Members of the Hartington Community Association (HCA) were certainly off the Christmas list at the V...
One of the more popular events in the annual Frontenac Heritage Festival (Feb. 17 – 20 this year, th...
Levi Gray (38) was sentenced to six months jail time after pleading guilty to two charges of operati...
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.
Jack’s Jam is celebrating its 10th birthday Jan. 21 and as such, they’re planning a few extra features when the music begins again at 1 p.m. in Plevna’s Clar-Mill Hall. “Weather permitting, it’s going to be a special day,” said Karen Hermer, emcee and one of the organizers. “It will be in honour of Jack and Lois.” Jack’s Jam was the creation of Ardoch pickers Jack and Lois Weber, who started out inviting friends to their basement. Their inspiration was the musical evenings that used to happen at Ed’s Place, a local restaurant owned by Ed Schlievert. But the Webers’ basement soon filled up and the next thing they knew, they were at the hall, coming close to filling that up on many occasions and attracting musicians and audience members from as far away as Tweed. Eventually, the Webers turned operations over to the Clar-Mill volunteers, with Hermer and her husband Roger ensuring that the event would continue. The Hermers have been organizing things for the past five years. The Jam happens once a month excluding December, June, July and August. The Jams also featured a regular house band, The Over the Hill Gang (Hugh MacDonald, Vietta McInnes, Bob Deschamps, Roger Hermer and the late John Fraser) who will reunite and perform Jan. 21. There will also be a performance from the Land O’Lakes Country Cloggers as well as the current House Band (Lionel Grimard, Roger Hermer, Bill White, Vern Martyn, Bruce Pennington as well as Murray and Don White).“It will be a bit different but the format will still be the same,” Hermer said. “We’ll fit everybody who wants to play in but be sure to sign up early. “And of course we welcome dancers. It’s just like Dave Deacon says on his photograph - good music, good friends, good food.” And speaking of food, there will be the customary pot-luck dinner beginning at 5:30 pm. There’s no admission charge but there will also be the customary donations bucket.
All things being equal, Ron Higgins is planning to run for re-election as Mayor of North Frontenac in 2018. In an email early this week, Higgins said “When I took office as Mayor I said I would give myself 2 years to decide if I will run again or not." He added that he believes he has made a difference and with the support of his wfe Wendy is planning to seek a second and final term before retiring in earnest. He informed council of his intentions last Friday.
Vickie Leakey, a senior manager with KPMG professional services, appeared before Council to bring an update of the Asset Management Plan that the township has been developing and following over the last 5 years. She said that the township is in a much better position than most in the region and that this might account for some of the success the township has had in obtaining grants for much needed roadwork. The township devotes 2% of its levy to ratepayers to a reserve fund for the replacement of capital assets, which includes equipment and both paved and gravel roads. In her report, Leakey said that the township faces an issue of affordability when it looks at its capital needs because of its lower growth rate than the provincial average, 3.9% as opposed to 19.5%. Also, a high number of people in the township live on on fixed incomes, 39% derive all their income from pensions as opposed to the provincial average of 14%. “You also have a lot of roads per person in North Frontenac because of the size of the township and the sparse population. For North Frontenac, as for a lot of rural townships we look at, it’s all about the roads when it comes to asset management,” Leakey said. She also pointed out that North Frontenac is the only township she knows about that has done an inventory of gravel roads and entered them into their asset management plan. “That’s why when it comes time for the province to look at grant applications, they see that what is coming from North Frontenac has some data behind it, and that makes a difference. Your staff and council are to be commended for all your efforts,” she concluded. Floating dock on Canonto Lake sparks “principled” response from Good, InglisAn item that was easy to deal with at this time, but may be more contentious in the future revealed one of the fault lines among two members of Council. The Canonto Lake Association is proposing to build a floating dock to improve boat access to the trails network it has developed at the Palmerston Canonto Conservation Area. The association has $500 to invest and is willing to provide the labour, and is asking the township to kick in $2,500 for materials. Before deciding, council is referring the matter to the Mississippi Valley Consernation Authority (MVCA) the owner of the land that will be accessed and the agency that provides comments on construction projects on the water. However, if the dock is built it will become the property of the township, with all of the liability and potential future maintenance issues that flow from ownership of a public dock. “I support this in principle,” said Councillor John Inglis. “The association wants to improve access, they are taking initiative and we should support them.” “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it now, we are not in the dock business,” said Councillor Wayne Good. When it was pointed out that the township has assumed ownership of a number of docks in recent years, Good said “I am certainly aware of that and I opposed them all. We can’t afford to make everyone in the township pay for a dock that is serving a few people on one lake,” he said. The matter was referred to the MVCA and to the 2017 budget process as well. No grant from Trillium Canada 150 fundThe township has learned that it will not be receiving a $500,000 grant from the Trillium Foundation for the renovation of the township office building that is planned for next year. Nomination for regional leadership awardThe township has nominated Brenda Martin for one of the Canada 150 Regional leadership award for all of the work she has done for local causes, including her current work with the Clarendon and Miller archives. It is a long shot, however, since there will only be 5 winners named from the entire country. Money, money, moneyCouncil looked at mileage rates for members of council attending meetings within and outside of the township’s borders with the exception of meetings of Council. The current rate is 48 cents per kilometre, but based on the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) recommended rate for 2017, the township is raising it to 54 cents per kilometre. A motion was proposed by Mayor Higgins to set the rate at the CRA rate so it does not need to be debated each year. Councillor Inglis said he had prepared documentation, which he offered to share with council, which he said shows that the mileage rate is based on the assumption that the vehicle that is being driven is valued at $55,000. According to his calculations, over 35 cents out of a 54 cent per kilometre rate is to cover for the cost of replacing the current vehicle of the owner. “If we assume that the owner is driving a $20,000 car, the rate would be 30 cents,” he said. His was the only opposing vote on the motion to set the rate at the CRA rate. RemunerationAt Council’s, request, staff prepared a chart comparing the pay of the Mayor and members of Council in North Frontenac with similar sized municipalities. The pay in North Frontenac is higher than most. “It looks like we have the lowest population, and the highest pay,” said John Inglis. “It is hard to say, since some of the others pay a salary plus money for attending council and other meetings, which we don’t do.” The salary for the Mayor of North Frontenac was $22,424 this year, the Deputy Mayor received $18,745, and council members $15,066. The pay is similar to what politicians in Addington Highlands make, but double the salaries that are paid in Central Frontenac and Frontenac Islands.
