Don Lee says that he is not as sharp as he used to be, his memory is not as good, he can't hear that well, can't see out of one eye, and he has been slowed down by a stroke several years ago. At 95 he still remembers a lot of stories from the past, “but I can't really tell you what happened yesterday,” he says. Since we were interested in the past, that wasn't much of a problem. We also found out after the interview, which took place in midwinter, that Don still operates a chainsaw, and can even use up two full tanks of gas before putting down the saw. Don was born in 1920, in the house where he still lives, on the Ball Road, on a farm that fronts St. Andrews Lake. His father bought the next property over in 1879 and lived in a house there, but this property had the advantage of road access, and after purchasing it and extending the farm to 200 acres, he built a house in 1912. Don was the youngest child in the family, and he attended school at Kennedy school near the family home until he graduated grade 8 at the age of 12. In the midst of the depression there was never a thought of him going on to high school, which would have involved boarding in Sydenham throughout the week. “There was too much to do on the farm and besides money was not easy then,” he recalls. The land in the vicinity of his farm is still covered in open fields, even though there are few operating farms left. “Every farm had cattle when I was young. You could look out the window and see cattle across the lake, the place was clean, there was no brush at all. If land could be worked at all, it was cleared and used. Our whole ambition was to get grass for cattle. Although all the land in the region had been covered in White Pine, which had been cleared for the most part 50 or so years before Don Lee was born, he does remember there were some of the majestic trees left when he was a boy. Mostly it was hard work on the farm in the 20s and 30s. “We had cattle, and sheep and we always had a few pigs,” but they rarely if ever ate beef or lamb. “My dad would slaughter a sow in the fall, and we would preserve the meat in brine. We ate salt pork all winter, which I was not really partial to, I can remember that.” They ate potatoes as well, which they grew in a large garden that was overseen by his mother. “We would put by 25 to 40 bags of potatoes each year, Green Mountains or cobblers, not the small bags but the 100 pound bags, and we grew turnips and carrots and everything else.” They also grew corn, and in the fall they removed the kernels from the heads onto old sheets or old bags and “mother would set them out near the stove for a day or two until they were good and dry and then we would hang them in bags off the rafters for the winter. We did the same with apples.” The day always began with milking and delivering the milk to the cheese factory a few miles away on White Lake Road in a horse drawn wagon. “The milk had to be there by 8, we had to get an early start. But we never got much money for it, just pennies really. My dad used to say that if, when the fall came and he had the money he needed for taxes, and we had four bags of flour for bread and a bag of sugar, he was happy because he knew we would be able to get through the winter all right.” One thing that Don remembers fondly, beyond all the hard work and hardship, was the way people looked after each other back then. “People are pretty good now, I can tell you, but back then we were together all the time. If someone was injured, the neighbours showed up with food, we went out to cut wood, we did whatever had to be done and never thought anything of it at all.” An example of the co-operative economy was the way wood splitting was done. “There was always someone who had some sort of machine to saw up wood. Everyone would bring in wood all fall and winter and pile it up in lengths. In the spring the guy with the machine would come by and say he could make it for a week at some time. Everyone would get together at one farm and work for 6 or 8 hours. They would haul the logs up on a platform where the saw was set up, and they would throw the pieces off it afterwards. Some of the women would gather in the house and put a meal on at noon for everyone. Then we would move to the next farm, and the next, until everyone had their wood cut up, ready for splitting.” In 1934, two things happened to Don Lee. He got his first job, and his first glimpse of a curly, dark haired girl. The job he got was plowing a field for a neighbour, although he had to convince his father that working for someone was a good idea. “When my father was young, his family went through hard times, and he was sent to work on a farm when he was 8. They fed him, but not too well. He told me he used to get ahold of a clean piece of straw and keep it in this pocket. When he milked the cows in the morning he would pull out the straw and sip some milk from the pail when the farmer wasn't looking. So he wasn't keen on me working, but when I told him I was going to be paid 50 cents a day, he said that was all right.” As far as that curly haired girl is concerned, families used to ask Don's father if they could come on to the farm to have picnics on St. Andrews Lake, and he always said yes. One day, as he was fishing with another girl from a nearby farm, he saw a family from Bellrock out on the lake having a picnic. “There was a girl there, she was only 12, but she was a pretty girl, with dark hair just as curly as you can believe.” It took another two years for Don Lee to get to know Gladys Reynolds, but it turned out that she remembered that summer picnic. “I saw you out there,” she told me, “you had another girl with you. What happened to her?” (to be continued)
Although congregants gathered last year to mark the 170th birthday of St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Railton, the Catholic community in Southern Frontenac County has been anchored by St. Patrick's since 1832. At that time, Lawrence Raile sold 6 acres off of the 200 acre property he had purchased in 1824 to the Right Reverend Alexander MacDonnell, the Very Reverend William P. McDonald, and V.G and Walter Mcunniffe, all of Kingston, who acted as Trustees of the Roman Catholic Church of Loughborough, for the sum of 8 pounds. A stone church was built at that location, and became the place of worship for the Irish Catholic immigrants who were beginning to establish farms in the surrounding region. The church has always served the communities of Sydenham and Harrowsmith, and it was common for Catholic Churches to be located a few miles away from Village Centres, to avoid potential conflicts with other denominations, it is unclear why the location in Railton was chosen, although it's location on the 'Nine Mile Road' – the County Road between Kingston and Sydenham now known as Sydenham Road, would have been a factor. Although there are no existing descriptions of the first church at Railton, it's location was between the present church and the parish house that is located a few metres to the south. The original cemetery was located to the rear, and was eventually after the new Cathedral was built in the 1850's, partly because the soil was not deep enough. In 1845 Father Pendergast, who had begun his association with “Loborough, Camden, Mill Creek (Odessa), Portland, and Sheffield” in 1844, presided over the blessing and erection of the Stations of the Cross on Sunday March 23rd, and that is the date that was celebrated as the anniversary of the church. A number of Reverend's were appointed as pastor over the next 12 years. The Reverend Michael Clune came on in 1855, and it was during his tenure that the present church was built. “A receipt dated dated November 17, 1857, was issued for a consideration of 500 pounds, a stone church 40 feet wide and 60 feet long and 26 feet high, to be complete according to plans and specifications of the Catholic Church, the church to be completed by November 1st, 1858.” - Built on a Rock, The story of the Roman Catholic Church in Kingston, 1826 – 1976. It was in the late 1840's that the mass migration of Irish Catholics took place, during what is known as the potato famine. A number of families who survived the deadly passage to Canada, made their way somehow to South Frontenac, and began to build their lives in Loughborough.
