“We had a full compliment (256) and that sticks in my mind.”He said the boilers were stoked constantly during that period.“We were fully ready,” he said. “All we had to do was untie and go.” Stinson said they mostly played cards (“I got pretty good at bridge”) and pretty much went about their business waiting for a call that never came.“I don’t remember any talk about what was going on,” he said. “I didn’t think it was that serious.“I didn’t think much about it — still don’t.” What he remembers more is the Haida’s last trip, when it was decommissioned and sent to Ontario Place.“That was one of the best trips,” he said. “In Quebec City, it was during the FLQ crisis and there were armed guards on the ship.” And he remembers being in Kingston. “The harbour in Kingston wasn’t big enough for us so we anchored offshore,” he said. “We had a small boat that we ferried visitors in and on one such trip, we recovered a ‘floater’ (deceased body) in the Kingston harbour.”
On November 18th Logan Murray returns to the Tamworth Legion Hall to perform a night of original songs with his band The Handsome Liars. Murray took over the Tamworth Legion last fall, throwing a party to celebrate the release of his most recent record 'Ninety Five Acres' and packed the place with folks looking to boogie. It was a great night of music and a real medley of genres as Murray and his bands jumped from song to song touching on the blues, rock and roll, and folk. 'Ninety Five Acres' is a collection of 10 original songs that Murray wrote and recorded at his home studio in Elm Tree. The tunes reflect Murray's unique character and often manifest as humorous and original observations of the world around him touching on politics, rural life, and his love of the blues.Also on the bill for November 18th is veteran Canadian singer-songwriter Pat Temple and his band The Hi-Lo Players who play a mix of rockabilly, western swing, and jump blues.Doors open at 7pm. Music starts at 7:30pm You can purchase tickets at www.loganmurray.net or at the door during the night of the concert.
North Addington Education Centre’s Remembrance Day Assembly was attended by Elementary and Secondary students, alumni, representatives from the Legion, members of the community, and a group of soldiers from 2 Service Battalion, Garrison Petawawa. The M.C.s were Alyssa Borger, Julia Cuddy and Ally Maschke, and they remained cool in the face of sudden changes in the proceedings. The NAEC choir led the assembly in the a capella singing of “O, Canada”, including some lovely harmony. “In Flanders Fields” was read in English by Eloura Johnson and Levi Meeks, and in French by Jazmin Marcotte and Yanik Drouin. Kaden Snider read “We Shall Keep the Faith”, a response to “In Flanders Fields”. Avery Cuddy and Rachel Cumming read two very different accounts of the experiences of women in World War II. Students were pleased to have a visit from 2 Service Battalion, Garrison Petawawa. Master Corporal Juneau placed a wreath on behalf of the visitors, and Master Warrant Officer Barrett spoke to the students about the need to remember the efforts of the past. The soldiers enjoyed a lunch prepared by the cafeteria, and also chatted with students who were having their own lunches. Various groups of soldiers visited a range of classes from Kindergarten to Grade 12, answering questions about their experiences, as well as playing volleyball with some of the students. Ms. Ohlke, one of the Kindergarten teachers, said of their classroom visit, 'The soldiers got a chance to see the students being good listeners in their own environment. These wonderful young men answered so many great questions and put the icing on the cake when they demonstrated a military retreat with perfect precision, complete with barked orders, stamped boots and salutes. They looked as happy doing it as the kids watching. I think they just got 20 new recruits'.
