Budget article update - Wednesday 6:00 pm (At their meeting today, Frontenac County Council conside...
Central Frontenac Council voted 8-1 to have staff prepare a plan for septic re-inspection at its reg...
Ron Higgins sees himself as a kind of hub in the wheel that is rolling towards a major change in the...
A raffle for a lot in the One Small Town community proposed for North Frontenac Township has been ca...
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.
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.
North Frontenac Township announced it has hired a new public works manager at its regular Council meeting last Friday in Ompah. Darwyn Sproule becomes the new public works manager effective Nov. 20, replacing Jim Phillips who earlier this year announced his retirement date as Dec. 22, 2017.In a press release, CAO Cheryl Robson said: “Darwyn brings a wealth of knowledge as a professional engineer and 34 years of experience with the Ministry of Transportation in a management capacity.“We look forward to working with Darwyn.” The press release also said: “We sincerely appreciate the level of expertise that (Phillips) brought to our Township and wish Jim all the best in his future endeavours.”“This is a good news story and great for our Township,” said Coun. Gerry Martin, chair of the Personnel and Audit Committee.” Council also heard presentations from Carrie Salisbury, community coordinator for the Heart of Hastings Hospice on visiting Hospice Services in rural Frontenac, Lennox & Addington and an assessment update from Beverley Disney and Kim Bennett from MPAC. North Frontenac’s two representatives on Frontenac County Council, Mayor Ron Higgins and Coun. John Inglis, are diametrically opposed when it comes to a proposed County contribution to the Hospitals Foundation in Kingston.The County hasn’t quite finished its budget process yet but Higgins is opposed to $54,000 this year and another proposal to continue a similar commitment for 10 years as the County had been doing.“My problem is that the commitment ended,” said Higgins. “I don’t think taxpayers dollars should go to contributions.”Inglis, on the other hand, is in favour of the contributions.“I’m in favour of it but I’m the only one,” Inglis said.Although he doesn’t get a vote, Coun. Wayne Good isn’t in favour either.“We voted you (Inglis) in to represent this Council,” said Good. “You wont’ be voted in again if I have any say in it.” As Mayor Ron Higgins was giving his report from County Council, North Frontenac Coun. Gerry Martin voiced his displeasure at there being no plans for the K & P Trail to be extended past Sharbot Lake.“I hear no discussion of any section going north through our area to connect to the Lanark and Renfrew Trails,” Martin said. “I think we’re remiss in not connecting to north of 7.” At the urging of Coun. Gerry Martin, North Frontenac will contact Metroland Media to protest its decision to limit distribution of the Perth Courier in North Frontenac to one outlet.“Only in Plevna is unacceptable,” he said.
Tom Power has appeared at the Crossings Pub in Sharbot Lake as a member of the Dardanelles, an energetic young Newfoundland band that, among other things, is devoted to keeping traditional Newfoundland music fresh and modern.One thing has led to another for Power, and last year he took on a high profile radio job as the host of the daily culture show Q, on CBC Radio 1. The Dardanelles went on hiatus after, although there are rumblings of a limited return, and Power found himself talking more on the radio and playing less music than he normally does. He then took to sitting in with Toronto based bluegrass/old timey fiddler John Showman who has a standing gig at Queen Street’s Cameron House on Mondays. It turns out Showman has a background playing Irish Fiddle tunes from his days in Montreal, and enjoyed paying with Power, who provides a driving beat on guitar and foot stomp that gels well with Showman’s inventive and tuneful fiddle playing. The duo has played around Toronto a bit as well as at the Cameron House, and when they wanted to book a show on the road it was easy enough to arrange by calling Frank and Sandra White in Sharbot Lake, who were more than willing to provide the venue.Some of the crowd at the Crossings on Saturday Night were CBC fans looking so to see the face behind the radio voice, and others were John Showman fans, since he has played locally with a number of alt-country combos, including a show a few years back at Blue Skies Music Festival with New Country Rehab.The show last Saturday was an excellent opportunity to hear the range and facility of John Showman. Power took the opportunity to sing two songs, a rarity for him. One was Ron Hynes’ No change in the Weather and the other a traditional Newfoundland tune he learned from his grandmother. He also provided support for Showman, who played tunes from the east coast as well as Appalachian and bluegrass tunes. Showman not only demonstrated his great facility to inhabit tunes from different cultures, he has the inventiveness to make them his own. Power pushed the music on, sometimes adding pace and sometimes just keeping the music grounded, allowing Showman to stray into new territory within some of the old tunes and new tunes that sounded like they were from a bygone era. All in all it was a dynamic show. There are no shows currently scheduled at the Crossings Pub, but shows will be announced in the coming weeks. Look to their site sharbotlakeinn.com for details.
