“This is food I grew up with,” said local farmer, Ernie Sands of Sands Produce from Battersea, in re...
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.
North Frontenac Official Plan Planner Joe Gallivan appeared before North Frontenac Council last week in preparation for submitting a draft revised township Official Plan in November. Gallivan is the Manager of Planning for Frontenac County and was the author of the Frontenac County Official Plan, which forms the backdrop for the township plan. He told council about a number of details he is planning to include in the plan when he submits it to the township next month. One of them was a proposal to remove the “hamlet” designation for a number of former communities in the township that no longer exist. “There are restrictions in hamlets that do not apply in a rural zone, and there is no reason for those restrictions in places such as Donaldson, Canonto or Wilbur,” he said. The township currently has 13 hamlets designated in its Official Plan (Myers Cave, Harlowe, Plevna, Fernleigh, Ardoch, Coxvale, Ompah, Snow Road Station, Mississippi Station, Robertsville, Canonto, Donaldson, Wilbur, Cloyne) The more contentious issue raised by Gallivan had to do with setting out minimum lot size and minimum frontages for new waterfront lots. Back in September, Reid Shepherd, appearing for Gallivan, talked to Council about whether minimum lot sizes and frontages should be included in Official Plans at all. The opinion of Council at the time was that all of the detail should stay out of the Official Plan, which is more of a background document, and should be included only in the comprehensive zoning bylaw, which will be worked on as soon as the work is done on the Official Plan. Gallivan said that “the plan should set a general standard then provide the tools to give the flexibility to realize that every waterfront lot is different.” Gallivan's recommendation is that the Official Plan include a general minimum lot size of “2 acres (0.8 hectares) and include no absolute number for water frontage.” He said that in addition to that wording he will include clear language on the issues that need to be considered when lots are being created on the water, such as setbacks, septic system placement, vegetative buffers, etc. Mayor Higgins was sceptical. “To me, that only needs to be in the zoning bylaw” he said. “My opinion is that your lakes are so important that you need something on a policy level that sets out the over-riding direction in terms of development,” Gallivan said. “By putting it in the Official Plan, we are putting the onus on the developer to change the Official Plan,” said Councilor Denis Bedard. “The language will be clear and it will not require an Official Plan amendment to create a lot. You will see what I mean when I present the document in a couple of weeks,” said Gallivan. “Do other townships have minimum lot sizes in their OPs?” asked Councilor John Inglis. “Yes, they have hard numbers,” said Gallivan. In fact, both Central and South Frontenac, along with a number of other townships, have a minimum lot size of 1 hectare and 300 feet of shoreline. Gallivan said that his contention is that those numbers do not need to be included in North Frontenac's Official Plan as they are not called for in the Provincial Policy Statement, the root document for all planning matters in Ontario. Gallivan said he would have the plan to the township in a few weeks, in time for it to be considered by Council on November 25 and presented to a public open house on the same day. Final Approval of the plan is set for December 16, if all goes as planned. It will need to go to Frontenac County for final approval after that, a process that will not likely take more than one month. Council says no to Solar Panel Micro FIT proposal Abundant Solar has been going around the region from council meeting to council meeting on behalf of solar projects, ahead of an application window that opens at the end of October. Township councils have the opportunity to support projects within their jurisdiction, which will provide a boost to them. The projects are much smaller than those captured in the Large Renewable Procurement process, which included wind turbine projects and was so controversial in North Frontenac. They take up between 3 and 5 acres and are required to be blocked from view through vegetative plantings or berms and rarely cause much controversy among neighbours. Still, North Frontenac Council, led by Mayor Higgins, raised questions of Tyson Champagne, who was representing Abundant Solar “I think that we need to send a message to the provincial government about the Green Energy Act. It is no fault of yours,” Higgins said to the Abundant Solar rep, “but the entire system of producing power that is not required at above the market price needs to be questioned.” “At least in the case of solar the price is clear, all the risk goes to the developer. In the case of nuclear power, which is 60% of the market, there are infrastructure costs above the price that are hidden to the consumer,” said Champagne. Other members of Council asked more questions and expressed their opposition to provincial energy policy. “I think, unlike others here, I am concerned about global warming,” said Councilor John Inglis. “I request a recorded vote on this.” “I know about global warming,” said Councilor Wayne Good, “but that does not mean we should support the Green Energy Act.” In a 6-1 vote, the township voted not to support the project. Afterwards Champagne said it is unclear whether the vote will have an impact on the bid. “In the last go-around, half of the proposals were accepted and half were rejected. Some of those that were accepted were located in places that had not supported them. So it's hard to say what the deciding factor is, especially since the price paid for the power is the same in all cases under the Micro FIT process.”