Need one last opportunity to drive up the 509 before Christmas? The combined open houses at Mariclaro (located on Road 509 just north of the Mississippi Bridge) and Back Forty Cheese (located a few hundred metres down the Gully Road) feature fine handmade Christmas gift options. Mariclaro will be featuring its full line of bags, purses, clutches, wallets and more all made from top quality reclaimed materials, including many pieces from the Air Canada Collection, a line of handcrafted items made from re-purposed Air Canada seat covers that was very successful at the recent One of a Kind Craft Show in Toronto. Susie Osler, a ceramic artist who lives and works near Mablerly will also be showing at Mariclaro. She makes colourful vases and containers in unorthodox shapes, glazed in a very painterly way. She may also have some samples of a new project she has taken on this fall, one that she calls Objects for the hand and heart, unglazed clay objects that are, in the words of her wesbsite “made to be held and explored through touch and as objects of contemplation.” These items are all about curves and smooth surfaces, some resembling found objects such as animal bones or smooth rocks that can be found on old farm properties throughout the region. At Back Forty Cheese, Jeff Fenwick will have a selection of holiday sheeps milk cheeses for sampling and purchase as well Berkshire Pork and gift certificates. Jenna Rose, the textile studio of Jenna Fenwick, occupies the loft above the cheese factory. Jenna is also just back from the One of a Kind Show, and she will have a selection of work available, including her Etsy award nominated Weekender bags and newly introduced Journey Bag. She will also have hand printed pouches, tea towels, hand kerchiefs and more. Both studios will be open from 10-4 on Saturday, December 17th. For more information, contact Mariclaro at 613-278-1631 or Back Forty Artisan Cheese at 613-278-7011. Need one last opportunity to drive up the 509 before Christmas? The combined open houses at Mariclaro (located on Road 509 just north of the Mississippi Bridge) and Back Forty Cheese (located a few hundred metres down the Gully Road) feature fine handmade Christmas gift options. Mariclaro will be featuring its full line of bags, purses, clutches, wallets and more all made from top quality reclaimed materials, including many pieces from the Air Canada Collection, a line of handcrafted items made from re-purposed Air Canada seat covers that was very successful at the recent One of a Kind Craft Show in Toronto. Susie Osler, a ceramic artist who lives and works near Mablerly will also be showing at Mariclaro. She makes colourful vases and containers in unorthodox shapes, glazed in a very painterly way. She may also have some samples of a new project she has taken on this fall, one that she calls Objects for the hand and heart, unglazed clay objects that are, in the words of her wesbsite “made to be held and explored through touch and as objects of contemplation.” These items are all about curves and smooth surfaces, some resembling found objects such as animal bones or smooth rocks that can be found on old farm properties throughout the region. At Back Forty Cheese, Jeff Fenwick will have a selection of holiday sheeps milk cheeses for sampling and purchase as well Berkshire Pork and gift certificates. Jenna Rose, the textile studio of Jenna Fenwick, occupies the loft above the cheese factory. Jenna is also just back from the One of a Kind Show, and she will have a selection of work available, including her Etsy award nominated Weekender bags and newly introduced Journey Bag. She will also have hand printed pouches, tea towels, hand kerchiefs and more. Both studios will be open from 10-4 on Saturday, December 17th. For more information, contact Mariclaro at 613-278-1631 or Back Forty Artisan Cheese at 613-278-7011.
