Last May, proposed housekeeping changes to the South Frontenac Official Plan were passed by a 5-4 vo...
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.
ROMA electing new member Liz Huff, a board member of the Rural Ontario Municipalities Association (ROMA), made a presentation to Council on Friday on the roles and benefits of being a board member for ROMA. ROMA is an organization made up of elected councillors from across rural Ontario that lobbies the Provincial government to make changes at the municipal level. Huff, a Councillor in the Leeds/1000 Islands riding, explained that ROMA tries to find a common voice across municipalities in Ontario to try and deal with some of the issues that are specific to rural Ontario. She cited rising policing costs, access to broadband internet, taxation issues, implications of cap and trade, and higher energy costs as some of the issues that ROMA is currently discussing and working on. “You get ideas about service sharing and cost sharing by meeting other municipalities,” Huff said explaining how it can benefit North Frontenac to have a Councillor join ROMA. If a member of North Frontenac's Council was to be elected into ROMA they'd be representing Zone 6 which runs from the Ottawa River down to Quinte West, a large chunk of area to cover. ROMA is electing a member for Zone 6 on January 30th at their conference 'ROMA Speaks' which is being held, ironically or not, in downtown Toronto. New Sign For Snow Road Community Centre Molly Hartin, from the South Palmerston Community Centre (SPCC), made a presentation to Council regarding updating the exterior sign at the Snow Road Community Centre. Hartin had made a humerous Powerpoint which she screened before Council, that featured music by local musicians Kathryn Briggs and Terry Tufts and had the Councillors laughing at some humorous pictures. The SPCC told Council that the sign will cost just under $2900 to have sandblasted, reinstalled and repainted with the new logo. They said it could cost an extra $1000 if the contractor has to pour a new footing for the sign. “I wonder what the 2 councillors from Ward 3 think?” Councillor Gerry Martin asked jokingly as both Councillors weren't in attendance at the meeting. Council approved the resolution for the sign and decided the monies would come from the Special Parks Ward 3 fund. Part of Hartin's presentation mocked the mess of signs that crowd Snow Road Station and that confuse new visitors to the area. “Maybe we need to add a signage by-law as business arising?” Mayor Ron Higgins asked Council. 1% Municipal Tax Mayor Ron Higgins made a short report on an Association of Municipalities Ontario (AMO) meeting he attended last week where 80% of the attendees were in favour of adding a 1% “Municipal” tax in Ontario to cover the fiscal gap they're experiencing in infrastructure and funding. Mayor Higgins was against the idea, which would bring sales taxation in Ontario up to 14%, from the current 13% (HST). “The reason I'm upset is we're helping the government to bail them out of a situation they've created,” Higgins said. “They're trying to put a Bandaid on a problem that the provincial government created.” “We were looking after our infrastructure quite well until we got hit with downloaded services,” Higgins said. “I want to make sure that the AMO board understands my position even though it isn't a majority,” said Higgins who was frustrated that that was the one option they were presenting. Liz Huff from ROMA, who was still in the audience during this point of the meeting, spoke about the issue. “AMO has been working on this for years. It isn't the only option they looked at. The basic premise is that property tax isn't sufficient to sustain municipalities in Canada. We now have a picture of what it would cost ($8.6 billion) to keep our infrastructure in shape versus what the ability of the property tax is, locally, to carry that. “It seems to me we were told it would mean an 8% annual property tax increase on the average rural municipality in Ontario to carry that cost. Out of all the unappealing options at least the 1% puts it in our hands,” she said. North Frontenac Looking At Consolidating Wards 2 and 3 Council had a conversation on Friday about amalgamating Wards 2 and 3 into one ward and having just two Wards in the township. The reasoning behind this is that then the two zones, Ward 1 and 2+3, would have closer to a 50/50 split of the population. They decided to bring this idea to the public in June 2017 for discussion which would leave them time to implement the new system, if things changed, for the 2018 election.