Ontario suspends Large Renewable Procurement for renewable energy In a startling about-face, the Ontario Ministry of Energy announced on Tuesday that the second round of the Large Renewable Energy Procurement (LRP) has been suspended. In announcing that the LRP has been suspended, the Ministry of Energy said that Ontario has a secure supply of power to cover its needs for the next 10 years at least, and that the new projects, which were slated to bring 1,000 megawatts of power on stream, are not necessary. On September 1, the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) released a study called the Ontario Planning Outlook, which analyses a variety of planning scenarios for Ontario's energy system. “The IESO has advised that Ontario will benefit from a robust supply of electricity over the coming decade to meet projected demand,” the ministry said in a release on Tuesday announcing the suspension of the LRP. “Consultations and engagements will begin this fall with consumers, businesses, energy stakeholders and Indigenous partners regarding the development of a new Long-Term Energy Plan, which is scheduled to be released in 2017. As part of this plan, Ontario remains committed to an affordable, clean and reliable electricity system, including renewables,” the release continued. The announcement effects large solar, wind, hydro, bio and waste-generated energy projects. “My biggest focus and fight is over,” said North Frontenac Mayor Ron Higgins in an email after the announcement. Higgins has been an outspoken opponent of the LRP program. He has spent the last year working with his own council positioning itself to resist the possibility of a wind turbine project within its borders. As well he has been organizing other municipalities in Ontario, mostly rural ones, to press for more municipal input into the site selection process for such projects. He is scheduled to be a keynote speaker at a conference in Picton on October 24, where municipalities who oppose the projects in their jurisdictions were to meet and talk strategy. He said on Tuesday that there is an opportunity for municipalities to engage in the new provincial process for developing a new long-term provincial energy program and the focus could be altered to that purpose. However, the fight to block companies such as NextEra and RES Canada from building projects in North Frontenac and Addington Highlands is over, Higgins said. “I'm really happy about that. I feel I can get back to the program that I set out when I was first elected two years ago, to promote Economic Development in North Frontenac,” he said. Although he did not see Tuesday's announcement coming, Higgins has noticed a change in tone from the Ministry of Energy in recent weeks, and he commented on that change at a meeting of North Frontenac Council on Sept. 23. “Over the past couple of weeks, even going back to late August, I have seen a shift in tone from the Ministry of Energy,” he said on Tuesday. “Until then they did not engage with me and all the correspondence I was sending to them resulted in form letters coming back. I have seen an openness to reassess, to listen to municipalities. I think, however, that losing a by-election in Mississauga two weeks ago was a wake-up call for the Wynne government and that's the immediate cause of this.” Still, Higgins does not downplay the role that municipalities played over the last 15 months. “There is no doubt in my mind that the resolution we passed in North Frontenac last year, which was endorsed by 115 municipalities, put a lot of pressure on the Wynne government,” he said. For their part BEARAT (Bon Echo Area Residents Against Turbines) were quick to applaud the decision and to heap praise on Higgins. "I want to sincerely thank Mayor Higgins and the North Frontenac Council for their leadership on this issue and encouraging more than 115 municipalities to pass motions calling for projects not to proceed in communities where local support does not exist," said Dan Carruthers, Co-Chair of BEARAT. "We see this cancellation as the first step toward the government recognizing the role local democracy should play in future energy decisions."
Township to host Ontario ATV Association AGM In early June 2017, all available cottage, lodge, and Bed & Breakfast spaces in North Frontenac will be filled when 115 delegates and their families come to the township for the Annual General Meeting of the Ontario ATV Association. Councilor Denis Bedard made the announcement at a meeting of North Frontenac Council last week. Securing the AGM for North Frontenac has been a project that Bedard, along with the Ottawa ATV Association, which manages the ATV trails in the area, have been working on for months. “They are keen to come here because not only do they want to have a meeting, they want to ride as well. It will be a good opportunity to promote our trails, as each of the delegates represents many other riders,” said Bedard in making the announcement. Bedard said that Darwin Sproule of Ompah has been co-ordinating accommodations for the delegates. “There are quite a few lodges and cottages around, and Darwin is confident he will be able to find suitable accommodations for everyone with what we have here,” said Bedard. The AGM is set for June 3 & 4, but Bedard said most delegates will arrive on Friday, the 2nd, or earlier in the week. “Many of them want to come early to ride,” he said. Official Plan down to the short strokes Frontenac County Community Planner Reid Shepherd presented a draft version of the soon to be completed North Frontenac Official Plan update, which will be the subject of a Public Meeting in October. The goal is to adopt the plan before the end of the year. There was little controversy over the draft plan, with the only item that generated any debate being the question of whether the minimum lot size of 2 acres and the minimum water frontage of 200 feet should remain in the Official Plan or be reserved for the Comprehensive Zoning bylaw, which will follow in the new year. A number of councilors wanted to see them in the zoning bylaw because that provides them with more flexibility. Shepherd said he would take the comments into account when bringing back the final version. Once Council has approved the plan it should have easy passage at Frontenac County because the same planners who are preparing the plan will be providing advice to the county over its final approval. Cloth-backed or vinyl, should the decision be made by the SPCC? The South Palmerston Community Centre Committee, which oversees the operations of the Snow Road Hall, has raised $2,800, which they propose to use for 70 new folding chairs at the hall. Since the chairs will become township property, the township will have to buy them and be reimbursed by the SPCC. Councilor Gerry Martin asked whether the committee is looking at vinyl or cloth-backed chairs. “Cloth-backed chairs don't last as long and since they will become township property we will have to replace them eventually,” he said. Corey Klatt, manager for Facilities and Recreation, said there are both vinyl and cloth-backed chairs at other halls, “and both kinds seem to be standing up pretty well.” Gerry Lichty, from the SPCC, said he would take Martin's comments into account before making a final recommendation.