Martin Webster is having trouble focusing these days. He has lived at the Cooke family cottage on Sharbot Lake, off Gordon Crescent, since 1997, next to the house where his mother Deanna lives with his step-father Ronnie Cooke. Now he is fortunate to be able to take refuge with them, but his home of nearly 20 years has been reduced to ashes. He had been doing work on the inside of the building, and was almost done save for dry-walling his bedroom, when a short circuit in an extension cord sent out a spark that caught the house on fire on January 5th. He shared an account of what happened that day with the News. “I was in the house at the time, doing some gaming on a PS3 player, when my pet red squirrel started chirping frantically. I opened the bedroom door to see that the plastic vapour barrier I had put up in preparation for new drywall had caught fire and smoke was pouring out. The flames had already climbed the walls and were spreading on the ceiling. I ran to get a hose to try and put the flames out but when I got back I realised it was too late. I grabbed one of my guitars on the way out of the house. The fire department arrived but there was no saving the house. Fortunately they managed to prevent the fire from spreading to my mother’s house,” he said. The house is a total loss. It left Martin devoid of his home and all his possessions save for the guitar and some papers. “I pretty well lost everything else,” he said this week, “it’s a hard thing to get my head around. I’m sitting in my mother’s living room and I say ‘I guess I’ll go home now, and then I realise my home is gone.” He has had help from The Treasure Trunk and the Sharbot Lake Pharmasave. The extended Cooke family has deep roots in Sharbot Lake, and has provided support for Martin, but he is still struggling to cope with the loss. The property where the cottage was located is the site of the original Cooke family home, and where 9 children were raised by Samuel and Mildred Cooke. It sat on a hill overlooking the K&P Trail and Sharbot Lake. Martin Webster can be reached at 613-279-3261. (Editors note – The fire took place on January 5th, but we missed out on coverage last week. We apologize for the omission)
One of the more popular events in the annual Frontenac Heritage Festival (Feb. 17 – 20 this year, the Festival’s 11th year) has been the Polar Plunge. You know, it’s the event where brave souls jump into Sharbot Lake down at the marina to raise funds for local organizations and charities. Individuals have their own motivations for participating in what some call lunacy, be it altruism, a lost bet, or even a candidate for a federal government seat. This year, Ray Fletcher will be completing his 73rd trip around the sun (“I’m turning 74 for the arithmetically challenged”) and contemplated taking the plunge himself. Originally, his musings were more of a quixotic notion, with the caveat that pledges (which would go to Connections: Adult Learning and Community Living) would have to reach $3,000 before he’d get wet. But, the best laid plans and all that . . . Fletcher was recently named President of the Board of Directors of Connections: Adult Learning in Sharbot Lake and now feels somewhat more obligated to immerse himself in frigid water. “As president, fundraising is something I’m somewhat responsible for,” he said. Fletcher maintains that the $3,000 goal is still in effect, but he’s sounding more and more like it’s a go. “I plan to wear my 150th Anniversary shirt,” he said. “But it’s just going to be an in-and-out job. “I’ll be coming out of that water like a Polaris missile launched from a submarine (and) I poor pity anybody’s grandmother who gets in the way of me and the heater.” He’s even made up a little poem for inspiration: “Here I stand, about to leap“I know I’d rather be asleep“If I should die in this frigid lake“I’ll see you at my friggin’ wake.” Actually, he’s not all that worried. When he ran into a doctor friend who suggested that the shock of jumping into a frozen lake might not be the best thing for his heart, Fletcher replied: “heart attack? My heart is the only part of me that’s untainted.” The Polar Plunge (then called the Polar Bear Plunge) first became part of the Festival in 2011. It’s been canceled and rescheduled because of brutal cold but to date, there have been no incidents. The Central Frontenac Fire Department is in the water to assist plungers and there is medical help available on site. The Plunge is set for Feb. 19 this year at the Sharbot Lake Marina on Cannon Road, weather permitting.
Levi Gray (38) was sentenced to six months jail time after pleading guilty to two charges of operating a vehicle while under a disqualification order. He served 60 days on similar charges on two previous occasions, and that is why the Crown was seeking 6 to 9 months of jail time, and his own lawyer asked for 6 months. Judge Griffin told Gray that if he is ever arrested on a drive while disqualified charge again he could be looking at a further bump in the sentence, and will perhaps end up in a federal penitentiary. He would have received a further one year disqualification as a result of this latest conviction but as the judge pointed out he already has a lifetime ban on driving in Ontario. Ongoing Nicholas Holmes, 41, is facing 6 driving related charges, including a charge of driving while impaired by alcohol and driving with blood alcohol over 80 mg/100 ml of blood. He has applied for legal aide and acceptance is pending. He will return to court on February 13 with a lawyer. Allison Potter, 39, is facing a charge of production of marijuana, a charge of possession of an illegal substance, and un-authorised possession of a firearms charge. The Crown is contemplating seeking a custodial sentence (jail time) and therefore she is likely to be eligible for Legal Aide, and she is waiting to hear if her application is approved. She will return on February 13th. A warrant with discretion was issued in December when she did not show up for a court appearance, and that warrant was struck down by Judge Griffin because she was in court this week. Dylan Vinkle, 19, is charged with sexual assault. He has received legal aide and his lawyer is seeking a disclosure package from the Crown. He will return to court on February 13th. There is a publication ban in place prohibiting the publishing of any details pertaining to identifying the alleged victim in this case. Youth matters A charge of fail or refuse to co-operate with authorities charge against a 16 year old male has been dropped as he faces more serious charges in the Ottawa/Pembroke region.