Long before it officially became a provincial park in 1965, the flavor of Bon Echo Park had begun to take shape decades earlier, thanks to the influence of three distinct personalities. In a presentation titled "The Dentist, the Feminist and The Writer", local historian Margaret Axford spoke of the influence these three people had on the park, which continues to draw visitors from across the country and from all over the world. The first was the dentist, Dr. Weston A. Price, who was born in Newburgh, Ontario, but who lived and worked in Cleveland, Ohio. Price's wife was from Brampton, Ont. and she taught in Ardoch. In 1898 Price began renting land in what is now Bon Echo in the summer months from a farmer named David Weese. In 1899 the couple acquired land in the area and Price decided to build an inn modeled on the tourist hotels of the Adirondacks. Axford stated, “He [Price] knew that the setting of the Mazinaw Rock would be a natural draw and it was the Prices who gave the name 'Bon Echo' to the area, and who gave birth to tourism in the region.” Price, who was described by one observer at the time as a “wiry man, always rushing somewhere with a hammer in his hand” used local labor to build the inn, which consisted of the main building, five cottages, a separate staff house, a boat house, a laundry house, an ice house, numerous docks and a bridge across the Narrows. By the end of Price's second summer after purchasing the land, the Bon Echo Inn was complete. In 1901 a telephone line that originated at the Kaladar train station and ran along the old Addington Road became the first telephone line in the area. Price hoped to attract like-minded nature lovers to the area, and because he was a teetotaler and a religious man, the inn was dry until Merrill Denison took it over decades later. In 1901, Flora MacDonald Denison arrived on the scene at Bon Echo with her husband Howard and son Merrill, first as guests in the tower room suite of the inn. Axford said that “she would have bought the place at that time if Price had been selling it” but instead she bought a lot south of the Narrows, where she built a summer cottage. Flora and her family would spend the next nine summers there. Flora MacDonald Denison was born in 1867 in Actinolite, worked as a teacher near Actinolite, and as a dressmaker in Toronto. She later was a writer on women's rights and the suffrage movement. It was on her annual trip to Bob Echo in 1910 that Flora learned that Dr. Price wanted to sell the inn. Differing reasons are given for Price's reason for selling. One was that his 10-year-old son Donald was ill at the time; he later died either of spinal meningitis or from a diving accident. Flora paid Dr. Price $13,000 for the inn, Big Bear Island and numerous acres of land, and Flora's husband Howard ran the Inn from 1911-1913 until the two separated and their marriage ended. Flora then took it over and her intent was to create “a haven for artists and philosophers in an inspiring natural landscape with an incredible view of Mazinaw Rock, where visitors could renew their souls, their energies and their creative instincts.” Flora also celebrated the teachings and writings of Walt Whitman, the famed 19th century American poet. According to Axford, Flora “was caught up in his [Whitman's] democratic ideals and she saw Bon Echo as being a symbol of democratic freedom...that would always be enhanced by the spirit of Walt Whitman.” It was Flora who had a large rock face on the lake inscribed with a dedication to “Old Walt”. As a practicing spiritualist and part of a group whose members claimed they could communicate with the dead, Flora held numerous séances at Bon Echo. One observer at the time recalled that guests at Bon Echo “often preferred a séance at midnight to a Sunday morning church service.” Under Flora's command the inn housed many notable guests, including James Thurber, Morley Callahan, Frank Lloyd Wright and the painters from the Group of Seven; the latter would often be guests when Flora's son Merrill took over ownership. Financially the inn ran at a loss, with “Flora's dreams always outstretching her financial capabilities”. Flora died at 54 years of age on May 23, 1921 and a bronze urn holding her ashes was deposited in Mazinaw Lake just below the Whitman inscription. Her son, Merrill Denison, a writer and later a well-known radio personality, inherited the inn and its 10 square miles of property, and began some much-needed repairs. His contacts at Hart House and the Arts and Letters Club in Toronto put him in touch with many famous Canadians artists of the time, many of whom would become regular visitors to Bon Echo. Merrill's partner, Muriel Goggin, whom he would marry in 1926, ran the inn from 1923-1928 “like a general”, and it prospered during this time until the stock market crash of 1929. From then until 1934 it was closed to the public at large and became Camp Mazinaw, a boys' camp for Trinity College School in Port Hope. In 1936 the inn burned down after being struck by lightning. A Toronto woman who was working at the inn at that time, when she was 16 years old, sadly recalled watching it burn. Though the inn was never rebuilt, Merrill and Muriel continued to spend the summers at Bon Echo after selling off some of the land. They kept less than 100 acres for themselves. Merrill's aim still was to preserve the area as “a meeting place as it was for the Alonquins, a center to which people would come to learn and discuss ideas in an inspiring natural surrounding.” In 1959 he turned over the buildings and land to the provincial government to be used as a provincial park. The official ceremony did not take place until 1965. Merrill died in 1975 at the age of 81. Axford ended her presentation defining the legacy that these three personalities left behind for all who continue to visit and enjoy Bon Echo Park. “The legacy they left was that the democratic spirit should prevail and the ordinary person must continue to have access to this wonderful place.” For those wanting a more detailed account of the history of Bon Echo and the personalities who helped to create it, a number of books on the subject are available at the Cloyne Pioneer Museum. They include "The Oxen and The Axe" (Brown, Brumell and Snider), "The Mazinaw Experience: Bon Echo and Beyond" (John Campbell), "Sunset of Bon Echo" (Flora MacDonald Denison), and "Bon Echo: The Denison Years" (Mary Savigny).
In the copy of the "County of a Thousand Lakes" at the Sharbot Lake branch of the Kingston Frontenac Public Library, there is a hand-written note underneath the dedication at the front of the book. The dedication says “This account of the history of Frontenac County is dedicated to the people of the county, to those of past generations who developed a new and empty land ...” and the note says “It wasn't empty – it was invaded by another people searching for wealth, your heritage is theft". The book, which was put together in the late 1970s as a massive community project the likes of which has not been seen in Frontenac County before or since, is certainly scant in its treatment of the Algonquin heritage of Frontenac County. There is a section at the beginning by Ron Vastokas of Trent University that talks about the Algonkians, but it includes a proviso that says, “Since very little archaeology has been done in Frontenac County, ... , a brief outline of the larger area will provide the background for a later consideration of a few specific sites within the county.” He then goes on to talk about the Algonkian speakers who inhabited the Canadian Shield, only considering the pictographs at Mazinaw Rock “as one of the most spectacular” examples of paintings that are attributed to Algonkian shamans. The conclusion that Vastokas draws at the end of his piece is that “at the time of the arrival of European settlers, therefore, the Algonkian hunters and gatherers lived in the harsh environment of the Shield.” Neither the section of the book that is dedicated to settlement nor the section dedicated to Bedford Township make any reference to Algonquins living in the region or reserve lands being set aside for the use of Algonquin families in the vicinity of Crow and Bobs Lake in 1844. The section of the book that concerns Oso district starts with a description of the photo that hangs in the Oso Hall to this day. “Tradition supports the words on the back of the picture which say 'Mr and Mrs Francis Sharbot came up from the Fall River and pitched their tepee on the shores in the year 1830 and gave the lake its name.' They were full blooded Indians of the Mohawk tribe and were considered the best family of Indians in the County of Frontenac, honest and reliable,” says the County of 1000 Lakes in the only direct reference to an Aboriginal family in its 572 pages. In retrospect, it is not a total surprise that a book written at that