Not every studio tour boasts a range of materials like the Back Roads Studio Tour. In addition to painting, jewellery and woodworking, Back Roads offers cheese, concrete, and recycled seat belts as well. It's all part of an eclectic mix of artists and artisans who can be found at 13 studios in North Frontenac Township this weekend, Saturday & Sunday, Sept. 24 & 25. The fall colours are just starting along the scenic and winding roads that link the studios, and the locations are all worth a visit. Members of the tour include Tuscany Concrete by Design of Fernleigh. A husband and wife team, Ted and Sherry Oosterlaken of Fernleigh will be showing the decorated concrete furniture that has won them fans and customers throughout Ontario over the last few years. This is their second year on the Back Roads tour and they will be joined by new North Frontenac residents Kirk Shabot and Laura Stewart of L.S. Designs, the makers of custom fire rings and home decor signs. Over at Buckshot Lake Road, Richard Emery starts his work with a chainsaw, and then sands and seals 1 inch slices of wood to make forest frames. His wife Debbie is a well known quilter who created the 150th anniversary quilt for Frontenac County last year. They will be joined by Betty Hunter, who does just about everything that can be done with fabric. At Studio K, Gabriella Klassen combines realism and mystery in finely rendered acrylic paintings. Meanwhile, in downtown Plevna there are three studios, that of mixed media artist Marlene Leeson, the jewelry of Free Spirit Creations and the photography of Michelle Ross, and the paintings of Katie Ohlke at Stone Ridge Art Studio. While in Plevna, stop by Good Stuff Bakery, which will be open all weekend. Over on Lothlorien Road near Ompah are the studios of the very fine painter Linda Rush, and long established woodworker Pete Bunnett, whose recent work focusses on the 'live edge', the cambium layer just inside the bark of a tree, which he uses to make stunning tables, benches and stands. Down the road in Ardoch is Red Dragon Studio and Gift Shop, featuring the paintings and stained glass work of Cathy Owen. She will be joined this year by Wendy Clement, also a painter, who is a mosaic artist as well. Their work has been influenced by the vistas and wildlife at Malcolm Lake, where they live. A must-see studio every year is Silent Valley Alpaca at the former community of Donaldson, a working Alpaca farm with a range of Alpaca products including yarns and garments. The village of Snow Road has developed as a unique artisan corner. Mariclaro is an internationally nown producer of beautiful, sturdy hand bags and accessories made out of entirely recycled materials. Nearby Back Forty Cheese is a farm and sheep's cheese factory that produces four well known cheeses that are increasingly popular in the Ottawa and Kingston markets. They produce specialty cheeses as well. Back Forty is also the studio of Jenna Rose, screen-printed designs on natural fabrics that sell across Ontario. Back Forty will have its patio open and food and drinks will be served all weekend. Once you are in Snow Road, head over to Fred Fowler's studio as well. Fred has been a dedicated painter for years, specializing in visionary landscape oil paintings. One thing to keep in mind while driving the tour this year is the closure of Road 509 between River Road and Plevna. Fortunately there are no studios on that stretch, but to get from Ompah to Plevna motorists need to take River Road to Ardoch Road. (Note - the paper version of this article mistakenly inlcuded the wording "pre-cambrium" in place of "cambium" when describing the work of Pete Bunnett)
Parham's Della Atwood was surprised earlier this week when she went to the Parham cemetery to visit the graves of family members. While the artificial flower arrangements that she had purchased in Verona to decorate the graves of two of her relatives were intact, the ones on the tombstones of her husband and in-laws were gone. “I bought them in the spring. I thought they were a nice addition and would last a couple of years. I put them in place on Mother’s Day and was about to remove them for the winter, when I saw last weekend that two of them are gone.” Atwood is unhappy about what has happened, and although she does not think anything will come of it she said she wants to send a message to the person or persons who took the flowers. “How low can you go?” she said in a letter she submitted to the News. “Stealing from the dead? Would you please put them back where you stole them from.” She also told the News that she is not likely to buy new arrangements if these are not returned. “The whole thing is discouraging. It bothers me,” she said. The arrangements that Atwood placed on two other sites have not been touched and remain in perfect condition. For information, contact Della Atwood at 613-375-8240
For the past five years or so the Kennebec Recreation Committee has organized a successful and fun-filled Italian experience in Arden. This year the Italian Night was held on Sept. 24 and with the hall decorated in the “Italian” theme, the committee welcomed the guests. Thanks to Kathy Barr and her team of volunteers, salad and garlic bread were served at the tables, and the pasta was ready to be consumed. Throughout dinner, the sweet lilts of Italian music filled the hall. Bartender, Dave Moore, kept the wine flowing while guests finished their dinner and prepared for the tiramisu and fruit. As dinner was ending and the band was preparing, Master of Ceremonies, Jim Duthie, told a few Italian ditties, some funny and some groaners. The band of the evening was Carleton Place’s own “Diplomats” led by Gary O'Meara, a nice east coast guy. After introducing themselves and their guest singers, Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra, the audience was entertained with a number of standards as well as some sing-alongs. As the evening progressed, a Kennebec Rec Committee member and dancer extraordinaire, Jeff Matson, could no longer remain seated. Not only was he dancing, but he got others up off their chairs as well. Another guest band, Mexican I think, made an appearance and after some samba music led the audience in a Conga line. Not to be outdone there was also a visit from a member of the armed services and tributes to our forces. The lone commando visited the audience and not only introduced himself, but his horse as well. With the evening drawing to a close, the band helped with some door prizes and the chair thanked everyone who participated in the evening. The Kennebec Recreation Committee leads the way in offering many physical and mental exercises in the community. Line dancing, Tai Chi, Fit & Fun and seniors’ baseball encourage all to get off their sofa and move, while Euchre provides mental exercise. The group is most proud of their sponsorship of the Kids Klub organized here in Arden. Supervised by Connie and Boyd Tryan, the children have an organized and safe place to get together for reading, crafts and sing-a-longs. The Victoria Day fireworks are another of the sponsored events. The Kennebec Recreation Committee is a committee of Central Frontenac Council and enjoys their interaction with all residents. You can support the committee in many ways. You can join into one of the many sponsored exercise programs, purchase a ticket to one of the fundraising events or make a donation, for which you will receive a tax receipt. You could also share some of your ideas with the committee by coming out and joining the group. We’d be happy to have you join in any way you wish! Thanks to all!
The Inverary Youth Activities Association needs your help! We are trying to build a children’s playground in Ken Garrett Park, a well-known ball park in the region. It has three ball diamonds, two with lights for night-time games. The ball diamonds are used every day from April until the end of September. The association sponsors children’s teams and hosts a number of tournaments during the season. The uniforms for children’s teams are provided, and umpire and tournament fees are paid. The income from diamond fees supports these costs plus our everyday expenses such as hydro, repair and upkeep, taxes etc. Volunteers open the canteen on tournament weekends to add to the revenue. We have eight youth swings and two tot swings and most summer days at least 25 children are in the park daily. The play area has recently been excavated thanks to Dig’n Dirt and is now covered with a safety cedar weave ground cover. The two tot swings have been replaced to comply with safety codes. All of this has cost $4950.87. A deposit has now been made on a play structure which will allow up to 30 children to enjoy it at any given time and it is suitable for ages 2 to 12 years. Total cost installed is $32,956.21. We are asking for community help. Our project has been accepted into the funding competition of the Aviva Community Grant program. Now we need votes and lots of them! Voting continues until 4:00 pm on October 28. Each e-mail address is allowed 18 votes and these votes can be placed at one given time. Just copy and paste the address below into your web browser and follow the links! www.avivacommunityfund.org/voting/project/view/16-79 Spread the news to your friends and post our campaign on your Facebook Page! We are also collecting beer cans and beer & wine bottles and these can be dropped off at Garrett’s Meat Store, Perth Road in Inverary.