In 2008 a consultant's report called for an ambulance base to be built at the junction of Roads 509 and Ardoch Road in Central Frontenac to serve residents in North and Central Frontenac and motorists on Highway 7 between Kaladar and Brooke Valley. A lot happened after that, including a plan to build a base and a fire hall in Ompah, but after six years a base was opened in July of 2014 at the corner of Road 509 and Robertsville Road, a few kilometres from where the consultant's report had recommended, but in North Frontenac. Since then, the base has been a success, serving residents in North and Central Frontenac as well as Lanark Highlands and Tay Valley townships, and motorists on Highway 7. It was originally going to be a satellite base, meaning crews would start and end their 12-hour shift at the Parham base and would then drive north, but from the day it opened it has been a full base, offering 12 hours of service. Now, two years and two months after it opened, it has received a LEED Silver designation for its design and building materials. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. It is a rating system that awards points for everything from the materials used, the use of passive solar heating, and intangibles such as the placement of bicycle racks in parking lots. At a ceremony marking the LEED certification last week, the contractor who built the base was on hand, as was County Warden Frances Smith, North Frontenac Mayor Ron Higgins, Frontenac County Chief of Paramedic Services Paul Charbonneau, and the paramedics who were on duty at the time. “Both of the bases Frontenac County has built since taking on responsibility for paramedic services have been LEED certified,” said Charbonneau. “The Sydenham base is gold certified and this one obtained the silver. The effort to achieve this standard is consistent with the county's commitment to sustainability.” Warden Smith, nearby in Central Frontenac, not far from the base's location, said, “It's wonderful to have such a good facility available to us here in the northern part of the county.” LEED is a rating system that is a recognized mark of excellence for green building in 150 countries.
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."
Members of the Frontenc Fury had lots of fun with Santa at the Sydenham Santa Claus Parade on Saturday (November 26) The Sydenham parade was the first to be held locally, and will be followed by parades in Harrowsmith, Sharbot Lake, and Northbrook on Saturday morning (Dec. 3), Denbigh and North Frontenac on Saturday night, and Parham/Tichborne on Sunday afternoon (Dec. 4)
The first opportunity for the public to see the new digs of the Treasure Trunk took place last Friday at a Wine and Cheese Fund raiser and silent auction at their new home on Road 38, south of the Kingdom Hall. Community Living Board Chair Patty Hallgren looked at the over flow crowd and said “who says people won’t come out to the Treasure Trunk because we are out of town.” Paddy O’Connor provided a rousing opening for Mayor Frances Smith, who used an oversized pair of scissors that she borrowed from Frontenac Paramedic Services to cut the ribbon, and the space had been christened.Community Living North Frontenac operates the Treasure Trunk but its Executive Director Dean Walsh said that the Treasure Trunk “does not belong to Community Living, it belongs to the community, it belongs to everyone.” The Treasure Trunk will be open for business on Saturday morning (December 3) at 9 am.
A few weeks ago it was mentioned, in the Arden column, about a gun donated to Arden for their Cenotaph. After a conversation with the donator and then some research, I felt it was necessary to bring some attention to this unique and generous individual. Geoffrey Landon-Browne was born in England and relocated, with his wife, to Carp, Ontario in 2008. He has refurbished a Land Rover, is in the midst of rebuilding a Volkswagon Iltis but his pride and joy is the work he is doing on the flight deck of a Lancaster heavy bomber plane. He is a millwright and machinist by trade and has a garage stocked full of metalworking equipment and many mechanical parts acquired by a variety of ways. I asked him why he decided to donate the gun to Arden and he told me he really did not know why, he just had a compulsion to do it. Passing by the large Arden sign, on his way to Toronto he recalled the documentary “The Lost Highway” and felt a connection, one that he could not explain. On another trip he ventured into town and found the Cenotaph, and much to his dismay saw that one of the guns was missing.He chose his replacement, a replica of a .303 “Vickers” because of it’s direct link to the Canadian forces and because the gun mounted on the other side was a German “Maxim” machine gun, vintage World War One. The Vickers gun has relevance to WWII and Korea as it was used by British and Commonwealth forces until 1989. Landon-Browne recreated this gun by newly making 100% of it; there are no original parts. The actual time required to fabricate this gun…..3 days. Impressive is just one way to describe Geoff,and in turn, Geoff was impressed by Arden as well. The one thing he felt that many a large metropolis lost was their sense of community and willingness to remember and be thankful for the past. He found both of those things in Arden, in their service November 11 and the fellowship that followed. So Arden formally thanks Geoff Landon-Browne for his gift and wishes him every success in his task of rebuilding history in his Lancaster bomber project.