time would ignore the fact that there were people living in Frontenac County before it was formally 'settled'. Since the County of 1000 Lakes was published, the profile, certainly of the Algonquin people who have roots in the Rideau and Mississippi Valleys, which take up the northern two-thirds of the county, has risen. Events such as the wild rice dispute in the early 1980s, the establishment of community organisations and later First Nations structures such as the Ardoch and later the Sharbot Lake Algonquins, the Algonquin Land Claim process, as well as court rulings about inherent rights and the duty to consult, have changed the politics of Frontenac County. Much of Frontenac County, is now recognised as being part of the Algonquin Land claim, which has been slowly progressing since 1994. The personal history of Doreen Davis, who has been chief of the Shabot Obaadjiwan (formerly Sharbot Lake Algonquins) ever since 1999 and the regional Algonquin Nation Representative at the land claim table, has taken many twists and turns just as her community has. Chief Doreen (no one seems to call her Chief Davis) is a born and raised Frontenac County resident who attended Sydenham High School, lived on Desert Lake Road and raised a family. Hers is also the story of an Algonquin who was born on the shores of Sharbot Lake, a direct descendant of Francis and Mary Sharbot who talks about hunting and fishing all her life just as her ancestors have for centuries and centuries. “We have archaeological records from Bobs and Sharbot Lakes of a presence going back to 3000 to 1000 BC and 900 to 1500 AD, over 30 sites at Bob's Lake alone, that establish our presence. The only time we scattered was during the Iroquois wars prior to 1701". While there is little written history of Algonquin presence in the region prior to the settlement era of the mid 19th century, what little there is, including a map of the 3,700 acre Bedford tract, bears out her version of events. She has records from the Benjamin Tett trading post at Battersea in the 1840s and 1850s with entries about trades for furs with Algonquin trappers from Frontenac County. “Benjamin Tett had a trading post for the Algonquins. John Antoine, Joe Mitchell, all members of this community took in stuff and traded there. It shows that we were in Battersea; it shows you that we were there. I even have, in storage, some of the slips from the store." There is reference in records dated as early as 1817 to Peter Shawanapinessi, also known as Peter Stephens, who was identified as a chief who used land in the South Sherbrooke, Oso and Bedford area as winter hunting grounds, and petitioned for and was granted the Bedford tract. Other families included the Michels, Clemos (Clement) Antwins (Antoine), Buckshots and Whiteducks from Cross or Crotch Lake. A document from Joan Holmes, a genealogist who works with the Algonquins of Ontario – the umbrella group negotiating the Algonquin Land Claim, comes to the following conclusion: “In summary, correspondence, church and census records covering the period from 1842 to 1863 indicate that the ancestors of the Ardoch Algonquins were leading a semi-nomadic life in the townships of Bedford, Oso, South Sherbrooke and Palmerston ... they had license of occupation to a tract of land in Bedford Township where they attempted rudimentary agriculture. However their occupation of that land was made untenable by lumber cutting. Their main source of support was gained from the traditional pursuits of hunting, trapping, fishing and gathering, which they carried out in remote areas north of the Rideau River system.” According to Doreen Davis, while the records are stronger for the Bedford Algonquins, “there were other families throughout, in Oso, in Ardoch, in Lanark, in Renfrew, all over. We knew about it, but it was never written down. Even though Francis and Mary Sharbot were born at Oka, that is true, she was a Nicik, and there are records of the Niciks in Frontenac going back to the 1700s,” she said. Doreen Davis lives with her husband on a property that is close to where she was born, perched between Sharbot Lake and the Fall River. She presides over a large extended family of children and grandchildren. She spends a lot of her time in the Shabot Obaadjiwan office at the Snell Complex on Highway 7, when she is not in Pembroke at the Algonquin Nation Office or in meetings throughout the Ottawa Valley. Her grandmother Margaret, who was Mary and Francis Sharbot's grand-daughter, lived on the farm where Doreen lived when she was a child. “I grew up knowing that I was Algonquin. My grandmother said to say I was a Blackfoot or to say nothing. The reason was that we did not want to be known as Mohawks, because that was dangerous, and no one knew about the Algoquins, so it was best to keep quiet. We moved to Joyceville and then Harrowsmith, where I went to school. I used to come back each weekend, to spend the weekend back here, where we hunted and fished. We farmed and hunted and fished, just like everyone else in those days.” If she has a regret about those years it was that she did not pay as much attention as she would have liked to all the knowledge about the use of herbs that her grandmother showed. “I did what she told, gathered herbs and bottled things and all that but I never paid enough attention.” The Algonquin connections that have characterized her life were all extended family connections. “We have always been connected, through marriage and everything else, and when we gathered as family those were Algonquin gatherings. We may not have talked about it, and it was never something that made life easier for us, but that was the way it was,” she said. “The more people knew you were native, and this was true for the Badour's and all of us, the more shit-kicking you took. It wasn't smart to make a big deal about it; it still isn't today. That was the way it was.” In the 1980s when Algonquin politics started to ramp up she was involved, but not in a leadership role. That all changed in 1994. “I had a nervous breakdown, two breakdowns actually in 1992 and 1993, from a lot of things. In 1994 I went to one of the first land claim meetings, and I was very nervous to be there because I had not been out of my house for a very long time. There was a mask, it was of a face made out of leather and it was pulled back like the wind. It was made by a woman I never met before and never saw again, and it was raffled off. I couldn't take my eyes off the mask and I bought one ticket for 25 cents and I won it. She then sat with me and asked me if I had any idea what this mask represents and I said no. She said it's pulling you from your past and you can still see the future. I said okay, not really knowing what that meant either at the time, and she said, now you have a responsibility. She said you have to lead your people. I said I can't get up in the morning by myself; there is no way I can lead people. She said, 'Well you will, you will dear'”. That fall she was elected to the Sharbot Lake committee for the land claim. “It totally changed my life. I don't know how and I don't know why but I don't even question it anymore,” she said. In 1999 she went on to become Chief of the Shabot Obaadjiwan and has remained in that position ever since. She has been twice selected as Algonquin Nation Representative to the land claim. As the land claim progresses, and Algonquins gain back rights that have been long lost, there are two important issues about those rights that she talks about. “Rights come with responsibilities. That's the first thing, and there are no individual rights, they are collective rights. To say I have rights to take that deer or take that fish, I don't. I have the right to sustain my life, but I only have Aboriginal rights as part of a community, not for myself. This is what we have to tell ourselves and communicate to everyone else, and this is what the land claim settlement is all about.” There are a lot of politics connected to the land claim, including opposition from both Algonquins and other groups with an interest in the land. Internal to the claim itself, an appeal has removed a number of Shabot Obaadjiwan members from the land claim approval voting list, but Chief Doreen said that those people have never stopped being members of the Shabot Obaadjiwan. “That appeal changed nothing in our community, and it does not mean they will not be on the beneficiary list, that has not been determined yet. You can't change who someone is, their identity, because a piece of paper from 200 years ago is unclear. We know who we are, we always have,” she said. The Shabot Obaadjiwan are moving their office soon to a property they own on Hwy. 7 west of Arden, and are building a community centre on some property on White Lake near the MNR fish hatchery. Chief Doreen continues to work on the Algonquin Land Claim.