After a whopping 68 years with the Oso/Central Frontenac Fire Department, Keith Hawley has hung up the bunker gear. “I didn’t like him going out at night any more,” said Irene, his wife of 37 years. Hawley, 87, is the last surviving member of the original department, formed officially in 1950. “There were 13 or 14 of us,” he said. “In ’49, there was a fire at Keirstead’s store and that sort of brought the need for a fire department to a head. “We had a meeting after that, and then another meeting in 1950 when we formed the department.” That first department was high on enthusiasm but low on equipment, he said. “Jack Simonett had a ’48 army truck that we used to haul around a two-wheel pump in the back of it,” Hawley said. “George Allen, who sold the store to the Keirsteads, had been a fire chief in Toronto but didn’t want to be one any more so Joe Harris became the first chief. “George, however, did train the rest of us and told us what to do.” Harris drove transport in those days and so shortly after, Verdon Morrow took over as chief. Understandably, Hawley can’t really remember how many chiefs he’s served under but a couple of names came to mind. “Percy Lake and Bill Warren were both chiefs for quite awhile he said. “And Joel Snell.” In 1959, Hawley and four other firefighters decided they really needed a pumper. “We didn’t have the money, so the five of us went to the Royal Bank in Perth to borrow $1,000 each,” he said. “The Royal Bank didn’t want to give us the money so we went to another bank. “The fellow at the other bank got on the phone to the Royal and after lunch, we had our loans. “The Township told us if we could get the pumper, they’d build us a fire hall, which they did, but they didn’t give us any money for the pumper.” Hawley has served as secretary for the fire department for many years, including right up until his retirement. He seems uncomfortable with accolades and titles, despite having been a captain (“it’s just a name really”) and having been honoured by the Fire Marshall’s office with medals for 25, 50 and 60 years service (just shrugs). “There was a need, so we filled it,” he said. “Bob England and I were on the resuscitator for many years.”He remembers many events, such as going as far as Ompah to fight fires in the early days, and said the biggest fire was probably when the Sharbot Lake Hotel burned down in the late ’70s. Despite the inherent danger in the job, he said he was never scared. “There were times I was a little worried,” he said. The biggest difference he noticed over the years was the compensation a ‘volunteer’ firefighter gets. “At first, we didn’t get paid at all,” he said. “Then Natural Resources gave us $2 an hour for fighting forest fires. “A little bit later, the Township gave us $5 per fire. “Now, they get paid for going to meetings.” Hawley, an electrician by trade, said he “got along with everybody” and “never used the siren.” “Keith was a leader,” Irene said. “He wouldn’t wait for someone else to do it.’ “I enjoyed it,” he said. Keith and Irene are now turning their attention to writing a book on the history of the Oso Fire Department.
Members of the Hartington Community Association (HCA) were certainly off the Christmas list at the Vandewal and McDougall households this year. Eric Gillespie, a lawyer representing them, sent a letter to Frontenac County and South Frontenac on December 6. The letter pointed out that the two men attend meetings of both Frontenac County and South Frontenac Councils, and says that the two bodies do not have “common interests” in the matter of a proposed subdivision in Hartington that the HCA opposes. This lack of “common interest” Gillespie is referring to comes from the fact that South Frontenac Council passed a motion on August 23rd expressing their opposition to the proposed subdivision, and on the very next day Frontenac County Council ignored that recommendation and approved the subdivision. Vandewal and McDougall supported the subdivision at South Frontenac Council (by voting against the motion that opposed it) and they both voted in favour of the approving the subdivision when it came to Frontenac County on August 24. As the result of this, and the fact that issues surrounding the subdivision were discussed at an in camera meeting of South Frontenac Council, Gillespie claimed in his letter that there is a “reasonable perception and apprehension” of breaches of confidentiality, solicitor client privilege, and common interest privilege on the part of the two men. It asks that the two men recuse themselves from any further meetings or communications regarding the matter. Gillespie’s claim, on behalf of the HCA, is partly based on the possibility that in camera communication and legal advice they would have heard as members of South Frontenac Council could have been used by Vandewal and McDougal to advise their colleagues at in camera meetings of Frontenac County Council. (Note – In Camera meetings are held in private, outside of public scrutiny, by municipal councils under a set of circumstances that are prescribed by the Municipal Act of Ontario. Minutes from those meetings are not released to the public.) In response to the letter, Frontenac County sought legal advice from the firm of Templeman Menninga. A letter from Wayne Fairbrother and Samantha Foster of the firm poked some holes in Gillespie’s claim. The first point they made had to do with in camera meetings. In the words of the letter: “In particular, the letter of December 6, 2016 alleges that in camera meetings were held by the county with respect to the Hartington Application. You have advised that, in fact, there have been no in camera meetings with respect to the Hartington Application. In our view, this fact completely removes the foundation for Mr. Gillespie’s allegations.” The letter then goes on to deal with the concept of conflict of interest in this kind of case, concluding that in cases where members of council do not have a personal financial interest in a project it is difficult to argue they have a conflict of interest, citing case law to support that position. The letter concludes that “in our opinion there is no legal basis for requiring council members of lower-tier municipalities who sit on upper-tier municipalities to refrain from participating in discussions on the Hartington Application at both levels of government.” The entire matter of the Hartington subdivision will be dealt with at a hearing of the Ontario Municipal Board scheduled for this spring.