Quilting is a traditional practice that has transitioned from being a necessity to being a form of art. To honour our quilters past and present and to recognize Canada's 150th the FHF committee is organizing a Community Quilt Display. Our goal to display a minimum of 150 quilts. We know that there are a number of quilters in our community today and we are looking forward to hearing from you. The good news however is that you do not have to be a quilter to enter the display. Perhaps you have a quilt that was made by a relative, a friend or neighbour. Maybe it was passed down or gifted to you? Do you who made it or anything about the materials used? Would you like to display it? What story does it have to tell? We'd like to hear from you. Beth Abbott, a well known Fibre Artist, Quilter and resident of Godfrey has been providing guidance to the festival committee for the display, which we are very grateful for. It's also quite likely she and other knowledgeable quilters will be on hand at the event so you may have a chance to speak with one of them and learn a little more about the art of quilting past and present. The FHF will be taking place Feb 17-20 at a number of locations throughout Central Frontenac. The quilts will be on display at the United Church, the Anglican Church and the Masonic Hall in Sharbot Lake on Saturday February 18, and at the United Church in Arden as well. We are anticipating a good response from the public and therefore we have decided to limit entrants to a maximum of 3 quilts per household at this time. For more information please call Janet Gutowski at 613-374-1355. There will be more information forthcoming on our website www.frontenacheritagefestival.ca and our Facebook page.
Last May, proposed housekeeping changes to the South Frontenac Official Plan were passed by a 5-4 vote of Council in the face of a storm of protest from long-time waterfront residents. Now, South Frontenac Township is facing 8 OMB appeals on behalf of over 300 long-time lakefront residents from Buck, Desert, Bobs, Crow, Hambly, Loughborough, Big Clear, Howes and Knowlton Lakes. The residents fear they will lose their current rights to do any major improvements on their existing cottages, because those cottages were built years ago within the 30 metre setback from the shoreline now required for all new construction. This spring’s Official Plan changes to section 5.10.2): A) do not permit buildings within the 30-metre setback to be taken down and reconstructed, even on the same footprint and in the same dimensions, and B) define a property as vacant once more than 50% of load-bearing walls have been removed from a building within the setback (and therefore the structure would not be replaceable.) Council did retain that part of section 5.11 which permits replacement of a structure partially or completely destroyed by fire, flood or other ‘act of God’, but removed the right to replace a structure lost through a Township ordered demolition permit. As spokesperson for the residents’ steering committee, Jeff Peck pointed out at a Committee of the Whole meeting on November 23 that the Official Plan changes do not address the majority of non-conforming lakeshore structures that are neither abandoned nor destroyed by natural causes. Many 60 to 100-year old family cottages which are still in use require more than just patchwork plumbing and wiring upgrades to continue to be safe and functional. He said that sometimes, in cases of mould, rot or decay, old summer cottages may need to be reconstructed in order to continue to be safe and healthy for habitation. This degree of reconstruction will now require an application to the Committee of Adjustment before being granted a building permit. The residents Peck speaks for are not asking to increase the size of their grandfathered structures; only to have the right to maintain and update the current structures on their current footprints. Recent decisions by the Committee of Adjustment, supported by recommendations from the Health Unit and the CRCA , have consistently resulted in the requirement that wherever possible, all reconstructions must be relocated 30 metres back from the shoreline, thus reinforcing the complainants’ concerns. This spring, Council accepted planner Mills’ interpretation of the intent of the Township’s Official Plan as: “eventually all buildings will be well set back from waterbodies to ensure protection of our lakes,” even though this interpretation, if followed to conclusion, could force relocation of the historic Township hall itself. “We would welcome the opportunity to work with Council to resolve this in a respectful manner, and could withdraw our OMB appeal,” Peck told Council last week; “We feel our individual property rights and the environment can both be protected. The Township could permit reconstruction on the footprint, but also stipulate environmental protection measures such as updated septic systems, water conservation strategies, etc.” However, the twenty individuals who comprise the steering committee are determined to continue with the OMB appeal if Council shows no wish to work with them toward a mutually acceptable resolution. They are well funded and will be represented by Murray Chown, (Planning Consultant and Expert Witness) and Michael Polowin, (Lawyer). In a 2009 appeal involving the City of Ottawa, Polowing convinced the OMB that “municipalities may not limit or coercively bring to an end non-conforming or non-complying rights beyond the narrow constraints permitted by the Planning Act, R.S.O.1990, c.P.13 and at common law.” (this ruling was discussed fully in The Digest of Municipal & Planning Law, Jan 2010, Issue 13.) “An OMB appeal will be unnecessarily costly for all of us,” Peck told the Committee last week. At the end of the meeting, Councillor Sleeth asked “Are we going to talk with them,” and offered to bring a motion to reconsider Council’s earlier decision. Deputy Mayor Sutherland said they had already come to a decision as a Council. Mayor Vandewal suggested that it was inappropriate to publicly discuss a matter currently before the OMB, and suggested they bring it to the closed session before the Dec 6 Council meeting. To be successful, a Council vote to reconsider a recent decision requires a 2/3 majority.