“This is food I grew up with,” said local farmer, Ernie Sands of Sands Produce from Battersea, in regards to all the organic, locally grown products for sale at the Frontenac Farmers’ Market (FFM). The FFM has been a hot spot in the township ever since it first opened up in 2005. The market and its vendors have been providing customers with local, organic produce and homemade goods for 11 years now and they show no signs of slowing down. In 2014, the market moved from its old location at the Verona Lions Centre on Sand Road to the parking lot at Prince Charles Public School on the much busier Road 38, and business has increased significantly. According to Sands, the vendors now see anywhere from 200 to 400 people pass through their little market on a good day. Merchandise available at the market ranges from fresh fruits and vegetables to hand-made crafts. One can find almost anything on their grocery list at the market and for a comparable price as in regular grocery stores. Father and son, Ernie and Eugene Sands of Sands Produce, are just a couple of the local farmers who keep markets like this in business. The two of them have been a part of the market ever since it was first introduced to the township. Eugene Sands says that they keep a close eye on prices in the grocery store to ensure their prices are comparable for their customers. He sees great importance in local markets in communities like this. “The biggest thing is getting people educated on what they’re buying in the stores compared to what you can get at the market,” Sands said. “Yes there are disadvantages; there might be some blemishes and stuff like that. But the positives are the taste and that it’s local. It hasn’t been sitting in a warehouse or been shipped from half way across the countryside.“ Sands encourages people to take the time to come to the market for groceries. The work of farmers’ markets is twofold: to keep local farmers in business and to provide the community with healthy, organic products. “We want to be needed here,” said Eugene Sands. The only way this is possible is with the community’s support. The market season is quickly coming to an end, with the last one to take place on October 29, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the usual Prince Charles Public School location.
Harrowsmith Community Improvement Plan Council passed two by-laws necessary to formally approve the Harrowsmith Community Improvement Plan (CIP). Residents of Verona, Sharbot Lake and North Frontenac will already be familiar with CIPs, which make it possible for the County to provide financial assistance in the form of grants and loans for property improvement projects. A maximum of $70,000 will be available over the course of four years. During this time, the township roads department will be redesigning the “scramble intersection” in the middle of the village to improve both pedestrian and vehicle safety. A full copy of the detailed plan is available on the township's website. Solar Projects Supported Council agreed to support 15 proposed small solar projects under the FIT5.0 program. These would be located on: Wolfe Lake Rd, Buck Bay Rd, Wallace Road, Davidson Side Rd, Sands Rd, Round Lake Rd, Henderson Rd and Peters Rd. Accounting for Carbon Tax Money Deputy Mayor Sutherland brought notice of motion that: a) a portion of the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Account money collected under the provincial cap & trade program be allocated to each municipal council, according to their population, to be spent on new carbon reduction initiatives; and that b) the provincial government be asked for an accounting of how that money is spent in each municipality. Councillor McDougall said he agreed, based on his sense that a disproportionate amount of money raised in province-wide programs like this gets channeled to large municipalities. The motion passed. MNRF and Johnston Point (Note: Johnston Point is a recently approved subdivision on the north-east shore of Loughborough Lake) Emphasizing that he intends no criticism of the MNRF (Ministry of Natural Resources and Fisheries), Deputy Mayor Sutherland brought a motion directing the township to write to the MNRF to ask that species at risk habitat be preserved, rather than be destroyed in a trade-off, and that the township (and the Battersea-Loughborough Lake Association) be kept informed of any ongoing negotiations between the developer and the MNFR. Sutherland noted that the township is responsible, once the development is completed, for making sure the site plan requirements have all been met. Councillor McDougall said he was uncomfortable with the term ‘trade-off’, but no satisfactory alternative could be agreed upon. The motion passed. Industrial Storage Yard: Site Plan The Council agreed to enter into a site plan for a proposed industrial storage yard on Lambert Road. Bedford Road Rehabilitation Public Works Manager Segsworth asked Council’s endorsement of the Bedford Road rehabilitation project as the township’s submission for Ontario infrastructure top-up funding. This funding is targeted toward projects with a strong health and safety component. The township has budgeted $1 million toward rebuilding Bedford Road from the Sydenham dam to Alton Road. Currently this is a narrow, heavily used strip of road with no safe space for pedestrians or cyclists. Plans are to run Bell and Hydro underground, and construct storm sewers, sidewalks and a bicycle path. After a brief discussion, Council agreed to apply for 90% of eligible costs, which is the maximum allowable. Humane Society Contract Renewed Council agreed to a three-year renewal of their contract with the Kingston Humane Society for the provision of pound services, at a 5% per year rate increase. This increase is estimated, based on the last 18 months of service, to amount to approximately $175 per year.