South Frontenac Council opted for a 2 per cent tax increase for 2017, in passing the 2017 budget at its regular meeting Tuesday night in Sydenham. The vote was 4-3 with Mayor Ron Vandewal, and Coun. John McDougall, Alan Revill and Ross Sutherland voting in favour (Dep. Mayor Norm Roberts was absent because of two deaths in the family). Treasurer Louise Fragnito presented Council with four options. The one they chose accommodated the Mayor’s request that any increase be limited to 2 per cent. This option also did away with the $120 solid waste charge, which was rolled into the levy. CAO/Clerk Wayne Orr said that residents will continue to receive 50 bag tags per residence. However, owners of property without buildings on them will not receive bag tags for those properties. “Anyone who received bag tags before will continue to receive them,” he said. Fragnito said in order to get to 2 per cent (the previously voted down budget featured a 2.2 per cent increase) an adjustment of $37,822 would be required and this was achieved by reducing the Working Funds transfer to $9,220 from $47,042. The 2 per cent increase represents an increase of $29.37 for the average taxpayer, she said. Vandewal was pleased with the result, despite several councilors and one delegation urging retention of the solid waste tax line. “I wanted to keep the increase to 2 per cent,” Vandewal said. “I don’t think this change to garbage fees will affect anybody’s recycling habits.” Coun. Pat Barr and Ron Sleeth, who both voted against the budget, said they wanted to take a longer look at the solid waste fee in light of expected new provincial legislation. “$120 might not be the right number,” said Sleeth. Brad Barbeau named to vacant Council seatSouth Frontenac Council named Harrowsmith’s Brad Barbeau, who came in third in the last election in Portland District, to take the Council seat left vacant when Bill Robinson died late last year. In nominating Barbeau, Coun. John McDougall noted that Barbeau still received a sizable number of votes, 793 (Robinson got 872) and is well known in the community, including being the organist at St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Sydenham. Barbeau is currently assistant director of IT operations at the Queen’s University School of Business. In response to a question from the gallery citing a rumour floating around Harrowsmith that Barbeau had already been offered the position, CAO/Clerk Wayne Orr said that Barbeau had only been asked if he would be available should Council opt for that option. “Coun. McDougall was told specifically not to talk to him (Barbeau) about it,” said Mayor Ron Vandewal. A municipal council has several options when replacing a council member including naming the candidate with the next most votes, naming a former politician or prominent community member, soliciting nominations from the public or holding a bi-election. When Mark Tinlin resigned during the previous Council, Pat Barr, who came in third in the previous election, was asked to take the seat. Paperless ElectionCouncil voted to go completely paperless for the 2018 election, opting for telephone and/or internet voting only. Council immediately started making suggestions as to how things should go, such as traveling remote voting stations and such. However, CAO/Clerk Wayne Orr had to remind them that while Council decides what kind of voting procedures will take place, under the Elections Act, the Clerk is the one who must decide the actual operations of the vote. “This is to distance the politics from it, but I will take your suggestions under advisement,” Orr said, with the slightest of grins. Pricey SaltAs the meeting was coming to a close, Mayor Ron Vandewal lamented the fact that there was still more freezing rain in the forecast. “We’ve already spent $100,000 on salt so far this year,” he said.
MPP Randy Hiller (L) and Shawn Morrison (R from the office of MP Scott Reid, each presenting $650 cheques to David Townsend of the Southern Frontenac Community Services Food Bank on December 22. Hillier raises money from the community each year by selling turkey’s of $100 each. They then buy turkeys at a lower price, this year from Trousdale’s Foodland in Sydenham, and put the profits into a fund. Some community members even donate the $100 and don’t take a turkey. Hillier’s office raised $650 this year, and Scott Reid has matched that donation. “Each year we donate the money somewhere in the Riding,” Hillier said, “last year it was Napanee and this year we came here to the Southern Frontenac Community Services Food Bank. “The money really helps,” said David Townsend, “because in addition to the mountains of food that people donate each year, we need between thirty and thirty five thousand dollars to buy meat and eggs and fresh vegetables to fill our needs. Townsend showed Hillier and Morrison around the brand new Food bank space in a converted portable at the Grace Centre on Stagecoach Road, where SFCS has just consolidated all of its services and administrative offices. “We just received our occupancy permit for this space this week,” Townsend said, “and the Food Bank has 1/3 more space than it had when it was located at our former office on George Street. The savings we will realize as an agency from not paying rent will all go into services.”
The Bellrock Community Hall Association raised funds for new washrooms, a new front entrance and a walkway to the Bellrock Community Hall, all of which were completed in accordance with the building standards for accessibility. The hall can now accommodate everyone wishing to attend the very active community programs, most of which are attended by seniors.