The Ompah Fire Department and Community Center are celebrating the Grand Opening of their newly renovated buildings on Saturday, June 27. It is a triple celebration as the Ompah Fire Department also celebrates its 40th anniversary and the Emergency First Response Team (EFR) celebrates their 20th anniversary of service to the community. The whole thing started as a response to community emergencies. In 1974 Harnden’s General Store in Ompah had a fire. The nearest fire department was in McDonalds Corners, and they responded, but by the time they arrived the store was a total loss. It was then that the community decided that Ompah needed its own fire department. In 1975 Harnden’s donated the land. No funding was available so folks got together and built the community center section of the hall to support fundraising activities. Soon, enough money was raised to build the front two bays of the existing fire hall. Both structures were built by volunteers and most of the materials were donated, a true community response. The first fire truck was a gas truck donated to the fire department. It was modified to spread water on the roads and, with a pump mounted on the back, to use as a tank truck to take to fires. On its return from a mechanical fitness test in Sharbot Lake, the road construction crew on Highway 509 hired the truck to keep the dust down. If it was needed for a fire, it was free to go. This helped raise funds for the fire department and community hall. The first pumper was purchased in 1980 and a replacement tanker was purchased in 1981. In 1994 there was a fire at Sinclair’s Snowmobile Service Station. Our fire department was ready and able to fight the fire and saved the building. However, in the process of fighting the fire, the fire chief suffered a heart attack. It took a long time for the ambulance to arrive and it was apparent that emergency medical treatment was needed here in Ompah. As a result, the Emergency First Response Team was formed. They practice twice monthly to be able to capably respond to medical emergencies in the community. Over the years additions were made to the building to make them more efficient and more useful to the community. The back bay, office and washroom were added to the fire hall. The kitchen, bathrooms, and storage joined the community center along with the adjoining library. However by 2015, the whole building no longer fit the needs of a modern fire department or community center. This last year has been spent upgrading the interior and exterior and creating a much more useful and attractive building, parking area and green space. The spirit of community is apparent in all aspects of the history of the fire department. Members of the community have eagerly come forward to help raise money, to volunteer their time and skills to build and renovate, and many have volunteered to serve the community as dedicated members of the fire department and community center. The fire fighters and EFR Team train twice monthly and are on call 24/7 – to serve our community when the need arises. Everyone is welcome to join in the celebrations. At 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 27 a cottage/house safety workshop will take place in the community center followed by the official ribbon cutting and mayor’s remarks at noon. Lunch, cake and ice cream will be available in the community center, compliments of the township and provided by the Clar-Mill Community Volunteers. Fire department equipment and the renovated fire hall and community center will be available for viewing in the afternoon.
The 11th annual Buck Lake Boatilla to raise funds for Easter Seals Camp Merrywood commences at 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 4, at the culvert on the south branch of Buck Lake. All forms of watercraft are welcome. The event will feature a tour of the lake, followed by a complementary barbeque at Hidden Valley Campground at 3 p.m., and a checque presentation to Easter Seals. What began as an attempt to raise enough money to send one child with physical disabilities to camp quickly became a large event within the community involving local, regional, and even international contributions. Buck Lake resident, Pat Haggerty said, “Our Community Watch organization wanted to give something charitable back to the community, so we decided to work with Easter Seals, specifically for Camp Merrywood. We wanted to provide an opportunity for children and youth with physical disabilities to do the things that we do here at Buck Lake – sailing, fishing, canoeing, and having campfires.” During their first event in 2005, the Buck Lake community raised over $3700, and was able to send one child to camp. Over 10 years later, the Boatilla continues, and it has raised over $135,000 to date, sending 64 children to camp. Last year along, $2,700 was raised, enough to send 10 kids to camp. “The dedication and enthusiasm of the Buck Lake community is really extraordinary,” said Jessica Kostuck, Fundraising Specialist for Easter Seals Ontario. “Camp Merrywood’s programs and activities help kids develop a strong sense of self-esteem, achievement, and confidence. The annual Buck Lake Boatilla exemplifies the spirit of Camp Merrywood, and is a delight for local Easter Seals families and supporters alike.” “Our success wouldn’t be possible without the outstanding support of the community,” stated Don Hopkins, Buck Lake resident and event organizer. “We are a small community, but we extend well beyond the lake. We’ve had fundraising efforts come in from as far as Lancaster and Toronto, the event even reaches out internationally to Pennsylvania. Over the years, donations have come in from local businesses, in areas such as Kingston, Belleville, Verona, Westport and Glenburnie, to mention a few”. “Sending children with physical disabilities to Camp Merrywood has always been our objective, and all of the funds raised go towards meeting that goal,” said community member Duncan Sinclair. “The event also helps to develop our community as well, and really gets our members involved and contributing to a great cause.”
What a difference a week makes. Ben Greenhouse, from NextEra said this week that the company is considering changes to its North Point 2 project as the result of the unequivocal statement by North Frontenac that they are an “unwilling host” for wind power projects. While he would not say that North Point 2, which is now set for Addington Highlands and North Frontenac, will be adjusted in order to bypass North Frontenac entirely, he said it is a possibility. As of early this week, North Point 1, which is entirely based in North Frontenac, is still a project that NextEra is planning to submit, along with North Point 2, to the Independent Energy Service Operator (IESO) under a call for proposal for renewable energy procurement in. When Greenhouse, along with his colleague Ben Faiella, appeared at a special meeting of Addington Highlands Council a week earlier, they answered questions about the companies financial offer to the township, which included a Community Vibrancy of $1,750 per megawatt of power produced by them in the township. Maps were available at thT meeting and are now posted at nexteraenergycanada.com under the “Proposed Projects” tab in the middle of the home. Councilor Tony Fritsch asked why the vibrancy fund offer is is contingent on the township passing a motion expressing support for the project. “When we calculate our bid, the value of municipal support is weighed in, and if we don't have that, our calculations change. If we win the contract without municipal support, we can come back to council and talk about a different vibrancy fund, but for now it is contingent on the motion of support,” said Greenhouse. Fritsch also pointed out that for other projects, the value of community vibrancy funds paid out by NextEra has been as high as $3,500 per MW, double what is being offered to Addington Highlands Greenhouse said that the larger payments took place under earlier procurements for wind power, when the amount paid to the producer of the power was much higher. “This time it is a competitive process, the upper limit is $115.00 per MW/hr,” said Greenhouse, “and the winner will have to come in somewhere under that, so there is not as much financial room left.” The township will be making a formal counter offer to NextEra's initial community vibrancy fund offer on June 29th. Tony Fritsch made a motion that the counter offer include a community vibrancy fund of $3,500 per MW, double what NextEra is offering. Council unanimously supported Fritsch's motion. “If we don't ask for more, we'll never get more,” said Councillor Bill Cox) (Note – a front page photo in last week's edition incorrectly identified Ben Faiella as Ben Greenhouse)
(Note - this article was editerd on June 11 to reflect a decision made by North Frontenac Council on June 10th) On June 10th, North Frontenac Council passed a resolution declaring the township an "unwilling host" for the NextEra wind power projects, nothPoint 1 and Northpoint 2. It was a unanimous vote among the 7 member Council. The company had offered a sweetener for municipal support for the project, in the form of a community vibrancy fund that would have been worth as much as $200,000 per year for 20 years, in addition to a projected increase in tax revenue of more than $100,000 per year. The money was available under two conditions: the township needed to pass a motion supporting the project; and NextEra’s bid for the project needs to be a winner in the procurement process that has been set out by Ontario’s Independent Energy Service Operator (IESO). The motion that was proposed to Council at a Special meeting on Wednesday night (June 10) was crafted by Mayor Ron Higgins, and when contacted on Tuesday he said that he has been talking to members of Council about the NextEra proposal and is confident his stance will be endorsed by the entire Council. “There were many red flags about this proposal as far as North Frontenac is concerned, starting with the fact that instead of being approached by the company we initially read about it in the newspaper in early March. It also involves major construction and conflicts with the entirely different economic development strategy we have been developing,” he said. “and beyond that our residents have voiced their opposition in large numbers.” The NextEra bid to IESO can proceed without municipal support; however the statement that North Frontenac is not a willing host will cost NextEra