Harry and Fim Andringa have made their mark in the town of Flinton ever since they moved to the community 25 years ago. They have been good neighbours and keen volunteers, and have made many friends. Harry, who had recently retired from the Toronto Transit Commission when the Andringas moved to Flinton, drove for both Land O’Lakes Community Services (Meals of Wheels) and Friends of Bon Echo (captaining the Mugwump ferry) among other volunteer commitments. Harry has also been involved with local Legions and schools more recently by recounting his experiences in WW2 as a child in the Netherlands. “When we moved to Flinton we knew no one. We found the community by looking around for a small town where we could retire and enjoy life. And we found it,” he said, when interviewed at his home earlier this week.A few years after they had retired, Harry realized that he was not feeling well, and that he hadn’t been feeling well for many years. He went for tests and they did tests and found nothing. Eventually doctors realized that Harry was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and had been for most of his life. He lived through WW2 in the Netherlands as a young child and those experiences had remained bottled up in him for over 60 years. After 11 months of therapy he felt better and was able to begin sharing his story, which he did through presentations at Legions and at local high schools and Senior’s homes for a number of years. “I think it is important for people to know what happened, especially now when there are holocaust deniers around. There are even some in Germany now, so I wanted to do my part,” he said. A couple of years ago Fim began having health problems and more recently Harry has also been struggling physically. The strain of visiting groups in person has become too great.When Ken Hook heard that Harry was getting older and frailer, he is now 85, he recalled how much of an impact that a presentation Harry had on the participants at a meeting of the Cloyne and District Historical Society a number of years ago. He thought it was important to get Harry’s story on video. A year ago, he conducted a series of interviews with Harry and then applied for a Canada 150 grant to fund the completion of the video. He did not get one, but decided to self fund the project. “I’ve done a lot of corporate and other videos and people are always a bit shy or wary, and we need to do two or three takes. But Harry wasn’t like that. He didn’t have any notes at all. He knew his story and could tell it off the top of his head.”Obtaining video clips to round out the story was a more difficult process for Hook, but he did have help from the National Film Board, which allowed him to use newsreel footage. Finding the write footage took many hours, however. When the video was done, edited down to 36 minutes, an opening was arranged at the Northbrook Lion’s Hall on October 25. To Harry and Ken’s surprise, the hall was filled to the brim, standing room only, for the viewing.The film itself is straight forward. Harry speaks, there are images and voice overs for context, and his story unfolds.And what a grim, cautionary tale it is. Harry was a young boy when the war started, living in a small town north of Amsterdam. It took only four days for the German army to over-run the Dutch in 1940. Harry was 9 at the time. In the film he recalled the night when the German army arrived in his town. He thought it was a thunderstorm but his father said it was a war. “I had never even heard the word war. I asked my father what it was, and he said ‘you’ll find out’. Did I ever.”In “Harry’s Story” which is available for free viewing on Youtube and can be easily accessed at Harrysstory.ca, Harry talks about the way life immediately changed under German occupation. The school in his village was taken over and classes were held outside. German was taught and soldiers would come in to the schools and make sure the students were learning the language. Prisoners of war, from as far away as Mongolia, were brought in as slave labour for the army. Harry talked about seeing the German soldiers eating lunch in their truck, “with thermoses of hot coffee and cheese sandwiches, with not a care in the world” while the slave labourers were out in the cold, wearing rags, with soaked burlap on their feet in place of shoes, sharing a frozen beetroot they found in a ditch by the side of the road “just to have something in their stomach.” The Nazi regime also targeted Dutch Jews for extermination, and because of the efficiency of Dutch birth and citizenship records they had great success in finding Dutch Jews. As the documentary points out, only 30,000 of the 140,000 Dutch Jews survived the war.Harry’s uncle Cor was involved in the effort to save as many Jews as possible from the fate they faced if captured by the Nazi’s. He coordinated efforts in the region, often using bicycle power by night to ferry individuals and families to safety. Harry talks in the film about a mother and daughter, Esther and Sonya, who were sheltered in his home. He talks in particular about one day when a soldier arrived in his house without any warning, so quickly that Sonya, who was sitting in the kitchen, was unable to scurry under the large tablecloth that covered the kitchen table, which she normally did when there was any warning they were coming.The soldier asked Harry’s mother about the children, and she said they were her children. “‘What about her’ he said pointing right at Sonya. He picked her right out, and my mother said she was her sisters child who was staying with us for the day. He laughed, and looked at us as if he was insulted by our attempts to fool him, and then he left” Harry recalled, his memory as clear 75 years later as if the event had just taken place. They thought they were done for, and waited for the truck to come and load them up “never to be seen or heard from again,” which was what had happened to the Mayor of the town earlier, but by late afternoon nothing had happened and Harry said to his mother “I think we are in the clear”.They never found out why the soldier never turned them in. Harry’s mother said maybe the soldier had a daughter who was about 2 or 3 years old back home in Germany.“That’s the only explanation we could come up with.” In the film there are some stories that are more harrowing than this one. Harry also remembers the bitter cold winter of 1944, which became known as the Hunger Winter or Dutch Famine, when the German’s cut off all food and fuel shipments to the western provinces, where 4.5 million Dutch lived.Harry talks about ripping door trims for wood, stealing trees, and eating tulip bulbs and nettles.Canadian troops liberated the Netherlands after the D-Day invasion, a fact that certainly played into Harry’s decision to emigrate to Canada in 1957. It pleases him to point out how Canadian WW2 veterans are received when they go back to Holland. By a strange coincidence, the last surviving D-Day veteran in our readership area (as far as we know) is Gordon Wood of Flinton, and over the years since Harry and Fim Andriga have been living in Flinton they have formed a bond from being on two sides of a dark chapter of Dutch and Canadian history. Harry met his wife, Fim, soon after he arrived in Canada in 1957. She is from the Netherlands as well and they were married on Thanksgiving Day in 1959 and raised a family in Toronto before moving to Flinton, where they live with their son. Fim is younger than Harry, and she was born during the war, and although she was very young she has her own vivid of the war. When I contacted Harry for a few details early this week, Fim came on the line afterwards. Her concern, after what both she and Harry had experienced when they were very young, is with the refugees that have been taken in by Canada over the last few years.“I was 5 when the war was over, and I have memories that no person should have,” she said. “Canada is bringing in a lot of refugees, and they are coming from war torn countries that are as bad or worse as what we came from. Some of these children are going to have the same kind of memories. These memories that are so intrusive, and Canada should know that these people need emotional and mental help when they come here. We don’t need to coddle the refugees, we weren’t coddled when we came here, but they have seen things and those things don’t disappear. I know that for myself, they come back instantly and without any warning.”When Harry’s Story was screened in Northbrook, the tears were flowing in the audience in response to the dignified account of horrendous events, as Harry still finds it hard to believe that people could act as the Nazis did in his village and his country.Afterwards, Harry was surprised and a bit overwhelmed by the response. “I expected about a dozen people would show up, not a full house like this,” he said. The website Harrysstory.ca includes information about the film, an embedded Youtube link to the full 36 minute video and a link to the trailer. It also includes out-takes, footage that was not included in the film for time reasons but add much to the story. More outtakes will be added over time as well.Harry’s story is also being screened in Napanee on Saturday, November 25th at 2pm at the Lennox and Addington County Museum and Archives.