By the time Richard Allen was introduced as the new Manager of Economic Development at the December Meeting of Frontenac County Council, the news of his hiring was already out. Members of the county Community Development Advisory Committee (CDAC) had already been informed of the hiring. As well, Allen had made a splash the day before by walking into Kingston City Hall and announcing two years into his mandate as a member of City Council that he was resigning his council seat in order to take on the job for Frontenac County. He said later that one of the attractions of the job were the regular hours. The job fits the stage of life he has reached, as he has recently become a father for the first time and serving as a city councilor meant missing most evenings at home during the week. “With this job I will be home at least some evenings during the week,” he said. He is not home evenings this week, however. One of the first decisions that was made at the senior staff level at the county after he was hired was to use much of the 2017 Economic Development travel budget on a single trip. Allan is joining his colleagues from the Kingston (including Mayor Bryan Patterson) and the Ontario Ministry of Food and Agriculture (OMAFRA) on a 10 day trip to China. They are visiting the headquarters of Feihe International Inc, which recently announced plans to build a $225 million processing, research and development facility in Kingston. Feihe International will be producing baby formula at the new facility, mostly for the Chinese market, and at the start they will be making use of excess skim milk from the existing Ontario dairy industry. In the future, however, Feihe has plans to make formula out of goat's milk, and projects a need for 75 million litres of goat milk per year from Eastern Ontario in the coming years. While there will be an impact on the job market in Frontenac County from the 200 jobs that will be created when the factory opens, the greater potential impact is on local and regional agriculture. “For the county to be aware of those opportunities it is important to be involved right from the beginning,” Vandewal said. “With our history in agriculture and proximity to Kingston we are well positioned to be part of the supply chain, for new companies to settle here and existing ones to adjust or expand,” said Frontenac County Warden Ron Vandewal. Before leaving for China on the ten day trip last Sunday (January 8) Allen pointed out that the scale of the market in China is beyond anything we are used to in Eastern Ontario. “There are 35 million babies born each year in China, that's where you see numbers like 72 million litres of annual goat milk production, come from. In terms of agriculture in Eastern Ontario, that would require over a hundred large farms, Allen said. “Then there are other agricultural infrastructure issues, such as shipping and distribution, the entire supply chain. It is a large project.” The trip runs for ten days, and while Frontenac County is paying for Allen's flight and accommodations, many of the other costs are being covered by Feihe. Who is Richard AllenRichard Allen has a short commute to work each day, since he lives in rural Kingston on his family farm that is located across the road from the Frontenac County offices. He also has a family cottage on Bob's Lake on the Central Frontenac side. After graduating from High School in Kingston he went to Concordia University where he did a degree in Fine Arts, and he eventually worked for Katimavik, which was a national program for youth and young adults. He was a Director at KEDCO (Kingston Economic Development Corporation) and worked in the Community Solutions Lab at the Queen’s University Smith School of business. He was elected to council from Countryside Ward in 2014. “I’m a big fan of doing work that benefits the community, and the direction the county seems to be going is working with the communities to grow existing businesses, and to complement them with new businesses, rather than the smoke stack chasing economic development in more urban locations. We are looking for companies that compliment what we have,” he said. He said that his work is set out in the economic development charter that Frontenac County adopted a couple of years ago and in the new branding initiative that was developed last year. “I am familiar with much of the county, aside from Frontenac Islands, where I will be visiting when I get back from China,” he said, “but taking this job is not a stepping stone to something else for me. It is a continuation of my commitment to rural community development where I live.” One of the tasks that dominated the agenda for Allan’s predecessor, Anne Marie Young, will not be as much a part of his responsibilities. The purchase of lands or easements for the Tichborne to Sharbot Lake section of the K&P Trail, and the final build out of the trail, will be handled by County Chief Administrative Officer Kelly Pender. “The management of the trail and marketing, signage, etc will be part of the responsibilities of our department, but the trail will not be as central to my job as it was before,” he said.
It was a goal that fit nicely into a narrative. The K&P trail linking the Trans Canada Trail segments between Sharbot Lake and the Cataraqui Trail to ensure Frontenac County is part of the national trail network was to be complete by Canada Day 2017. A photo-op at the Trail head located at the exact location where the funeral car carrying Canada’s first prime minister switched onto the K&P line, for its trip to his adopted home town of Kingston as thousands looked on, would be the centre-piece of Canada Day celebrations in Frontenac County. It’s not going to happen. The complicated final 12 kilometres of trail, which are located on lands that were sold off to the owners of abutting lands before the rest of the trail was sold to Frontenac County, have proven to be slow to acquire, as agreements need to be reached with each landowner. Only then can a contract for building the trail even be negotiated. At their final meeting of 2016 in late December, Frontenac County Council accepted the bid by Crains’ Construction to build “approximately 4 km of the 12km remaining to be completed by the end of 2017” in the words of a staff report to Council. The bid price was $137,593 plus hst and Crains’ also agreed to honour the same unit pricing for one year should more trail be freed up for development as agreement with landowners are reached. Their bid was the lowest of 7 that came in, the second lowest was $195,200 from the Cruikshank Group. At this time, 42 kilometres of trail, between Orser Road and the rail crossing in Tichborne have been completed. Work has begun in the City of Kingston to complete the Kingston portion of trail so it will run all the way to Lake Ontario.Funding for the final section of the trail is coming from a Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program and the Investing Ontario Fund, which has made just under $500,000 available for the project. Frontenac County Council members from Frontenac Islands and North Frontenac were able to secure special funding from the county for recreational infrastructure within their borders when the K&P Trail was first being developed. The trail is only located in South and Central Frontenac and county gas tax rebates were being used for its construction. That money is all gone, as those rebates are going directly to the local townships, and funding the K&P Trail has come mostly from grants. At the December meeting, Councilor John Inglis made a request to county staff for an accounting of all the money spent on the trail since the proposal to purchase and construct it was approved in 2009. There is no set completion date for the trail.
On Monday Richard Allen, the councillor for Countryside Ward of the City of Kingston, marched into City Hall and informed his colleagues that he was resigning effective immediately. The next day he reported for work as Economic Development Officer to the administrative offices of Frontenac County, which are located across the road from his home near Glenburnie. Before running for Council in Kingston, Allen served as a Director for the Kingston Economic Development Corporation (KEDCO) He has worked at the Queen’s University Smith School of Business, and earlier as a project co-ordinator with Katimavik. He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Concordia University in Montreal. As a member of Kingston City Council, he showed an interest in Frontenac County and was the only member of City Council who attended the Frontenac County Warden’s dinner in November. Allen replaces Anne Marie Young, who retired last Friday after 8 years as Economic Development Officer with the County.