About 18 people showed to a public forum on November 16 to talk about the best option for a senior’s housing project in South Frontenac. A Committee made up of two representatives from Frontenac County Council (John McDougall and Tom Dewey), as well as Mayor Vandewal and South Frontenac Councilor Pat Barr are seeking proposals for a minimum 5 unit building that would be available for rent to senior’s.The project is a county-wide initiative, with each township having $350,000 available to them to provide financial support for a public or private sector developer to build new housing. The township of Frontenac Islands was the first to take up the challenge, and the planning for a new 5 unit building on a lot that is located on the south edge of Marysville on Wolfe Islands is well under way. South Frontenac is the next to start working on it, and at the meeting on November 16 there were three groups represented who are thinking about putting a proposal forward. Of them, two are not-for profit corporations, Loughborough Housing and Southern Frontenac Community Services, and the third is Robert Morgan of RJM Classic Homes, a Sydenham based company. “The meeting we held was very good, and with a number of ideas being floated it became clear afterwards that we needed to broaden the discussion before focusing on what kind of development we would like to support,” said John McDougall, who sits on both South Frontenac and Frontenac County Council.To do that, the township has posted a 12 question survey on the Southfrontenac.net website. The survey asks residents if they think senior’s oriented housing is needed in the township, where that need is greatest, and what kind of project is best suited to the township. It also asks whether it should be a rental unit, unit sizes and amenities, what kinds of services should be in place, and what government support should be available to the developer. Ken Foulds and Ed Starr from Re-Fact consulting of Ottawa are helping the committee select a project and they will also help with the business plan. Once a project is selected and arrangements made for financing, they will also help with a business plan. Eventually, it will be the group that is developing the project who will come to the fore. The consultants and the county committee will pull back and let the project proceed.“That’s how it worked in Marysville,” said McDougall,” who added that one of the things that needs to be determined is what the $350,000 can be used for, particularly if the project goes to the private sector.Location is one of the subjected being explored through the questionnaire. All three of the groups at the meeting on the 16th have property available in Sydenham, however, so there is some likelihood it would be built there. South Frontenac Community Services has property available at the Grace Centre site. Robert Morgan has set aside some land in a subdivision he developed off of Rutlege Road, and Loughborough Housing has some space available on the same site as their two building are located, and has another piece of land available in Sydenham. A site in Sydenham that can be hooked up to water would fit with the township’s development plan for the village. Another decision that needs to be made is whether the units should be available at market rent or as rent-geared to income properties. Market rent is what is being contemplated on Wolfe Island.The Seniors Housing questionnaire will be available until the end of the year on the township website. Southfrontenac.net.