More than 8% of households in the Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington area live with food insecurity. That's one in 12 households who do not know if there will be enough food next week or next month (from the 2016 Vital Signs report of the Community Foundation for Kingston and Area). To address this issue, a “Food matters” event will be held at the Grace Centre, 4295 Stage Coach Road, Sydenham, from 1 to 4 pm on Saturday, October 22. People are invited to arrive between 12:30 and 1 pm, to meet and network with others. There is no charge and light refreshments will be served. "Statistics about personal or family food insecurity in our region show the urgency for us to improve the food security situation here," says Dianne Dowling, a member of the Food Policy Council (FPC) for KFL&A. "That's why the FPC is holding Food Matters -- Connecting the Roots of Food Security in KFL&A, to bring people together to develop ideas for programs and policies to increase food security. Food security includes personal or family food security, as well as community food security -- the ability of the region to grow, process, store and distribute its own food. We want to help create networks of people involved in activities that relate to food and farming in KFL&A. Everyone is welcome to attend -- including community members, staff and volunteers in community organizations, elected officials, municipal staff members." There will be panel presentations by Ayla Fenton, a young farmer; Toni Pickard from the Kingston Action Group for the Basic Income Guarantee; and David Townsend, executive director of Southern Frontenac Community Services, followed by group discussions on topics chosen by the participants. Recommendations for steps to increase food security will be collected from the groups and shared in the community. Sponsors for Food Matters include: the Community Foundation for Kingston and Area, City of Kingston, County of Frontenac, Kingston Community Health Centres, Loving Spoonful, National Farmers Union Local 316, Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul, and Southern Frontenac Community Services. The Food Policy Council for KFL&A formed in 2012 to work toward the creation of a more secure, accessible and sustainable food system in our region. For more information about the FPC and about the Food Matters event, and to register for the event, go to foodpolicykfla.ca
As part of its branding exercise earlier this year, Frontenac County received word from the company it had hired to lead the exercise that there was a problem. Frontenac County residents did not know what the county did. In many cases they did not know the county even existed though they were living within its boundaries. “People say they live north of Kingston; in Sydenham; near Sharbot Lake; west of Perth; but they don't say they live in Frontenac County,” said Economic Development Officer Anne Marie Young. As the Frontenac County brand was developed and implemented, the first goal has been to use the brand to help develop a sense of place among county residents. At the same time, Frontenac County staff and council have been talking about the effectiveness of county services and have decided to survey residents. Kathryn Wood of Natural Capital Resources, based in Sydenham, was contracted to develop and implement a resident survey to find out what residents think of how well the county is doing at delivering services and what kinds of initiatives people would like to see the county enter into. The survey is also a gauge of how well residents understand what the county does “One of the things we want to do with this survey is to establish a baseline of understanding. If it is repeated in the future we will see how this understanding has changed,” said Wood, when contacted by phone early this week. In a release last week, the county said that the survey is intended to help determine the direction the county will take in designing and implementing operations over the next five years. “The survey is designed to gather views on the programs, services and operations of Frontenac County. Responses will help the county in setting priorities and reviewing its five-year business plans,” the release said. "We want to know how satisfied the residents of the county are with the programs and services we currently offer and what other issues the county should work on in the future," said Warden Frances Smith. The survey includes a list of services that the county is responsible for, and asks for input on their effectiveness. These include some services it delivers, such as the Frontenac Paramedic Services and Fairmount Home. It includes services that the county is responsible for but are delivered by others. These include social service and housing programs that are delivered by the City of Kingston. Other services, such as the Kingston Frontenac Public Library and Health Units are overseen by boards that include representatives appointed by Frontenac County Council. The Municipal Property Assessment Corporation is also listed as well because it is jointly owned by all municipalities in Ontario. The survey asks residents what kinds of new initiatives the county may get involved in. Suggestions include transportation; business supports including support for tourism; combating homelessness; helping people “age at home” and many others. It also asks what role, if any, the county should play in developing shared services between and with the four member municipalities (North, Central, and South Frontenac and Frontenac Islands) The survey is available online at frontenaccounty.ca by navigating to the News item on the site (Frontenac County Issues Community Engagement Survey). It is also available in a paper version at all township offices (Marysville, Sydenham, Sharbot Lake, and Plevna). The survey takes about 10 minutes or less to complete. But act fast and get it done; the survey is only running for another eight days. It closes on October 21.
As a group of parents sat quietly in the small gallery, wearing “I Love Yarker School” buttons, members of the Board of Trustees for the Limestone District School Board (LDSB) listened as the fate of the small Kindergarten to Grade 3 school was discussed at a committee meeting last Wednesday, September 28. Ruth Bailey, Pupil Accommodation Review Facilitator for the LDSB, outlined the issues that led to the establishment of a Pupil Accommodation Review (PAR) for Yarker Family School. Bailey noted that the Yarker school is the only Kindergarten to Grade 3 school in the board, making it “difficult to maintain a suitable program.” She also said, “Enrolment at Yarker school this year is 26 students, which is below our projections, and 50% of the students that live within the school's boundaries are choosing to go elsewhere ... We feel it is in the best interests of the Yarker students to be served at the Odessa Public School.” Trustee Suzanne Ruttan, from South Frontenac, pointed out that there would be ample opportunity for the public, the township, and the school community to provide information to the PAR, and that “another staff report will come forward to the board once all that information is received.” The Limestone Board has undertaken similar reviews in the past to deal with closing or constructing schools. A committee facilitated by board staff, including school staff and community members, was presented with all pertinent information and met over time to come up with a proposal, which may or may not have included closing schools. However, under new directives from the Ontario Ministry of Education, school board staff are now required to provide a recommended outcome for the process even before the PAR Committee is formed to look at possible solutions to identified issues. In the case of Yarker, board staff are recommending that the Yarker school be closed at the end of the 2016/17 school year and that students be re-directed to the elementary school in Odessa. The PAR process for the Yarker school is the first to have been initiated since the board received a Long Term Accommodation Plan (LTAP) from the Ameresco Asset Sustanainability Group on May 24 of this year. Although the LTAP was only “received for information purposes” in May, the first recommendation in its timeline, “establish a PAR in 2016/17 involving Yarker FS and Odessa PS, with a view to close Yarker FS and redirect pupils to Odessa PS”, has now been adopted by the board. The LTAP also recommends that the board consider “the consolidation of students at Marysville Public School [on Wolfe Island] with students from the Algonquin Lakeshore Catholic District School Board (ALCDSB) on one site on the island.” That proposal was also endorsed by the board committee last Wednesday and board staff will pursue the matter with staff at the ALCDSB. The Yarker PAR and the Marysville consolidation proposals will be ratified at an LDSB board meeting on October 9. The Yarker and Wolfe Island decisions are being watched by residents and politicians in Frontenac County, because [discussions about] the future of schools in the county are set to take place as well, starting in three years. The Ameresco Long Term Accommodation Plan implementation timeline calls for schools in South Frontenac to be reviewed in 2019/2020 and schools in Central and North Frontenac to be reviewed in 2023/2024. The LTAP earmarks closing schools in Glenburnie and Verona as part of the South Frontenac accommodation review. However, the LTAP is also set to be updated in 2018/2019 and at that time enrolment projections may change based on the 2016 census results. The current version of the LTAP report is based on enrolment projections that were prepared by Baragers Systems from a variety of data sets, including enrolment figures in the Limestone Board from 2000 – 2015, the 2011 census, and immigration and demographic data. “2016 census taking will be mandatory once again – it is important to assess changes in pre-school & 65+ age cohorts post release of census data” according to Barager Systems. The entire long term accommodation process is being undertaken by the Limestone Board under the backdrop of a new Ministry of Education policy initiative that may require that schools throughout the province operate at 100% capacity. This means that for every school in the board that has fewer than the number of students it was built to accommodate, another school needs to be over full. “Achieving close to 100% utilization year-over-year will require some schools at capacity greater than 100% to offset school populations that can never achieve 100% - that is, some students in portables,” according to the Ameresco Long Term Accommodation Plan for the Limestone Board.