The Community Foundation for Kingston & Area (CFKA) granted $189,363 to regional charities for 24 innovative projects to enhance the quality of life in Kingston and Frontenac County on Wednesday (December 14). Gayle Barr, the Community Grants Committee Chair, pointed out that the grants range from smaller, practical grants with immediate benefits to the community, to larger program grants aimed at changing how we think, such as a $25,328 grant for Youth Diversion’s Addiction Literacy Program. The grants include a number that will directly benefit residents of Frontenac County. Among these are two grants to the Grace Centre in Sydenham, the home base of Southern Frontenac Community Services (SFCS). One of these is the Good Graces Cafe start up, an $8,110 grant to start up a new cafe at the Grace Centre. “The café is a social enterprise pilot project to create a safe space for seniors – particularly those who are lonely or feel isolated in the community – to socialize with others. It is also a place for seniors and high school youth to volunteer together, to stay active in their community and build inter-generational connectedness,” said the citation from CFKA. A second grant of $7,826 will go towards helping SFCS develop its newly expanded property to include a large garden to produce fresh vegetables for its food bank and meals on wheels programs. Some of the money will also go towards accessible pathway for seniors in the SFCS Adult Day Program. The Northern Frontenac Community Services (NFCS) Youth Program has received a grant of $5,560 for a program called “From Gaming to Games”. It is a 16 week program that will enhance the activities offered for youth in South, Central and North Frontenac with help from a YMCA Y-GAP Outreach worker. It is designed to engage youth in fun, physical activities while providing messages to encourage youth from developing habits that could lead to addictions to electronic games on phones, tablets, and computers. A variety of activities, including lacrosse, snow shoeing and other sports will be used to entice youth to switch from electronic gaming to physically playing games. The County of Frontenac has also received a grant of $7,400 to be used fo residents of the Fairmount Home Long Term Care Facility. ‘History Through Expression” is an integrated arts program marking Canada’s 150th year. Residents of the home will be “engaged in self-expression by making hand drums, being educated in aboriginal culture, storytelling, having fun with theatre games, mime and props, learning seated dances and joining in song.” Other grants have gone to Kingston based agencies that provide programming in Frontenac County as well. These include a $25,328 grant to Youth Diversion for an addiction literacy, an early intervention program to be delivered by youth addictions counsellors focusing on “building resiliency and increasing the capacity for students to understand the impact of drugs and alcohol.” Other Kingston based include a Youth Diversity conference to be put on by the Kingston Community Health Centres next year (3,049), and a grant to the Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre at Queen’s of $16,879 which is aimed at promoting civic engagement for indigenous youth with the long term goal of establishing a regional Indigenous Youth Council. The charities that received funding gathered for a celebration at the Senior’s Centre in Kingston. The Community Foundation for Kingston & Area was founded in 1995. IT manages $16.5 million in assets and has distributed nearly $10 million over the last 21 years.
Two students from North Addington Eduation Centre, Emma Fuller and Cassidy Wilson are taking an online course in environmental resource management this semester. Part of their course work includes setting up and executing an event or program. One of them, Emma Fuller, is an avid birder and came up with the idea of organizing a Christmas Bird Count (CBC) in the local area to tie in to the Audobon Societies 117th annual Christmas Bird Count. Last year 471 bird counts were done in Canada, and over 1,900 in the United States and another 132 in Latin America. The counts are done in circles with a diameter of 24 kilometres. The NAEC sponsored count will be centered in Bon Echo Park and will take place next Monday (December 19th) . Fuller and Wilson as well as their sponsoring teacher Beth Hasler will be aided by a Biology class, whose students will spend the day in the park identifying bird species with the help of Bird Guides that they will be carrying. Residents from the region and beyond who are interested in surveying any area within the circle, which extends to Skootamatta and Mazinaw lakes and all points within a 12 kilometre distance from the Centre of Bon Echo Park, are encouraged to call NAEC at 613-336-8991 to coordinate with the student run count. All information that is gathered will be entered into the online reporting tool that the Audobon Society has developed. For Emma Fuller, who comes from Denbigh, the CBC fits with her growing interest in bird watching, a hobby she shares with her father, and which has brought them to far flung locations over the past year, including a trip to Presqu’ile Park, a migration hot spot on Lake Ontario near Brighton. They have also taken several trips to Wolfe Island and Amherst Island, where they have seen 36 snowy owls, bald eagles, and 5 species of hawk as well. “The goal of the count is not only to identify birds and help build the Audobon database, but also to broaden people’s knowledge about things you can do in outdoors,” said Fuller, who intends to apply to the biology department at Trent University this winter, hoping to eventually specialize in ornithology.
Charges have been laid following the investigation into a single vehicle collision involving a bus that occurred on October 14, 2016 at 9:57 a.m. Officers with the Kaladar, Renfrew and Killaloe detachments of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) responded to a report of a bus in the ditch on Highway 28 just east of Highway 41 in Denbigh, Township of Addington Highlands. Approximately fifty seniors were on board the bus. Many suffered minor injuries. The driver of the bus, 67 year-old Robert BELL of Stone Mills Township, has been charged with Careless Driving contrary to the Highway Traffic Act.