When Jean Freeman started up 101 Nativities at the Cole Lake Free Methodist Church in 2010 she wanted to gather up as many nativity scenes as she could, from her own collection and those of friends, neighbours, and other parishioners from her church and other churches around the region. Putting them all together into a display for public viewing in mid-November was her way of kicking off the Christmas season by focusing in on the most intimate aspect of the tradition, the birth of Jesus Christ. “Before all of the commercial sales and everything else gets underway we thought this display of 101 Nativities, which was just a number we hoped to get to at the time, would set a bit of a mood for the season.” Pretty quickly, it worked. “Some children come here on opening night all dressed up. It's an event they look forward to all year,” she said on Saturday afternoon (November 19) as the show was ending its second day this year. Freeman is joined by Kristine Caird along with a number of other volunteers in organising the show every year. This year there were 230 Nativity scenes laid out on tables and on a newly constructed display featuring 10 foot long recently milled rustic shelving that was made by a relative to help set off the scenes. “We spend a lot of time in the couple of days before the show moving the different Nativities around so they look just right, and everyone works at it. Each morning I find it has changed because someone has had an idea and has moved things around, which is all part of making it just so,” said Caird. The organisers never know if a crowd will come out, and this year the weather was so nice on the Saturday that they were worried the crowds would be thinner than normal, followed by a stormy Sunday. “We are a tradition for people now,” said Caird, “and people seem to make it out at some point in the weekend to see their favourites, to see what is new this year, and even for the treats and coffee.” The displays have a local and an international theme, with some displays coming from far afield (Africa, Europe, Israel, Haiti, South America) while others were purchased locally or hand-made. They are made of many different materials as well; ceramic, glass, wood, even coconut shells. “One of the reasons we hold it so early is so people can have their Nativities back for their own displays. We get nervous about making sure nothing gets lost or damaged, especially as we grow every year, but so far we have a good record,” said Caird. “It is a lot quicker to take down than it is too put up,” she added. So far, the name 101 Nativities has held up, even through there were over 230 this year, but as they get closer to 300, pressure may mount to re-name the event. By 2025 we could be reporting on the Cole Lake 500.
VISIONSoup was begun eleven years ago by Leslie Read of Sydenham Veterinary Services and Josie Steele of Sydenham Chiropractic Clinic as a way of giving something back to their communities. Popular right from the beginning, it now fills Grace Hall in Sydenham with two sittings and raises almost $4,000 to be divided equally between the Loughborough Christmas and Emergency Fund, and Southern Frontenac Community Services. For many, it has become a delightful way to begin the winter holiday season (though last Saturday was still shorts and t-shirt weather). For $25, participants get to choose a bowl made by one of several local potters and a meal of soup from an area restaurant. Some fill their bowl with one soup, others prefer the ‘tasting’ approach, trying scoops of each of several of the wide variety of flavours. Not only do the bowls go home with their new owners, but the helpers whisk them away first and return them freshly washed. The presentation of VISIONSoup remains largely a family affair: preparation, welcoming and serving are done by Josie and Leslie and their parents, spouses, children and friends, all wearing bright red shirts. Soups and bowls are all donated.
As members of Frontenac County Council sit down this week to consider the 2017 county budget, they will be facing a document that includes an increase of $333,635.60 in the amount of money to be levied to ratepayers for county programs in 2017. As Chief Administrative Officer Kelly Pender said in the report accompanying the budget document, staff worked towards building a budget that kept the increase to within the 1.5% inflation rate for 2016, but found it difficult given a number of factors. One that he mentioned in particular was a $111,000 increase in the base budget for Frontenac Paramedic Services. “This increase results from salary and benefit costs,” he said, “the additional reserve transfer re the [new] stretchers and the ongoing phase in of the Wolfe Island enhancement.” The $111,000 cost is being brought into the levy over three years to mitigate its impact. Still, there are other projects that, if left in the budget would result in an increase approaching 5%. In presenting the budget to Council, staff recommended a series of changes to bring it back to the 3.72% level. The budget includes a $35,000 one time grant to the Frontenac CFDC for operational purposes. After a budget session this week, changes will be incorporated into the final version, which is set for approval at the December meeting. Also, at the meeting Frances Smith will be stepping down as Warden to be replaced by Ron Vandewal.
Kingston Frontenac Public Library Board and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 2202 are jointly announcing a tentative agreement on the union's 2016 employment contract. Minutes of settlement were signed by officials of both the Library and CUPE on Thursday afternoon. No details of the deal are being released pending ratification by the Board and by CUPE members. "This tentative agreement was reached after positive and productive discussions between the Library and CUPE," said Shelagh Quigley, Director of Human Resources and the Library Board’s lead on union negotiations. "We feel it reflects the needs of our staff and the Library as a whole." "We feel it was a good negotiation and hopefully our members are pleased," said Lori O’Connor, President of CUPE Local 2202. "We will be recommending acceptance at our ratification meeting.”