Debra Rantz found herself in a bit of a difficult position last week. She has been in her role as director of education for the Limestone District School Board for just over a year, but before that she spent over two years as the chief assessment officer for the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO). At a committee meeting at the board office last week she introduced an information session on the latest set of EQAO results for students in the Limestone Board, based on testing that took place last spring. In just about every category the percentage of Limestone students who achieved the provincial standard has dropped. This was true of Grade 3 and 6 students taking standardized tests in reading comprehension, writing, and mathematics; for Grade 9 students taking a standardized test in math; and Grade 10 students taking the mandatory literacy test. Limestone is not alone since results across the province dropped as well, at about the same rate as they did in Limestone. Unfortunately, as in past years, students in the Limestone Board are also less likely to be at or about the provincial standards than those in the province as a whole, by a persistently wide margin. In the latest set of results, 62% of Grade 3 students at the LDSB achieved the standard in reading (compared to 72% provincially); 64% achieved the standard in writing (compared to 74% provincially); and 50% achieved the standard in math (compared to 63% provincially). Among grade 6 students, 73% achieved the standard in reading (compared to 81% provincially); 57% in writing (compared to 80%); and 34% in math (50% provincially). In Grade 9 math results, 77% of LDSB students in the academic stream achieved the standard (83% provincially); and 41% in the applied stream achieved the standard (45% provincially). In the Grade 10 Literacy test, 73% of LDSB students passed (75% is the provincial average). “I would say from our conversations with our leadership team we were not that surprised by the results. We are a little surprised by the literacy results, but I have to caution everyone that one year does not make a trend. I also need to tell you that if the results were better we would not be popping the champagne corks ... we have said always in Limestone that we want all of our students to participate and we look for the positive stories in the midst of what you might look at as a difficult story,” she said. Krishan Burra, program superintendent with the LDSB, prepared a slide show that provided detailed context for the results, but before turning to him, Director Rantz made another comment about the meaning of the results, particularly the poor math results. “When results like these come in there are always calls for back to basics. As a former EQAO employee, the students are demonstrating to us on EQAO that they know their times tables, but they do not know when to apply those skills. That flags for me that our students need to develop stronger understanding. I really feel passionate about that. There is a place for knowing our times table, but they need to go hand in hand with the thinking and our understanding,” she said In a series of slides, Krishna Burra provided some context for the gap between the LDSB and the provincial average. He pointed out that the percentage of boys to girls in the board is 52% to 48%, the provincially that ratio is 51% to 49%. “We also know that girls tend to do better in standardized tests,” he said. More tellingly, while 17% of students are designated as special needs across the province, 27% of LDSB students have the designation. “While our special needs students do better than the provincial average for special needs students, they still lag behind students without special needs,” he said, which would lower the overall scores in the LDSB. Even as far as the Grade 10 literacy test is concerned, there are interesting factors that Burra mentioned. “Limestone encourages all students to take the test. Of our special needs students, 93% take the test and the provincial average is 85%. While 49% of our special needs students passed the test and the provincial average is 44%, it still affects our overall average,” he said. Burra added that the board takes the position, and there is data to show it is a sound policy, that “students should be encouraged to succeed, even if they have not succeeded in the past.” An example of this can be found in the Grade 9 math results. Students entering secondary school have the option of taking the academic or the applied stream in math. A healthy percentage of students who do not achieve the standard in Grade 6 but nonetheless enter the academic stream, achieve the standard in Grade 9. A much lower percentage of those who opt for the applied stream. “It is possible to succeed, and creating the expectation of success is one way to promote improvement,” he said. Two hundred and fifty-six students, or 45%, who did not meet the provincial math standard in Grade 6, rose to the standard in Grade 9, and most of those were in the academic stream A number of students in the LDSB have also been able to bring their writing levels up between testing in Grade 6 and the Grade 10 literacy test. “In Limestone, 47%, or 156 students, who did not achieve the provincial writing standard in Grade 6, met the standard in Grade 10,” said a release from the board announcing the EQAO results. The release, entitled “Previously unsuccessful students meet provincial standards in EQAO assessments” emphasized these successes while acknowledging that “results for the Limestone District School Board indicate there has been a drop in achievement across all levels.”