Fire Chief Casey Cuddy gave an explanation on the current well situation at Northbrook Fire Hall to Council on Monday. A well was dug at the fire hall site after a drilled well was recently put in but turned out to be contaminated. Neither of the wells provide sufficient water to the hall because of contamination issues. “We knew it was a crapshoot but it could've saved us a lot of headaches,” Cuddy said. “The (dug) well has already been decommissioned.” Cuddy isn't sure yet what the expenses are going to be for the well but the company that installed the dug well was able to salvage a lot of material out of the project which will help cut down the overall cost.Chief Cuddy offered a couple different options and will be pricing them out and bringing them to Council before moving forward. The first option is a backwash drainage system that would cost around $17,000 but would create an excess waste water problem. Cuddy wasn't entirely sure the MOE would accept such a system at the fire hall. The other option is to put in a cistern and have water brought in to fill it. They would then also need to install a U.V. System. Cuddy suggested possibly building a small shed beside the building to house the water tank. More Mail For Hydro One Addington Highlands Council supported two different letters that they received regarding equalizing Hydro One's pricing structure for delivery charges between rural and urban customers. The letters, addressed to Kathleen Wynne, from Tay Valley Township and the Municipality of Greenstone, were requesting that the Provincial government “re-evaluate the structure of hydro in terms of access to delivery and implement structural changes to address the unfair practice of charging more for deliver to rural residents.” “I think urban and rural customers should be charged the same delivery charges,” Councillor Helen Yanch said to Council. Waste Sites To Close Early On Xmas EveCouncil made a decision to close the waste sites located in Kaladar, Vennachar, and Hartsmere early on Christmas Eve. Those three locations will be closing at noon on December 24th instead of the usual closing time. Denbigh Dump Expansion Delayed Yet AgainThe Township received news from the Ministry of Environment (MOE) in early November that the file on their request for an expansion of the Denbigh waste site has been closed.The letter stated “the Ministry understands that the Township is undertaking corrective remedial actions to correct the issues, however, ministry procedures are to close application files for capacity expansions that are not in compliance.” The letter also states that the Township can submit again once they've addressed the non-compliance issue.“It's been 10 years now,” Reeve Hogg said. “Every time they change the rules we comply. The rules change faster than we can catch them” Council made a decision to write the MOE to get more clarity on timelines and their specific compliance issues. More Mail For Hydro One Addington Highlands Council supported two different letters that they received regarding equalizing Hydro One's pricing structure for delivery charges between rural and urban customers. The letters, addressed to Kathleen Wynne, from Tay Valley Township and the Municipality of Greenstone, were requesting that the Provincial government “re-evaluate the structure of hydro in terms of access to delivery and implement structural changes to address the unfair practice of charging more for deliver to rural residents.” “I think urban and rural customers should be charged the same delivery charges,” Councillor Helen Yanch said to Council. Waste Sites To Close Early On Xmas Eve Council made a decision to close the waste sites located in Kaladar, Vennachar, and Hartsmere early on Christmas Eve. Those three locations will be closing at noon on December 24th instead of the usual closing time. Denbigh Dump Expansion Delayed Yet Again The Township received news from the Ministry of Environment (MOE) in early November that the file on their request for an expansion of the Denbigh waste site has been closed. The letter stated “the Ministry understands that the Township is undertaking corrective remedial actions to correct the issues, however, ministry procedures are to close application files for capacity expansions that are not in compliance.” The letter also states that the Township can submit again once they've addressed the non-compliance issue. “It's been 10 years now,” Reeve Hogg said. “Every time they change the rules we comply. The rules change faster than we can catch them” Council made a decision to write the MOE to get more clarity on timelines and their specific compliance issues. Second Well At Northbrook Fire Hall Also Contaminated Fire Chief Casey Cuddy gave an explanation on the current well situation at Northbrook Fire Hall to Council on Monday. A well was dug at the fire hall site after a drilled well was recently put in but turned out to be contaminated. Neither of the wells provide sufficient water to the hall because of contamination issues. “We knew it was a crapshoot but it could've saved us a lot of headaches,” Cuddy said. “The (dug) well has already been decommissioned.” Cuddy isn't sure yet what the expenses are going to be for the well but the company that installed the dug well was able to salvage a lot of material out of the project which will help cut down the overall cost. Chief Cuddy offered a couple different options and will be pricing them out and bringing them to Council before moving forward. The first option is a backwash drainage system that would cost around $17,000 but would create an excess waste water problem. Cuddy wasn't entirely sure the MOE would accept such a system at the fire hall. The other option is to put in a cistern and have water brought in to fill it. They would then also need to install a U.V. System. Cuddy suggested possibly building a small shed beside the building to house the water tank.
On Sunday, December 4th, 2016 at 5:10 pm officers with the Kaladar detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) responded to a fatal motor vehicle collision on Highway 7. A tractor- trailer travelling westbound on Highway 7 and a Subaru Forester travelling eastbound collided head-on approximately 2 km west of Highway 41 near Kaladar. OPP Technical Traffic Collision Investigators attended the scene to assist with determining the cause of the collision. Preliminary investigation determined that the Subaru crossed into the path of the tractor trailer for an unknown reason. The driver of the Subaru, 70 year-old Brian WARD and his passenger, 67 year-old Mary WARD, both of Ottawa were pronounced deceased at the scene. The driver of the tractor-trailer, a 59 year-old Ottawa man, was transported to hospital for minor injuries.A post-mortem examination is being conducted on the deceased driver today.