Ontario Provincial Police News Portal OPP Media Release 2016-11-21 Last year (2015), the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) investigated 65 road collisions in which a drug-impaired driver was found to be the primary cause of the crash. So far this year (2016), the same factor was behind 59 such collisions on OPP-patrolled roads. Tragically, 35 people have died so far this year in alcohol/drug-related crashes, which has the total number of road deaths in this causal category over the last ten years nearing the 650 mark. With its annual Festive “Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere” (R.I.D.E.) campaign getting underway this week, the OPP is determined to dispel the myth that driving while high on drugs cannot be detected by police and is a safe alternative to driving under the influence of alcohol. Through the OPP Drug Evaluation and Classification Program, officers are trained as Drug Recognition Evaluators, giving them the authority and tools needed to detect drug-impaired drivers – something they hope no driver gives them a reason to use during the holidays. Over the coming weeks, the OPP hopes to conduct a successful campaign in which every single driver they pull over in a Festive R.I.D.E. Stop is a sober, drug-free driver. “The solution to ending impaired-related road deaths is a simple one. Never drive if you are impaired by alcohol or drugs and know that you are doing the right thing by calling 9-1-1 to report an impaired driver. By working together, we can positively influence driver behaviour in an effort to make sober, drug-free driving a social norm during the holidays and throughout the year.” – OPP Deputy Commissioner Brad Blair, Provincial Commander, Traffic Safety and Operational Support. “This year’s Festive R.I.D.E. Campaign reminds us that we all have a role to play in preventing impaired driving. As we get together with family and friends this holiday season, plan ahead. Arrange for a designated driver and if you see someone you think is impaired, arrange a ride for them or suggest alternate arrangements. These simple steps can go a long way to keeping our families, friends, and roads safe every day of the year.” – David Orazietti, Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services.” DID YOU KNOW? As of October 2, 2016, Ontario legislation carries penalties for drug-impaired driving that match those already in place for alcohol-impaired drivers. Illegal drugs are not the only drugs that can impair one’s ability to drive and result in you losing your licence. A Warn Range Suspension can be issued to drivers whose Blood Alcohol Concentration falls within the 0.05 to 0.08 range.
At a special meeting on November 2, members of Frontenac County Council listened to a 20 minute presentation from Chief Administrative Officer Kelly Pender and Manager of Planning and Development Services Joe Gallivan about the merits of hiring a new Economic Development Officer to replace the retiring Anne-Marie Young. The meeting, which was devoted to only that topic, came about as the result of a notice of motion at the previous meeting by North Frontenac Mayor Ron Higgins.Higgins notice of motion asked that the =hiring process for the position be frozen until council has time to consider contracting outthe service. Rather than put off the hiring, Pender suggested the special meeting to settle the matter. In their presentations, Pender and Gallivan outlined some of the goals of the department going forward. “An Economic Development department does not create jobs,” Pender said at the end of the detailed presentation. “It is people who want to start a business in a specific location who create jobs. We don’t make that happen. But when someone calls us and they find out that in order to start something up they will have to undertake a long, expensive planning process, that’s how we lose them. That’s why planning and economic development need to work together, and outsourcing economic development brings risk.” “There is a lot of good detail in this report,” said Frontenac Islands Mayor Dennis Doyle. “Back in 2008 we made a conscious decision at this table to divert the Economic Development Officer’s time to the K&P Trail. Now we are pulling that back to none. I’m generally in favour of keeping on the track we are on. Outsourcing makes me nervous.” One by one, Councilors spoke out in favour of hiring a new Economic Development Officer. South Frontenac Mayor Ron Vandewal, who as chair of the meeting, spoke out only at the end. “If this goes through, as I think it will, we need to make sure that whoever has that position works with people at the CFDC [Community Futures Development Corporation] and KEDCO [Kingston Economic Development Corporation] and not against them.” There were 7 members of Council at the meeting, John Inglis from North Frontenac was absent, and 6 of them supported the motion. Ron Vandewal voted against it. As Pender told Council at their previous meeting, a short list of candidates has been developed, and interviews can now proceed. Anne-Marie Young will be retiring at the end of the year.