Frontenac County Council has approved a staff plan to take $300,000 from a reserve fund geared at helping low-income residents remain in their homes, and use it to purchase land that is required to complete the K&P Trail. Some of the money will be used to buy land for the stretch of trail that runs from Tichborne to Sharbot Lake, and some for a lot in Verona that has been earmarked as a parking lot/trailhead. The remaining $100,000 is to remain in the reserve fund “pending finalisation of the K&P Trail land acquisition project and the Verona Trail Head Project” according to a report from Treasurer Marian Vanbruinessen and CAO Kelly Pender. Pender explained to Council, at their meeting in Glenburnie on September 21 that the reserve fund was created in 2014 to buffer against the possibility that the Province of Ontario was going to pull its funding for the Kingston/Frontenac Renovates program. That program provides grants of up to $3,500 and forgivable loans of up to $10,000 to low-income homeowners in Kingston and Frontenac County to pay for major repairs. It has been more widely accessed in Frontenac County than in Kingston over the years. Since that reserve was created, using county tax dollars from 2014, the province has renewed its commitment to fund Kingston Frontenac Renovates until 2019. In his report, Pender said that three things may happen at that time: the province may continue to fund the program; the province may pull out and the program will end; or the province may pull out and the City and County may step in to fund it themselves. Under that third option, the County would then have to seek more money from taxation. “There is some urgency here,” Pender said of the need to find money for land purchases. “We have made offers to purchase which will come through in the near future and we have no money set aside to cover all those offers when they come through.” The K&P trail has been a central project for the Frontenac County Economic Development Department, and has been identified as the county legacy project for Canada 150 next year. The trail links the Cataraqui Trail in South Frontenac with the Trans-Canada Trail in Shabot Lake. It was created by using the track bed from the former K&P Rail line, which Frontenac County purchased several years ago from its previous owner, Bell Canada. The trail is complete from the southern border of Frontenac County until the CP rail crossing at Tichborne. The next eight kilometres of former track bed has been sold off to over 20 adjacent landowners and the county has been in negotiation with those landowners, seeking to secure the entire length in time for work to commence in the spring of 2017. The goal is to have the Kingston to Sharbot Lake trail completed by next summer. Some members of Frontenac County Council were sceptical about diverting money from Kingston Frontenac Renovates to the trail. Councilor Natalie Nossal, from Frontenac Islands, said, “I'm sorry but that is $400,000 that the county set aside to fill a void that did not transpire, not for this purpose.” Councilor John McDougall, from South Frontenac, is the county rep on the Housing and Homelessness Committee for Kingston and Frontenac. “Kingston Frontenac Renovates has never been discussed as something that might lose its provincial funding. As far as anyone knows the funding is solid. I think this money could be used for the trail. I think it is a good idea,” he said. Earlier in the meeting, the council received a presentation by Sheldon Laidman, Manager for Housing from the City of Kingston, whose department handles money transfers from the Province of Ontario for Loughborough Not-for-Profit Housing in Sydenham; McMullen Manor in Verona; and North Frontenac Not-For-Profit Housing in Sharbot Lake, representing a total of over 100 units of social housing. Laidman said that the province is pulling out of its financial support for those and all other social housing units in Ontario over the next 10 years, and the county should start thinking about how it will continue to support those properties, as it will still be obligated to offer discounted rent-geared-to income for low-income families and seniors. With that earlier, sobering presentation in mind, Mayor of Frontenac Islands Denis Doyle said, “Putting that money into a fund for our future rent-geared-to-income commitments is closer to the intention for the money than this is.” “That money was not collected for trails,” said North Frontenac Mayor Ron Higgins. County Warden and Central Frontenac Mayor, Frances Smith said, “We have made commitments for purchases and we have money available that we do not need now, and may not need in the future. Whatever we do, we have to pay for the trail now and for our social housing commitments as well,” she said. Smith then asked Anne Marie Young, the Manager for Economic Development for Frontenac County, “How did your spending on these properties go beyond what you had available?” Young replied that $80,000 had been set aside for the land purchases, “which is about half of what was needed, at a minimum. In the end the transfer from reserves was approved, with both representatives from Frontenac Islands and Mayor Higgins from North Frontenac voting against it. (Yup, there is an editorial about this one – see page 2)
L&A looking for new location for Denbigh ambulance base Reeve Henry Hogg told members of Addington Highland's Council that Lennox and Addington County will be initiating a search for a location for a new ambulance base in Denbigh. “That's the best news we've heard about ambulance service in Denbigh from them,” said Councilor Kirby Thompson. “Are they serious about this?” asked Councilor Tony Fritsch. “The [L&A County] Council is supportive of this,” said Hogg. A report from Lennox and Addington Chief of Emergency Services, Mark Schjerning, was presented to a working meeting of L&A County Council on October 12. The report talked about setting up a process to find suitable land for new ambulances bases in Stone Mills and Loyalist townships by hiring the same consulting firm that was used to purchase the property where the Northbrook ambulance was built in 2013. When a member of L&A Council asked at the October 12 meeting about what was happening with the Denbigh base, which is in a rental space and requires an upgrade in order for continued service at that location to be viable, it resulted in an ad-hoc debate over the future of the Denbigh service. A motion to close the Denbigh base and cut the 12-hour a day service was proposed, and defeated. A subsequent motion to add Denbigh to the list of communities listed in the Schjerning report was approved by L&A Council in a unanimous vote. “I think we should take a role in this,” said Councilor Tony Fritsch. “It needs to be a location on a provincial highway, because there needs to be 24-hour road clearing, so along Highway 41 or 28 is what we are looking for,” said Hogg. Council passed a motion encouraging Denbigh residents to come forward with suitable properties. Council members will also be working the phones to find a location and forward it to the consultants. “This is our best chance to secure ambulance service for Denbigh for the future,” said Hogg, “so we need to jump on it.” More support for Abundant Solar FIT projects Council provided support for four more ground mount solar projects that Abundant Solar is planning to submit to the Independent Electricity Service Operator (IESO) for consideration in the FIT5 procurement process. The projects would all be located on leased private land. Two of them are located in Ward 2 (former township of Abinger) and two in Ward 1 (former township of Kaladar) Changes coming at waste sites A number of proposals for changes to the operating procedures and fees at township waste sites came out of an October 6 meeting of the Roads, Bridges and Waste Committee. Among them was a proposal to control access to waste sites, which council approved and will take effect on March 31, 2017. Another proposal was to limit the dumping of construction materials to a single yard (1' x 4' x 8'). All other construction materials will have to be dumped at commercial sites outside of the township. Council also decided that the offer of one free clear bag of waste for every bin of recycling is too generous and will be changing the offer to one free clear bag for every two bins of recycling. Paper products, including cardboard and newsprint, will no longer be included in the exchange for free clear bags. Finally, overall tipping fees are changing as well. In addition to limiting construction waste to one yard for a $15 fee, $30 will be charged for spring mattresses, sofas and chairs, appliances, and carpets. HVAC issues at Northbrook Medical Centre When the township took ownership of the medical center in Northbrook in order to establish a family health team, they also took on two oil furnaces, a propane furnace, and the requirement for space heaters in back offices on the east side of the building and in the pharmacy. “The building has had numerous additions over the years, leading to a pretty inefficient and complicated heating and cooling system,” said Councilor Tony Fritsch. Robert Bosley of Bosley Heating and Cooling met with Fritsch at the medical center to look at what was there and he sent a letter outlining three options for the township to consider. Option 2, which Bosley described as the “proper way to correct the issues here and be done properly”, would be to remove everything that is there and install a fully engineered brand-new heating and cooling system with new ducts. The price for that is “in excess of $200,000.” Option 1 is to put in smaller systems for the east side of the building and the pharmacy at a cost of $60,000. Option 3 is to put in “ductless split heat pump units to the areas that need heat in winter and cooling in summer.” He said six of these units would be required at a price of $5,000 each. “With this kind of expense, this will have to go to our 2017 budget deliberations,” said Councilor Bill Cox. Tony Fristch said that the two worst locations, the pharmacy and the east corner, need to be addressed more quickly. “I don't know how they work there,” said Fritsch. “I think we need to deal with those right away. I propose we buy two of these units, for $10,000 and see how they work, and look at the rest of it for the budget. Council agreed and passed a motion allocating $10,000 from reserves. Meeting times to change Reeve Hogg presented a Notice of Motion, to be dealt with on November 7, to change the meeting time for the second council meeting of the month, which is held in Denbigh, to 1 pm from the current time of 7 pm. This change would be in place from November until March, to cut down on long night drives during the winter months for staff who live away from the township.