valuable ranking points in the procurement process, which will make it difficult for them to compete with bidders in “willing” townships While the municipal support provision was included in the latest wind energy procurement process to provide for some local input, it does not go as far as granting municipalities any authority to approve or reject proposals. In spite of Council's decision, NextEra could still submit a winning bid, and the turbines would be built in North Frontenac. In that case all that North Frontenac Council will have accomplished by stating they were “not a willing host” will be to lose up to $10 million in revenue over 20 years. It is this fact that led North Frontenac Mayor Ron Higgins to write a letter of complaint to Premier Wynne. “Ultimately it is the way the province set up this process that has put us in this position. I thought it was important to explain our position to them and to add our voice to those municipalities who oppose the way the Green Energy Act has been formulated and implemented,” said Higgins about the letter. The letter asks the Premier and the Minister of Energy to change course and begin to work with local municipalities more directly. In the conclusion to the letter, Higgins wrote, “We implore the Minister of Energy to take this resolution and similar resolutions from other municipalities very seriously. Like us, you were elected to office to set policy and support the people who put you in these positions. If the policy is flawed, as it is in this case, then fix it. The Government of Ontario has stated they are going to provide more focused support for rural municipalities. The support you can give us now is by supporting our resolution, which would help us stay focussed on our strategic direction and our vision. It may take us longer to accomplish our goals rather than accepting this temptation put in front of us today, but we will be a much better and sustainable community long into the future.” (For more detail in the wind power projects thata re proposed in North Frontenac and Addington Highlands - http://www.frontenacnews.ca/north-frontenac-news/item/9482-councils-job-no-breeze-questions-for-nextera
Residents who live on the Raymo Road were happy to hear that even though the Township of Central Frontenac was unable to provide a vehicle passage over Fish Creek where two culverts collapsed two weeks ago for liability reasons, at least a walkway was going to be put in. Kyle Labbett, public works supervisor, said at a meeting of Council last Tuesday (June 23) that, “A walkway that will be suitable for someone pushing a stroller will be put in.” However, instead of making it easier to walk over the road, the township ended up blocking the way completely with cement forms, even putting up a berm to discourage any kind of traffic. “This is the opposite of what they said they were going to do at the meeting,” said Steve McCullough, who lives on the Raymo Road. “They made it harder to walk over the road, not easier.” When contacted, Kyle Labbett said that the planned walkway hit a snag when crews went to put it in late last week. “We had planned to smooth out a path on the west side of the roadway, but when the backhoe went to do the work, a sinkhole developed between the two pipes. At that point we realized there was no safe way to put in a walkway, so we had to block off the road. Again it is a matter of liability,” he said. With the road now fully blocked off, Labbett said the township is scrambling to put in a final fix as soon as possible. He said that they were able to get a geo-technical study done in two days, when it usually takes up to a month, and the engineering work is proceeding. He expects to have a proposal ready for Council approval within a week or so. Mayor Frances Smith said that Council will hold a special meeting as soon as staff is ready to provide options, including costs and time lines, for the repair. In the meantime, the only way to cross Fish Creek from Raymo Road is to go south, take Echo Lake to Oak Flats Road and come out to Road 38 at Piccadilly. The Raymo Road culverts were inspected in 2013, as part of a bi-annual inspection of all bridges and major culverts in the township. It was determined that it had one to four years of life left in it and was slated for reconstruction in 2018. On the day that the road caved in, trucks from Crains' Construction were carrying rocks to repair a CP rail crossing on the Raymo Road. “Crains' is not responsible for what happened,” said Labbett. “There are no load restrictions on Central Frontenac roads.”
For her final year as chair, it was not a surprise that at this year's Relay for Life opening ceremonies, which took place on June 20 at the Parham fairgrounds, Lesley Merrigan called Tonya Eastman to the stage and dedicated the 2015 Relay to Eastman's mother, Claire Macfarlane, whom Merrigan called the First Lady of the North and Central Frontenac Relay for Life. Together they unfurled a banner recognizing Claire for her efforts as the Parham relay's founder and the person who inspired Merrigan to take the torch and run with it. Merrigan has led the charge with much poise and dedication over her four years as chair. This year's relay was her first since Claire passed away just one month ago on May 20, and it was an emotional one for Lesley. The relay took place under sunny skies and a total of 15 teams and 152 participants took part. Past relays were all-night events that took place from dusk to dawn. This was the first 12-hour relay and it proved to be a moving and memorable one, with a stellar line up of local musicians entertaining the relayers and a number of fun activities that took place. Emceed by Jim MacPherson and Lindsay Fox, the opening ceremonies included a number of guest speakers. Central Frontenac Mayor, Frances Smith, spoke, saying how small communities are making a huge contribution to cancer research and support for local residents. Penny Cota was this year's survivor speaker and following her speech a mass of yellow-shirted survivors took to the field, making the first lap to the sounds of Shawn McCullough's original and fitting tune titled “Fight”. Doug Kane, unit manager at the Kingston Lennox and Addington Canadian Cancer Society (CCS), thanked the participants and explained exactly how the funds raised stay in the local community and fund prevention programs and screening, advocacy programs, information services, peer support and transportation services. He cited statistics like the fact that in 2014 in Frontenac Lennox and Addington, the CCS funded over 5600 trips for cancer patients, covering 157,000kms. Chris O'Callahan, senior investigator with the National Cancer Institute of Canada, a research and clinical trials group based out of Queens University in Kingston and a national scientific research program of the Canadian Cancer Society, spoke in depth about his organization's work, which includes trials of new drugs, new surgeries and new treatments and how these trials that run nationally and internationally are helping to make advances in cancer research and survivor outcomes. While this year will be Merrigan's last as chair, she was quick to add that her days of helping are definitely not over. She thanked the participants and the sponsors and said that this community continues to “blow her away with their overwhelming support and generosity for this event”. This year's Relay raised $45,200, and including this year’s total, since 2007 the North and Central Frontenac Relay for Life has raised over $452,000 for the Canadian Cancer Society.
Ottawa Valley-based singer songwriter Craig Cardiff not is only a gifted performer but he also has a unique ability to encourage and inspire youngsters. The singer/songwriter was invited to perform and hold workshops at Land O'Lakes Public School on June 23 by Kathy Bateman, the student support teacher at the school. The event was made possible thanks in part to a grant the school received from Blue Skies in the Community, whose mandate is to bring music appreciation and opportunities to students in North and Central Frontenac. Cardiff, who performs regularly across Canada and the United States, engaged the students by showing them how they too can write their own songs. “I remember as a youngster being inspired by musicians who visited my school and my goal with this workshop and performance is to help inspire students; to get them to write a song so they can realize that it's not hard and to hopefully spark a musical interest in them”, he said when I interviewed him as he was setting up his gear in the school gym. Cardiff, who has been playing since he was very young, began by performing a number of his own original songs, tunes like “Safe Here” and “Love is Louder”. At just 38 years old he has 20 albums under his belt and he easily captured the attention of the appreciative audience. First he spoke about what inspires his own lyrics and next he taught them the choruses of his tunes, inviting them to raise their hands and sway in time to the music as they sang. Next he invited a student, five-year-old Keegan to the stage, who helped Cardiff write a song about the latter's love for trucks and cars, which included lyrics like, “I love jacking up trucks and taking the tires off, installing roll bars”, and another that told of how “monster truck drivers are safely strapped in under six seat belts”. Cardiff invited a second student, five-year-old Keeley to the stage and together they composed a song on a topic close to her heart - princesses. The song included lyrics offered up by Keeley, one line about Bambi, the prince of the forest, and another about Cinderella's two very rude sisters. Between the songs the students had a chance to question Cardiff and he answered a wide range of questions with “Yes, I like cheese and no, I am not rich,” though he did mention that his craft does pay the bills and feed his family. He answered many more questions on the topic of music, including what inspires him, who his favorite singer is (Paul Simon), and his thoughts about fame and when and how he got started. To wrap up the performance and prior to working one on one with the students, Cardiff sang a medley of some of his favorite tunes from Paul Simon's Graceland. The students were no doubt inspired by Cardiff's performance and you can bet that many family members were treated to a few original compositions before the day was out. For more information and to sample some of Craig's music visit his website at www.craigcardiff.com.