It’s like speed dating for services, said organizer Maribeth Scott said in the GREC gym last week as 14 organizations gathered to inform families as to what services are available for children and youth in the northern Frontenac area.Scott stood in the middle of the room, with a timer and a bell, letting visitors know when it was time to move to the next station. The evening was billed as Fun at the Fair, ie a Children and Youth Services Fair. It began with a sausage/hot dog meal provided by Seed to Sausage and Weston’s Bakery and then continued with parents moving around the gym to various displays like early learning programs, healthy kids programs and even the more fun activities like theatre camp and karate lessons while the kids either played games in the cafeteria area or were looked after in a day care classroom.Scott said part of the evening was to show people what the resurrected Northern Rural Youth Partnership was all about. “We used to have this 10 years ago,” she said. “It’s a re-invented collective. Organizer Victor Heese said the evening was made possible through a grant from the Ministry of Education through the Parents Reaching Out program and involved the Land O’Lakes Parents Council, the GREC Parents Council and Healthy Kids.
Sometimes, it all just works. Such is the case with Jess Rae Ayre, Amber Rose and Michelle Anderson, aka Sweet Alibi, who brought their brand of harmonies to The Crossing Pub in Sharbot Lake last Saturday night.Ayre and Anderson met in high school in Winnepeg. Rose is originally from small town Ontario near Collingwood but has lived in Winnipeg for 20 years. “I met Jess and Michelle through music,” Rose said.Specifically, the Winnipeg Folk Festival, she said.“We all just loved harmonies.” And harmonies is what this band is all about. Older fans will probably hear a lot of America going on there, but Rose was at a loss as to who those guys were. “I grew up listening to Carole King, Fleetwood Mac and Joni Mitchell,” she said. “But I think we all like Feist.”She said a lot of their original material comes from experimenting around campfires and such.“One of us will do something and then another will say ‘what were you doing there, I liked that,’” she said.Ayre, who grew up with Neil Young (“Harvest was a big influence), Tina Turner and The Beatles, said things have just naturally come together for the band.“You can’t overthink it,” she said. And so they don’t. They’re back on the road after taking “42 days off after six years of touring” with a western swing coming up and then a trip to Germany in January.This was their first time in Sharbot Lake and highlights included their original I’ll Wait, a cover of Bob Dylan’s Serve Somebody and the revelation that Ayre has three boyfriends and 278 pairs of earrings.