Thanks to all who helped make this year’s contest a success. 336 tickets were sold and 94 deer weighed in. The largest buck weighed in at 216.9 lbs on the first day of the season. He held the biggest buck ranking through to the finish and earned Mike Bolton a check for $200 and a trophy. The largest doe weighed 152 lbs and netted Andrew Blake $200 and a trophy as pictured. Second place buck, 200 lbs won Gary Harrison $100. Second place doe 138.2 lbs rewarded Steven Nowell $100. There is a draw prize annually for novice hunters who weigh in a deer. The prize is a quality engraved hunting knife donated by Russel Gray. This years winner is Rowan Lemke. Congratulations to all winners and many thanks to all who supported our contest
We have a tremendous project planned for Canada’s 150th Anniversary of Confederation next year. As part of our Sesquicentennial Project our colour themes for the Community Planter boxes will be red and white. We hope all local gardeners who plant flowers next spring, to enjoy for the summer season, will do the same. Just imagine our Community at large in a bounty of red and white flower beds and containers. It is a significant and visual way to show everyone driving into our Townships of North Frontenac and Addington Highlands that we know how to celebrate 2017, such a special year for Canada. Most important, we are asking all you readers to set aside June 24th 2017 so you can attend the annual opening of the Pioneer Museum in Cloyne, beside the Barrie Township Hall, for a very special unveiling of an Art Installation completed by our Land O’Lakes Garden Club members, in recognition of Canada’s 150th. We appreciate the help and support of the Historical Society Board in this undertaking, who have so kindly agreed to display our art work on the Museum. This project has involved many volunteers and a tremendous amount of work and a great deal of learning for all those who have participated. Under the guidance of our Co chair Lynn Oborne we feel we have created an Art Installation that the Community will be proud of. We are all excited for you to come out and see our handiwork. Canada’s 150th Anniversary is a once in a lifetime opportunity to connect with one another, to celebrate our accomplishments as a nation, our diversity and common interests and engage as a community in a conversation of our vision for the future. We look forward to you attending along with your friends and neighbours to view this Art Installation that we hope will be enjoyed by the entire Community. We have also commissioned a local artisan, Ken Chatson, to create a tribute piece on our behalf for the Community. Please mark June 24, 2017 as a special day on your calendar and come out to meet your friends and neighbours at the event. We have a tremendous project planned for Canada’s 150th Anniversary of Confederation next year. As part of our Sesquicentennial Project our colour themes for the Community Planter boxes will be red and white. We hope all local gardeners who plant flowers next spring, to enjoy for the summer season, will do the same. Just imagine our Community at large in a bounty of red and white flower beds and containers. It is a significant and visual way to show everyone driving into our Townships of North Frontenac and Addington Highlands that we know how to celebrate 2017, such a special year for Canada. Most important, we are asking all you readers to set aside June 24th 2017 so you can attend the annual opening of the Pioneer Museum in Cloyne, beside the Barrie Township Hall, for a very special unveiling of an Art Installation completed by our Land O’Lakes Garden Club members, in recognition of Canada’s 150th. We appreciate the help and support of the Historical Society Board in this undertaking, who have so kindly agreed to display our art work on the Museum. This project has involved many volunteers and a tremendous amount of work and a great deal of learning for all those who have participated. Under the guidance of our Co chair Lynn Oborne we feel we have created an Art Installation that the Community will be proud of. We are all excited for you to come out and see our handiwork. Canada’s 150th Anniversary is a once in a lifetime opportunity to connect with one another, to celebrate our accomplishments as a nation, our diversity and common interests and engage as a community in a conversation of our vision for the future. We look forward to you attending along with your friends and neighbours to view this Art Installation that we hope will be enjoyed by the entire Community. We have also commissioned a local artisan, Ken Chatson, to create a tribute piece on our behalf for the Community. Please mark June 24, 2017 as a special day on your calendar and come out to meet your friends and neighbours at the event.