At the request of Addington Highlands Council, Napanee OPP detachment commander Insp. Pat Finnegan and SSgt. Dawn Ferguson were at Council’s regular meeting in Flinton Monday to discuss a number of Township concerns.First up was the legalization of marijuana. “Police aren’t ready for this,” said Finnegan. “We don’t even have a roadside device (for detecting the presence of marijuana in a person’s bloodstream).“The one we thought we’d be using was giving false positives.” Finnegan went through the various aspects of the Cannabis Act — possession of up to 30 grams by those 19 or older (in Ontario, the federal age is 18), cultivation of up to four plants and where it can be legally sold.“It’s my understanding that you will be able to buy it online until government dispensaries are open,” he said. “Current illegal outlets will still be illegal.“I don’t think you’ll have a government outlet in Addington Highlands, the closest one will probably be Kingston but I don’t think you’ll get Air Miles there.”When it came to police vehicles travelling at excessive speed when responding to calls, Finnegan said: “We stress the ‘arrive alive’ mantra. “If you don’t get there safely, you can’t assist anyone at the emergency and if you become involved in a collision, emergency services are then required in two locations.”He said that in his 10 years as inspector “we haven’t had anybody hurt” and that when estimating speeds without the use of a speed measuring device “the rate of speed is always perceived to be higher than it actually is.”He also said that all OPP vehicles are equipped with GPS and monitored. If a vehicle is seen to be going over 150 kph, the vehicle is flagged on the computer and officers are accountable for their driving decisions,Ferguson said that billable calls for service hours are down, with the exception of mental health calls which increased. However, she said much of that increase (12 of 26 calls) were due to one elderly female resident.A question of a refund due to decreased billable hours by Coun. Bill Cox was met with silence. Chief Building Official Ken Buxton said that they’re looking into a solution for the water pooling problem on the roof of the Denbigh Medical Centre and roads supervisor Brett Reavie said that it’s time to spend the money that’s been set aside ($6,000) for a water tank at the Denbigh rink to compensate for the well’s low flow rate. Council gave final reading to a passed both its waste disposal and orderly addressing of properties/appropriate naming of roads bylaws. Council will respond to the North Frontenac Development Task Force’s request for an information kiosk at the Northbrook Garage property.“I think it’s a good idea but we don’t really want people stopping there,” said Coun. Bill Cox. “Perhaps somewhere in the hamlet.”
The students of North Addington Education Centre suited up on October 31st in their Campbell’s Soup Costumes, to collect items for the food bank. For the second time ever, items were collected in Denbigh, for the Denbigh Food Bank. About ten secondary students were spread out between Flinton, Northbrook, Cloyne, and Denbigh to collect non-perishable food items, instead of tricking or treating for candy. The students are not strangers to supporting the community who supports them.This is the seventh year for the very successful event. We visited as many households as possible, but we know that some houses were missed- especially those on back roads, or not in a very central area. If you have food that you would like for us to pick up, please call Candice Bovard throughout the week at 613-336-8991. On behalf of students and staff, the principal, Angela Salmond, would like to thank the community for their contributions to our food drive efforts over the years: “I always have a feeling of tremendous pride when students come to my door, excitedly telling me about all of the food they have collected, and how families have bags or boxes ready at the door. Thank you to the community for continually supporting this event and investing in our children”. Items can also be dropped off at North Addington, or the Denbigh Medical Centre.