Enforcement of the Building Code, including the proper installation and operation of an on-site (residential) sewage system, is the legislated responsibility of the Township. Council chose to shirk its oversight responsibilities for system operations by not adopting a Septic System Re-Inspection program. Whether through an inability or an unwillingness, they dropped the ball on this issue. The Building Code also requires property owners to keep their sewage systems operating properly. That can best be determined by assessing the sludge accumulation in the septic tank. A failing or failed system can pollute ground water (well water) and surface water (lakes and rivers), a situation we all want to avoid. At this time, though, no one really knows the number and types of systems out there and whether they are functioning properly. On October 24, the Township’s appointed Septic Re-Inspection Committee delivered a reasonable two-phase solution called an On-Site Sewage System Assessment Program. Phase 1: Give all property owners 5 years to share with the municipality an "assessment" of their system. This would be a winwin. It demonstrates compliance with the Building Code for both the property owner and the township. This assessment would be done by a qualified person and could include septic tank pumpers. Phase 2: Only when properties have not reported by the end of Phase 1 would the Township initiate a "mandatory" re-inspection. One advantage of this two-phased program is that those who are strongly motivated can opt to move ahead first. Given the substantial support from waterfront residents, this group may well become early participants in the program. This first phase allows choice and avoids the need to either politically or administratively separate the Township into different compliance areas. Those less motivated can delay their involvement until they are more satisfied that the process is working well. The only provision would be that an assessment is expected to be done by the end of the first 5-year phase. Because of the strong support of many waterfront owners for the program, it can be tempting to consider only their properties under the program. This would be a serious mistake, because that approach does nothing for the hamlets and village, which are our most vulnerable areas. Septic systems there are often among the oldest, and they are in close proximity to the wells of property owners and their neighbour, a significant health risk. It may seem expedient, then, to limit the program to waterfronts and hamlets only, but that would ignore the susceptibility of outlying areas to the health risk of contamination from faulty systems through fractured bedrock. The committee has consistently seen risk to public health as the primary reason for the municipality to initiate a comprehensive township-wide program. Certainly, specific implementation details would need to be developed, such as finalizing the assessment form; training and licensing of the assessors; record-keeping; follow-up processes; and the auditing of assessor performance, etc. It would also be logical to continue the work of the Affordability Committee to assess and establish appropriate financial support for the program. The Open Houses revealed that some people believe their tanks will not require a pump-out in a 3-to-5-year cycle because of minimal use. This view resulted in the recommendation to have more people trained to provide an assessment-only service, which would be less costly for the owner, yet still meet data collection needs. Such an option would increase choice and could result in possible part-time job opportunities. Our involvement as a committee has always been about the protection of public health, the sustainability of the environment, and the enhancement of the economy for all who live, work or play here in Central Frontenac. October 24 was a dark day for this Council, but more importantly for the rest of us. We deserve better from our elected representatives, and this issue needs to be reconsidered! (John DuChene is a retired administrator. Among his posts were that of Manager of the Ottonabee Region Conservation Authority and Clerk/Administrator of Central Frontenac Township. He lives on Kennebec Lake. Terry Kennedy is a retired educator. He is the Chair of the Kennebec Lake Property Owners Association. The views expressed in the above commentary are their own.)
Sydenham Women’s Institute kicked off the pre-Christmas shopping season last Saturday by filling Grace Hall with a wide and colourful array of handicrafts, home cooking and decorations. Sellers came from the whole area, from Battersea to Verona; there were hand-turned pens made from rare woods; cigar-box banjos; wooden serving ware with amazing burned patterns; local honey; paintings; a rainbow of knitted socks and mittens; soft pretty quilts, throws and pillows; handmade jewellery; a wide selection of books; Christmas decorations both funny and fancy; draw tickets on two huge gift baskets, coffee and snacks upstairs and lunch downstairs. And there was of course a bake table loaded with pies, breads and other goodies. The event had been well-advertised, and the turn-out was good.