Local politicians, visitors from other social service agencies, and members of the business community were well represented at Southern Frontenac Community Services’ (SFCS) AGM on June 24, which was held once again this year in the morning in order to accommodate the schedules of most of those in attendance. Breakfast was served at 7:30 and the meeting started up at 8:00 in order to be wrapped before 9:00 last Wednesday. A few milestones were marked at this, the 26th anniversary of the agency. Joan Cameron, who has been the board chair for six years, stepped down as chair and retired from the board. As was pointed out by the new board chair, Nona Mariotti, Cameron's legacy at SFCS is exemplified in the Grace Centre, where the meeting was held. It was Cameron who was the driving force in the development of the centre as a multi-purpose space that is used both for SFCS programming and administration as well as for public use as an arts centre, breathing life into the former United Church building. In her final remarks, Cameron commended the efforts of the board in developing a governance model. She also reported that the agency has enjoyed its best year both in terms of service and finances. Mariotti, who has chaired the Adult Services Committee of the agency and has been involved in developing and publicising events at the Grace Centre, takes over a six-member board, which is looking for three members to restore a full complement, including a new treasurer. In his remarks to the membership, Executive Director David Townsend thanked the agency’s staff and talked about some of the new programming that SFCS has engaged in, including a homelessness initiative, as well as a palliative care counselling service for families throughout Frontenac County. Tom Whiteman, then made a presentation on behalf of the United Way of Kingston Frontenac Lennox and Addington, of which he is a board member. He presented one of the agency’s annual Volunteer of the Year awards to John Trousdale. He said that Trousdale had been nominated by SFCS, which is a United Way member agency, and that when looking at the breadth of support he has provided to the agency and to the community of Sydenham, “It was very easy for us to make a decision.” While many of John Trousdale’s contributions in Sydenham are well known, he has remained in the background over the 26-year history of SFCS, but on numerous occasions when there were either opportunities or crises, he has come through with a helping hand, either though in-kind or cash donations or by providing strategic advice. Whiteman said that in recognition of his award, people in the community should “give John a hug”, something that Mayor Vandewal attempted to do later on without much success. Perhaps a simple handshake would suffice. The keynote speech at the AGM was delivered by Donna Segal, the Chair of the Board of Directors for the South East Local Health Integration Network (SELHIN), which acts for the Ontario Ministry Health in funding hospitals, long-term care facilities, the Community Care Access Centre (CCAC), and also community support service agencies, of which SFCS is one. Segal said that the SELHIN spends about $1 billion annually, and one of its goals is to ensure that money is spent wisely and that service providers work together to provide “patient-centred care”, to cover all service gaps for patients and to avoid duplication of service. She said that the SELHIN spends the second most money per capita among the 14 LHINS throughout Ontario on hospitals, the third most on long-term care, and the highest amount on home care, but the lowest amount per capita on community support services. SFCS has been advocating for increases in its own funding from the LHIN for its popular Adult Day Program for the frail elderly. Segal did not say if changes are coming to community support services funding, but she did indicate that the CCAC system, which provides nursing and other home services, may be seeing major changes in the near future.
A capacity crowd breakfasted and networked at the Frontenac Community Futures Development Corporation’s (FCFDC) Annual General Meeting at the Verona Lions hall on June 18. Board chair Jan Dines introduced the organization’s board, staff, and committee members as well as the attending dignitaries and guests speakers. Following the elections, Dines let the numbers speak for the organization, whose mandate is to provide business counseling and loans to support small business growth, which they continue to do successfully. In the past fiscal year, 2014-2015, a total of $1,232,751 in loans was dispersed, the most ever for the organization, and that included 29 new loans. These loan values have increased by 17.36% in the past year, and the impact from the loans on jobs has been substantial. Last year they created 14 new full-time jobs, five new part-time jobs, and maintained an additional 72. Dines spoke of the organization’s recent new partnerships with Launch Lab, Futurpreneur and St. Lawrence College. She spoke of the FCFDC's strategic plans and how these strategies continue to be met by supporting local businesses, vibrant communities, tourism and accommodation, awareness of services offered and FAB (the food and beverage region). Following Dines’ talk, a number of guest speakers who have benefited from support from the FCFDC made presentations. The first was Ian Stutt of Patchwork Gardens, a certified organic farm and CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) business located in Battersea. Loans from the FCFDC enabled Patchwork Gardens to purchase new equipment, build new infrastructure, and to explore marketing and branding to grow the business, which supports two families. Ian gave a history of the farm and its growth since he began farming in 2004 and he thanked the staff at the FCFDC and board members for their ongoing support over the years. Cindy Cassidy, manager of the Eastern Ontario Trails Alliance and Anne Marie Young, manager of economic development with the County of Frontenac, spoke about the FCFDC loans that have supported local trail development throughout the county. Lastly, Scott Runte of Launch Lab, a provincially funded regional innovation center that provides business advice and support to entrepreneurs throughout Ontario through 17 centers, spoke about how the organization, in partnership with the FCFDC, assists entrepreneurs. Launch Lab is all about entrepreneurs helping entrepreneurs and staff work one on one with new businesses owners, helping them to grow and succeed. Runte spoke of the often lonely and difficult road that new business owners face and how Launch Lab can offer much needed support and advice when they are just starting out. Wrapping up the meeting were a number of presentations made to board members leaving the organization, after which the guests had an opportunity to mingle and network. For more information about the loans and other support services that the FCFDC offers, visit www.frontenaccfdc.com or call 613-372-1414.
The stepped concrete wall below the recent addition to Sydenham High has been transformed, thanks to the work of Darryl Silver of Silverbrook Garden Centre, just west of Sydenham. Soon after our article about the wall was published in the Frontenac News (May 14), Silver was approached by a school board representative who asked him to submit a tender for the job. He inspected the wall and researched wild parsnip before he tendered. Once his bid was accepted Silver went to work wearing full protective gear including heavy rubber gloves. Working through what’s already the busiest time of year for a garden centre, Silver dug on the wall mornings and evenings to first get rid of the parsnip. He removed two and a half truckloads of the plants; “Some, especially on the north part of the wall, had already grown over a metre tall, and their thick tap roots were almost as long,” he said. Fortunately the weed had not yet blossomed or set seed so Silver piled it on his own property to compost down. After that his summer employee, Kallista Smith, joined the work. She had only one slight brush with parsnip, but still has the scars to show for it. Silver found that in some places there was more gravel than soil, and although a lot of good nursery stock was uncovered during the clean-out, very little thought had apparently gone into the actual placement of the plant material. He has filled in the bare spots with hardy perennials, and added groupings of celosia in the school colours for touches of brightness. Fortunately, his contract includes ongoing upkeep of the wall, for fresh weeds will soon sprout from the disturbed soil. “I was amazed by the numbers of people who stopped and commented,” Silver said; “one man even offered to volunteer. People were so delighted with the results that it made my job feel worthwhile. The village really does have a lot of community spirit.”