Have you ever thought about what sounds you might hear in our museum? Perhaps not, so let me take you on a little tour. The voices of children chattering eagerly in the school house come to mind. These are the same children who will tell you that no, they don’t want to go back to school, but at the moment they are enjoying the books, the old desks, the nibs of the pens, the schoolmarm with no shoes, the aura of a different kind of school. Female voices drift in from the Pioneer Life section, most of them in amazement at the tiny wedding dress made by Ila Redshaw Wagar when she was only 17 years old. There also are the porcelain dolls which have their own history, long before they became playmates of children in the early days, one of them in particular who was created in Germany some time before becoming the best friend of Ora Wickware in Cloyne. Perhaps in the silence of the night, they talk to one another, exchanging their stories! From the south end of the new section, where all the tools are, you can hear the sound of someone cranking the forge which was built by Zach Snider. If you listen very closely, you can almost hear the fire as it would have caught the coals in the forge. From the front room, there are the sounds of toonies and loonies dropping into the donation jars. The folded-up bills fall so softly that you don’t know they’re there until it’s counting time at the end of the day! Here also is more amazement coming from the folks reading the life story of David Trumble. “What, he was 118 when he died?” And then there are the adult voices patiently explaining to children what a phone used to look like and how it worked, when it was called a “telephone”. On the north side of the room, the cause of exclamations will be the size of the old chain saws, with wonderment at how strong the man must have been who once used those on a daily basis. These are the sounds of learning - about a lifestyle no longer in existence, about the ways in which small communities have kept themselves alive, through timbering, through mining, through tourism. This is the business of our museum. The Museum and Archives this summer was a busy place. Including the tours which have brought in groups from the school and from neighbouring towns, we welcomed 1,350 visitors who donated $1,986, a significantly greater amount than in previous summers. Instead of the long-standing average of donations of $1 per person, we are now up to nearly $1.50 per person! Our sales cupboard did well also this summer. Customers purchased $2,207 worth of our merchandise. As a result of the brisk sales, several items will have to be reordered over the winter. After a quiet winter’s rest, followed by a cleaning and rejuvenation of displays, the doors will be ready to open next spring as we mark Canada’s 150th birthday. Then the sounds will be cheering ones, as we all get together to have a celebration!
The Flinton Gold Mine It is too early to predict either a gold rush or an environmental disaster for the village of Flinton, but Jimmy Sun, President and legal counsel for the Union Glory Gold group of companies, is bullish on the old Addington Mine property. His company purchased both the surface and subsurface rights to the property, and an adjacent property from Imperial Minerals some years ago, and in a letter to Addington Highlands township staff from earlier this month, he talked about the exploratory activity his company has been carrying out at the property, which is located off Flinton Road (Concession 4, Lot 24, Kaladar). “We have in the last few years carried out some preliminary work. Last spring some drilling turned up encouraging data and we have since decided to conduct more drilling in an effort to better understand the potential of the property. This drilling should be completed by the end of November,” he said in his letter. Sun also pointed out that the property was a producing gold mine in the 1930’s. He invited the township to contact him for more information. Patricia Gray, from the township office, contacted Mr. Sun after meeting with a consultant who was doing a socio-economic study for Union Glory Gold as part of their exploration activities. In addition to contacting Mr. Sun, Gray also spoke with the regional geologist with the Ministry of Mines and Northern Development who said the company is doing some diamond drilling and also doing studies on streams and water in the vicinity of the potential mine site. “The geologist advised me that the company is complying with requirements at this time,” she said in a report to Council. Gray also reported that, again according to the geologist, any mining activity is a number of years away and that public consultation will be required if the project proceeds to that stage. Union Glory Gold has another project in Eastern Ontario that is further along the process of development. It is located near the town of Tudor in the township of Tudor and Cashel, located south and east of Bancroft in Hastings County. The company estimates the Tudor property contains up to $2 billion in gold deposits, according to information that is posted on their website. Union Glory Gold is based in Toronto and Hong Kong. It lists the Tudor gold project, an iron ore project in Shefferville, Quebec, and the Addington project, on its website. At their meeting in Denbigh on Monday (November 21) Addington Highlands Council received Patricia Gray’s report on the Flinton gold mine project for information purposes. (Other items from Addington Highlands Council) Free rental for NAEC formal dances Council agreed to provide the Flinton Recreation Centre free of charge for the Christmas and Spring Formals put on by the North Addington Education Centre Student Council. Joel Hasler and Dave Kerr, staff advisers to the student council, wrote to the township making the request because with decreasing enrollment the increasing cost of DJ’s, the students are having trouble breaking even on the dances. New CBO/facilities manager/bylaw officer position created As part of an organisational restructuring process, the township will be hiring a full time Chief Building Official who will also have responsibility for bylaw enforcement and will manage township buildings. Until now it has fallen to members of council to oversee buildings such as the former Denbigh schoolhouse and the Land O’Lakes Family Health Team. Taylor named volunteer of the year, Guardian Pharmacy as Outsanding Business Northbrook’s Robert Taylor, the driving force behind the Land O’Lakes County Music Hall of Fame this past year, has been involved in community activities for many years. Tobia’s Guardian Pharmacy is a core business in Northbook, along with the Bank of Montreal and Foodland stores. They will both be honoured at the township Christmas Dinner next month.