Outdoor Furnace IssueNeighbours Mary Royer and Jim Varrette made presentations about their neighbour’s outdoor furnace, which Royer says has caused her ongoing health and comfort problems with its smoke. She uses an inhaler and sometimes a mask, cannot open her windows, and has had her indoor smoke alert set off. Varrette, who lives on the other side of the furnace, although aware of the smoke, says he’s upwind of it much of the time. Royer asked why Council couldn’t enforce its recent bylaw which forbids operation of an outdoor furnace which interferes with ‘any reasonable enjoyment of the environment.’ Mayor Vandewal called on Councillor McDougall, who said that he had talked numerous times with the furnace owner, and felt the man had tried hard to minimize emissions: “The furnace is small, very efficient, and he uses wood that’s dry, well-seasoned,” said McDougall, recommending that Council continue to monitor and assess the situation. Considerable discussion followed. Councillor Revill said they needed to set specific time limits on any expectation of improvement. Although all agreed that an objective assessment of the problem would need to be made, no one had a concrete suggestion of how to measure, on a 24-hour basis, the frequency and density of the emissions. It would also be necessary to be able to establish and then measure an unacceptable level of smoke. CAO Orr added that as long as the furnace owner was making serious efforts to improve the situation, it would be legally difficult to shut the furnace down. Council will seek further information and agreed to try to find a way to resolve the problem. Orr added that if something was deemed to be “a public nuisance,” there is a process to address it, but the process must be able to be seen as fair and transparent. Budget DelegationsAlthough Council had invited public delegations to address issues related to the township’s 2018 budget planning, only one delegate appeared: Jeff Peters read a letter from the chair of the Inverary Lake association, asking Council to grant them $15,000 toward the cost of preparing a lake assessment study of Inverary Lake. In reply to the letter’s reference to the Sydenham Lake Association’s study completed this year, Councillor Schjerning said that there had been no cost to the Township: the study had been heavily funding through the Source Water Protection program, because the lake is a reservoir for the Sydenham water system. CAO Orr confirmed that the Township has never given money to any of the local Lake Assessments. Mayor Vandewal added that the studies for Buck and 14 Island Lakes had cost $80.000 or more, and all the area lake studies done so far have shown a drop in phosphate levels. There was a brief informal exchange about the recent rise in algae growth in some area lakes. McFadden Subdivision Draft Plan ChangesPlanner Mills recommended two minor changes to a draft plan which has already been submitted to the County for approval. The subdivision proposal in question is located near Perth Road on McFadden Road, between Norway Road and the Cataraqui Trail. A recent letter from the CRCA has asked that no direct accesses be provided to the Trail, as there are already two access points reasonably nearby. (Councillor Sutherland said he felt this was an unfortunate request, for it meant residents would have to go by road to get on the trail.) However, a 1-foot reserve is to be placed along the rear portions of the two lots that abut the trail. Also, a provision for widening McFadden Road needs to be added, for the current roadway is only 9 metres wide at one point, instead of the required 20 metres. Accessibility PresentationJannette Amini presented the annual Accessibility Advisory Committee report from the County. Among South Frontenac’s accomplishments, she noted the accessible features incorporated into the upgrade of facilities at the Point Park, the Sydenham boat launch ramp and planned for the new Perth Road Fire Hall. Councillor McDougall thanked Amini for keeping the Frontenacs informed of accessibility requirements and encouraging councils and businesses to continue making their facilities more accessible to all. Cataraqui Trail VideoCouncil enjoyed a six-minute video produced by the CRCA about the Cat Trail from Sydenham to the Opinicon. It began with a great series of archival photos taken when the rail section near the Opinicon was first constructed, then moved into drone videos taken this September along the present-day trail. No Council Meeting Next Week ..but Saturday’s special budget meeting’s still on, beginning at 8 am! Orr asked Council’s permission to cancel the November 21 Council meeting, because there is nothing on the agenda. Councillor Revill’s suggestion that they could “get together for tea and cookies” had no takers.
The ever resourceful Grandmothers by the Lake have put together African Heart Beat to raise money to combat the HIV/AID pandemic in Africa. The evening will include a performance by Log house Rhythms, a West African drum group whose call and response style always engages audience. The other performers are more familiar to local audiences. They include the fabulous flute trio, Toute Ensemble, the Carpe Musica Septet, and pianist Noah Pederson. The finale will be memorable. A performance by the Kingston based, all women choir, Shout Sister. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the door, or at Memory Lane Flowers in Sydenham or Food Less Travelled in Verona. The show runs from 7pm-9pm on Saturday, November 18.