Verona Lions Club will be hosting the 64th Annual Verona Lions Jamboree at the Verona Lions Centre, 4504 Sand Road, from July 9 to July 11. Starting on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings, canteen and rides will open at 5pm. The bingo pavilion and other Verona Lions’ activities open at 6:30pm. Once again this year the Bingo Pavilion will have one grand prize bingo game worth over $100 during each evening. The Verona Lions Jamboree Raffle will be drawing three prizes, one each evening. The first draw will be on Thursday at 10pm for a prize worth $400. The second draw will be on Friday at 10pm for a prize worth $600. The final draw will be on Saturday at 10pm for a prize worth $1000. Tickets can be purchased from any Lion member, Mom’s Restaurant, Asselstine Hardware and Verona Hardware. Established in 1949, the Verona Lions Club is a non-profit organization. Funds raised go to programs for the blind, hearing, diabetes and also for many local needs.
Taxes to remain stable, on an upward curve Frontenac County ratepayers will not see large increases in the county portion of their tax bill in coming years. However, as long as the Consumer Price Index goes up, so will taxes, but at a little higher rate. Frontenac County Council approved a budget policy that sets as a target the annualized Consumer Price Index (CPI) in Ontario from August of each year, and adds an extra 0.65% per year for the next 10 years to pay towards a capital sustainability reserve. That reserve fund is in place to cover for ageing infrastructure, such as the county office complex in Glenburnie. While the budget process will require that each department demonstrate that it requires the extra money to maintain the level of service they offered in the previous year, the over-riding assumption of the process is that the increase will be necessary. If the budget deviates from the target in one department, the needs of other departments will be looked at, followed by the replenishing of various reserve funds that may have been depleted over time. Only once all of those factors are considered would the possibility of setting a lower tax rate be put forward. Similarly, if the needs of the departments exceed the target, reserve funds will be used as much as possible to keep the county from levying an increase above the target. “In general it is preferable to plan for stable increases in county taxation, rather than a roller coaster ride where the levy can swing up and down,” said Chief Administrative Officer Kelly Pender. “That way the lower-tier councils and, ultimately, the ratepayers, can make their own financial plans without fear of surprises coming from the county.” The 0.65% added levy was adopted by County Council last year after completing an asset management plan, as called for by the provincial government, in an effort to avoid large costs over the long term. The county has less infrastructure than most, if not all other counties in Ontario, because with municipal amalgamation the county roads system was divested to the local municipalities. The only water treatment plant in Frontenac County is in Sydenham and it is owned and managed by South Frontenac Township. Frontenac County ratepayers pay the county rate in addition to the rates set by their own municipality and the rate set by the Ministry of Education for school taxes. The county rate is applied equally to each property owner based on the assessed value of their property as determined by the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC). County supports maintaining Land Information Ontario: People who visit Frontenac County maps at frontenacmaps.ca will notice that, when zooming in to near ground level, some of features from the past tend to linger on the mapping. That is because, until recently, the digital imagery that is the base layer of Frontenacmaps.ca was from 2008. That all changed earlier this year when new imagery, produced in 2014, replaced the 2008 imagery. That six-year cycle of new imagery is a produced by Land Information Ontario, a division of the Ministry of Natural Resources, and sold to municipalities. Because of the economy of scale offered by a service that is province-wide in scope, smaller, rural municipalities such as Frontenac County pay less for imagery than they would otherwise, according to a report to Frontenac County Council by David Millard, the county’s manager of Information Systems. “In 2014, the County acquired 5,727 sq. km. of imagery through DRAPE (Digital Raster Acquisition Project - East), at a cost of $17,473,” Millard wrote in his report. The report recommended that the County send a letter to the province to urge them to renew the mandate for Land Information Ontario beyond 2017. The imagery is of use to planning and building departments on a township level, and helps with bylaw enforcement as well. The County is going to send the letter urging the province to keep Land Information Ontario in place.
A total of 13 locations opened their doors to curious history buffs at the special Doors Open event, which took place on June 13 to celebrate 150 years in Frontenac County. At the Railway Heritage Park in Sharbot Lake, members of the Central Frontenac Railway Heritage Society greeted visitors to the caboose, which offers visual and written information about the area’s unique railway history. They served guests lunch and refreshments and want to get the word out that they are looking for new members and volunteers to assist them with their many ongoing projects. For information please call 613-279-2777 At the Bradshaw Schoolhouse near Tichborne, guests had a chance to meet former teachers and their relatives at the quaint and lovingly preserved one-room schoolhouse where Richard Webster greeted guests. Visitors included Marilyn Meeks, who supply taught at the school for one year in the late 1960s, filling in for a teacher taking maternity leave. She remembers the school with fondness and recalled how the older students assisted the teachers by minding the younger students while the teacher did her best to cover school curriculum for all ages. Also visiting was Daniel Hayes, whose grandmother Daisy (Margaret) Hayes taught at the school between 1916 and 1919, prior to marrying Edward Hayes, who at the time was a telegraph operator at the CP Station in Tichborne. Daisy trained as a teacher at Sharbot Lake's Normal School (teachers’ college) prior to taking the post at Bradshaw. Other locations included in the Doors Open event included sites in and around North, Central, and South Frontenac and the Islands.
Taylor Salmond has been a quiet leader at North Addington Education Centre, but when things need doing the students and staff at the school know who to look to. She has used her skills in Volleyball to set up lunchtime mentoring sessions with elementary panel students in the school and ran clinics in her spare periods. She was the treasurer of the Student Council last year and president this year, and organised fundraisers, charity events and more. She is also an active community volunteer and her grades have been very high as well. She has maintained a 90% average over her entire high school career and won numerous proficiency awards. Austin Fuller is a guitarist, an A student, a volunteer firefighter, and is good at fabrication. At NAEC he was a music teacher for younger students all through high school, has supervised summer students at Bon Echo, performed at the Denbigh Music Fest, and met his obligations to the Ward 1 fire department - all while attaining a Special Skills Major in Construction with an 86% overall average. This year he has been participating in a dual credit program in Automotive techniques at Loyalist, where he is planning to attend college next year in the Welding and Fabrication Program Last year, Taylor Meeks won the award as the best all around student at Granite Ridge. He has also played varsity basketball, soccer, volleyball and track, and he won the coaches award for Basketball in 2014. He has coached in the Northern Area Basketball League for elementary-aged students, was one of the student guides when Granite Ridge was introduced to the community last year, and has been an important member of the Student Council for the last two years. His voice is known to the entire school community because he is one of the morning announcment team at Granite Ridge.