It seems it’s upon us again….Pineview Free Methodist Church’s Fall Free Clothes Give-Away. It’s hard to believe that it’s time to put away our summer clothing, especially since the weather has been so lovely of late, yet it is true. Fall is here, and winter is chasing close behind, meaning it is time to go through your clothing and see what you want to keep, donate or throw out. Pineview is here to take those much needed, gently used, clean clothing, linens, outerwear, footwear, purses and accessories that could benefit others in our community. This event cannot be done without your donations, so please consider the needs of others when you are going through your clothing items. It always amazes me year after year how many people use this much needed charity to clothe their families, especially when other costs of living are so high and they sometimes have to make the choices of hydro or putting food on the table or a roof over their heads. Every bit helps. This Fall event will be held Friday, Oct. 28 from 9 am till 5 pm and Saturday, Oct. 29 from 9 am till 2 pm. Donations can be dropped off at the church on Thurs. & Friday, Oct. 27 & 28. Remember, it’s the Pineview Free Methodist Church, 14397 Highway #41, Cloyne. Your donations are greatly appreciated.
There's more to health care than doctors and hospitals. October is Community Support Month, an opportunity to celebrate the services that help seniors and people with disabilities live independently in their own homes for as long as possible. There are over 25 unique community support services, including attendant care, adult day programs, Meals on Wheels, respite for family caregivers, personal care and home support, transportation to medical appointments, and supportive housing programs... to name just a few! The not-for-profit organizations that provide these services are supported by their local communities, and rely on over 3 million hours of work donated by volunteers each year. In Northbrook, Land O'Lakes Community Services has made an impact. A few years ago the agency responded to a need in the community identified by the local Family Health Team. There was a lack of opportunities for senior men to socialize. A group was formed by a coordinator of the Community Support Program. A member of this group described it like this: "A friend suggested that I attend a meeting organized by Land O'Lakes Community Services. The purpose of this meeting was to form a group of senior retired men who wished to socialize. All you need to join is a desire to interact with other men of varied walks of life and experiences. It is also advisable to bring along a good sense of humor. You can talk about any subjects that you are interested in." (Submitted by J.P. Pare) This group continues to meet each week. They have supported one another with various health issues; they visit residents at the local nursing home, and even had a float In the Santa Claus Parade. This program has definitely had a positive impact on the lives of the men in this group. "To us, stories about the impact of community support services may be extraordinary, but to the dedicated staff and volunteers of these organizations, they're all in a day's work," says Deborah Simon, CEO of the Ontario Community Support Association. This October, please learn more about how you can support these community-based organizations by donating your time or much-needed funds. Recently in a client satisfaction survey about transportation, the following quotes were given; "Thank you for the best driver. Also for the help along with not being just a driver but someone to talk to, just listen."; “The service is great as I have no other transportation. My drivers are a great asset to me. I don't know what I would do if this service was stopped." There are a few ways that the public can help ensure these services thrive. Residents could give a donation, volunteer, attend events or simply talk to their neighbor. Individuals who know what we do are vital to building a healthy community. For more information call 613-336-8934 or visit www.lolcs.com All Ontarians deserve the opportunity to live in the comfort of our own homes and communities. Community support services make this goal a reality by going beyond meeting a client's current needs, and actually preventing more serious needs in the future. They keep people out of emergency rooms, hospitals and long-term care, helping Ontarians in need to stay happy and healthy, and making the entire health care system more sustainable. There are many different types of community support services. Here are specific celebration dates set aside for each type: October 5 - Congregate Dining Day October 12 - Client Intervention and Assistance (CIA) Day October 2-8 Meals on Wheels Week October 9 . 15 Community Care Worker Week October 3 Respite Services Day October 10 Transportation Services Day October 16 - 22 Adult Day Program Week October 7 Supportive Housing Dav October 14 Friendly Visiting/Telephone Reassurance Day October 21 Home Help/Maintenance Services Day October 26 Attendant Services Day October 28 Hospice Services Day Join the conversation on social media at #CommunltySupportStorles. To learn more about Land O'Lakes Community Services, visit our Facebook page or our Website at lolcs.com
On September 29, North Addington Education Centre students participated in the annual Terry Fox Run. North Addington has been doing the run for over 25 years and every year the students are excited about the run. The elementary students learned about Terry Fox and his journey before the run took place and started fundraising. The kick-off assembly last week made the students enthusiastic about participating. Terry Fox ran for everyone and his goal was to raise one dollar for every Canadian; since then Canadians have raised over $700,000,000! Everyone in the school participated, including the kindergarten classes. Maci, a kindergarten student said “I ran for Terry Fox and I want to do it again.” Cole Delyea, a grade 4 student said, “I want to do it again next year, I ran for a friend's grandpa...” His sister, Sierra said, “I ran for Terry Fox and I’ll try to run more next year.” North Addington students will find out how much they raised next week. Until then, the school is very proud of their accomplishment and the students are eager to run again next year.