Jeff Peters was one of six members of the Inverary Lake Residents Association who spoke passionately of the need to protect a small shallow lake just south of the Round Lake Road, near Inverary. Their concern is focussed on an application by a Mr Beech, acting on behalf of a numbered company, to divide a 52.8 acre lot which runs from Round Lake Road to Inverary Lake. The severance would create a new 15 acre lot with house fronting on the road, and retain the vacant 37.8 acre parcel, which has 1,424 feet of shoreline, and a private access lane called Sweetfern Lane. Because of the steep nature of the land on the north side of the lake, there is s special requirement that any structure have a minimum 40 metre setback from the shoreline. The Lake Association members’ concern is that this severance would open the way for any future property owner to apply for three to five shoreline severances. Their argument is that the lake is already heavily loaded with phosphates and is borderline eutrophic (having an excess of nutrients with resultant heavy plant and algal growth leading to oxygen depletion). Or, as Peters put it, “It’s beautiful in the spring, but pea soup by midsummer.” Like the rest of the speakers, Peters referred to the Township’s Official Plan, which speaks of preserving the environmental quality and enhancing the rural nature of the Township. They listed several studies which address the extreme fragility of Inverary Lake, which is part of the Collins creek watershed area. Later in the meeting, when the question of approving Beech’s application was called, Councillor Revill said that although he could see the residents’ concerns, “Unfortunately we have an obligation to follow through.” (ie, nothing of the current application to sever off the top portion of the property is in any direct way threatening the lake or adding more than the potential for one additional residence.) Councillor Sutherland brought a motion to defer a decision so that the planner could address the residents’ questions and concerns. A recorded vote passed the motion to defer. (Barr, McDougal, Revill and Vandewal were opposed.) Appointment of Deputy Clerk Confirmed Applause followed Council’s appointment of Angela Maddocks to the position of Deputy Clerk. CAO Orr, in recommending the appointment, noted that Maddocks has been with the Township for many years, and is well qualified to expand her role and range of responsibilities. Lindsay Mills will continue in his existing role as Planner and Deputy Clerk for planning matters, and the job of Executive Assistant will remain vacant during the transition and will be assessed at a later time. Snow Removal Council approved Mark Segsworth’s recommendations for awarding snow removal contracts, except for Burridge and Bradshaw firehalls, which came in at much higher rates. They, along with the cemeteries, which have no budget allocation for 2018, will be cleared by Township staff, with the cemeteries being treated as a non-priority. Frontenac Arena It’s anticipated that the 41 year old Frontenac Arena floor will soon need replacement; probably by 2021, at an anticipated cost of between $700,000 and 1,000,000. South Frontenac is responsible for 59% of the arena Board’s levy: CAO Orr outlined several options Council could follow to prepare for the expense. These will be discussed on budget planning day. For now, Council passed a motion to commit to funding its share of the cost for the Arena floor when the time comes. In Brief: Percy Snider’s application to revise his site plan to include a further equipment shed on his Lambert Road property was approved. Allan & Partners LLP were appointed as Township auditors for the years 2018-2022. funds were reallocated from roadside maintenance, hardtop maintenance and signage to cover an overage of $99,637 for loose top maintenance. A five-year contract for provision of legal services was awarded to Cunningham Swan who have served the Township since 1998, and who continue to offer the least expensive services. Wayne Orr reported that the current building official has returned to Kingston, and Shawn Merriman of Central Frontenac was appointed to provide interim services. Appointments to the newly-formed Heritage Committee were announced. Brad Barbeau will be the Council representative, and community members are: Pat Barr, Linda Caird, Michael Gemmill, David Jeffries, Wilma Kenny and Mark Millar. Budget Day is Coming! Council has set aside Saturday November 18, beginning at 8:00 am (!) to chew its way through planning the 2018 budget. The meeting is open to the public, a unique way to spend your Saturday.
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.
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.
On the beautiful fall day of October 23rd, a bus load of residents travelled to Cloyne to visit the Land O’Lakes Petting Farm. Feeding and petting these friendly animals brought back lots of fond memories for these folks. They shared lots of laughs and stories of days gone by and seemed right in their element, getting up close and personal with these animals. The owners of the Farm were gracious hosts, taking the time to introduce us to each of the animals and sharing stories of their rescues. Before leaving, we enjoyed a picnic lunch, making the most of this warm and sunny day!