This Saturday June 13, at 14 locations throughout Frontenac County, community and historical groups will be participating in a Doors Open event to showcase their communities' history and mark the 150th Anniversary of the county. Among those locations is the community of Arden, where the Kennebec Hall will be the focal point of events. The Kennebec Historical Society will be spreading their materials out in the hall. There are artifacts, documents, and an interesting display of historic photos. One new item that has come the historical society's way by virtue of the growing co-operation between groups in Central Frontenac is a binder that was given to them by the Railway Heritage Committee in Sharbot Lake, which will have its caboose open for Open Doors as well. The binder contains photos and documents about the closing of the Ardendale station. Among the features of the day, which runs from 10-4, will be a performance by Adrian O'Connell from 1 to 1:30pm. He will be singing historical ballads to entertain the audience. The Frontenac Trappers Federation as well as The Friends of Arden will also have a display and the canteen will be open. Just across from the community hall, the Arden Legion has put together a historical display as well. Also the Arden Artisans: Arden Batik, Arden Pottery and Gallery on the Bay will all be open. As mentioned, Arden is but one of 14 communities from the top to bottom of the vast County who will be hosting Doors Open events. From the Pioneer Museum in Cloyne to the historic Vanluven House (now a fishing lodge) in Battersea, there will be a lot to see in Frontenac County this Saturday. Look to the ad on page 3 of this paper or to the complete list and descriptions at Frontenaccounty.ca (click on June 13: Discover Frontenac's history during Doors Open)
Companies sweeten offers as Addington Highlands set to vote on wind farm support motion Addington Highlands Council met in special session on Tuesday morning (June 30) to respond to information that had been provided to them by RES-Canada regarding a wind farm proposal in the township. Included in the information package is a proposal for a Community Vibrancy Fund. The fund includes payments to the township if the township supports their project and the project ends up winning in a province-wide procurement process to supply wind power to the electrical grid. RES has made it public that they have offered $2,000 per Megawatt of generating capacity each year for 20 years. According to the web information about the project, it will generate between 100 and 170 MW, depending on its final configuration. Before discussing the details of their offer and hearing a counter offer from the township, Stephen Cookson from RES addressed some concerns of residents who were at the meeting as observers. He said that RES will adhere to a 750 metre setback between their turbines and any “noise receptors” such as homes or campgrounds, which is 200 metres greater than the provincial standard. He also said that in cases where turbines are installed on private land under lease from private land owners, they would make payments to the neighbouring property owners as well. As well Cookson said the company has made some changes to their proposal in response to concerns from local residents. One of them is to move the turbines that were to be located on the north side of Ashby Lake further back, and away from the north side. “There are a cluster of cottages on the south shore of the lake and this will remove the turbines from their sight lines,” he said. He added that the company is prepared to make changes right through the approval and fine tuning process if they end up winning the bid. The township has consulted their lawyer after receiving the preliminary offers from both RES and NextEra, the other company that has a project proposal in the township. Cookson said RES is prepared to adapt their offer to respond favourably to the “15 or 20 items raised” by the lawyer. Reeve Henry Hogg asked if the payments could be made as a lump sum when the project is competed and begins generating power instead of over 20 years. “Look at Greece today. You never know what the value of Canadian money will be in 20 years,” said Hogg. Cookson responded that RES is willing to go some distance towards front-loading the payments, and the details will be included in their up-dated offer, which will be in the township's hands by Thursday. The offer will also include an offer of payment during the two-year construction period, earlier than the norm, when payments are not made until the turbines are up and running. Councilor Tony Fritsch proposed that the township make a counter offer to the RES $2,000 per MW. His proposal was for $3,500 per MW and an additional $3,500 for every linear kilometre of township land that is used for transmission lines, the same counter offer that the township made to NextEra at the beginning of June. He made a motion to that effect, which was supported by a vote of 3-1, with Deputy Mayor Cox voting against it. NextEra was also on hand at the meeting, in the person of Ben Greenhouse, the project manager. He came to confirm that NextEra has submitted a new offer to the township in response to the counter-offer that the township had made. He said that, like RES, his company has incorporated the concerns of the township's lawyer into their offer. The NorthPoint 2 project, which NextEra had been proposing to build in both North Frontenac and Addington Highlands, has been altered, however. It is now located entirely in Addington Highlands, and will include up to 100 turbines, with transmission lines running along Hwy. 41 in much the same manner as the RES proposal. The change seems to be a direct result of the North Frontenac Council's decision to declare the township an “unwilling host” for wind projects. Greenhouse said that the increased size of the project reflects, in part, the fact that when the final bid is submitted in September, projects can be smaller than presented at public meetings, but not larger. “It gives us the greatest number of options,” he said. He also said, after the meeting, that the offer includes a $3,500 per MW Community Vibrancy Fund. He also said that North Point1, which is located entirely in North Frontenac, will also be proceeding to the bid stage. RES Canada held their formal public meeting on Thursday, July 2 in Denbigh. NextEra will be holding public meetings on August 6 (North Frontenac) and August 8 (Addington Highlands) Addington Highlands will make a decision whether to support one, both, or neither proposal at their July meeting in Flinton, which starts at 1:00 on Monday, July 6.
(with a file from Jeff Green) MPP Randy Hillier met with North Frontenac Mayor Ron Higgins on Sunday morning in Cloyne to discuss future economic development possibilities for North Frontenac and Addington-Highlands townships. They were joined by a small group of local entrepreneurs and business owners to start sketching out ideas on how both municipalities could benefit from, and grow, with some new investments in the area. The group had a two-hour discussion regarding options for stimulating the local economy and these ideas included an 80-room wilderness lodge and conference centre, a wood-pellet manufacturing facility, and a craft brewery. Ashby Lake cottage-neighbours and Ottawa entrepreneurs Scott Annan and Dan Carruthers were two of those in attendance at Sunday's meeting. They're hopeful that they can capitalize on the recent community engagement they've seen since Nextera, an American-owned company, made a proposal to build over 100 turbines in North Frontenac and Addington-Highlands. “One of the positives to come from this crisis is that it has people really talking with each other; engaging in real issues and taking a genuine interest in their community,” Carruthers said. “Let's turn this crucible moment into a catalyst for real, long-term development for the region by engaging connected representatives from the provincial, municipal, entrepreneurial and investment communities.” Part of the goal last Sunday was to present an alternative option to the Addington-Highlands council to “replace the allure of wind turbines.” “Your decision on this topic will be your legacy and residents of Addington-Highlands will bear the consequences of your decision for the next 20 years...and likely for many generations beyond,” Annan said in a note to the Council. “It is time for you to make the right, albeit difficult, decision,” Annan said. “It is time for you to stand up and oppose clandestine partnerships. It is time for you to stop the division of residents, and instead to unite them through a common goal.” Annan wrote to Council and local MPs hoping they could “work together to create a plan that will include a new lakefront resort and conference centre to generate dozens of long-term permanent jobs.” The group feels that Bon Echo being open all year around would be an important ingredient to their success. They picture a four-season environment with a trail network that could be used for cross-country skiing and hiking. They envision huts built along the trails for snowmobilers, hikers, and skiers to use, like the popular ones that exist in Gatineau Park. They also suggested BBQ competitions, small concerts, wine and food events, and mountain bike races as possible events to attract people to the lodge and area. “We could be the next Kawarthas,” Carruthers said. “There's an alignment happening right now.” He imagines local organic gardening and livestock incorporated into cooking workshops with guest chefs, local craft beers, and outdoor activities in both summer and winter. Carruthers is in the process of procuring investors for the project and currently had around $5-million committed to the project when this paper went to press. “Let us define our own 'vibrancy fund'...one that is inclusive and homemade,” Annan suggested. The Group suggested that green energy could be incorporated into their approach to the lodge but are against the use of wind turbines there as they are detrimental to their idea of promoting the area as being naturally beautiful. Addington Highlands Reeve Henry Hogg and the rest of Addington Council were invited to the information session on Sunday but only Tony Fritsch replied, but wasn't able to attend. When contacted, Reeve Hogg said that he did not know about the meeting until he checked his email on Monday morning. He thinks the email must have come in late on Friday afternoon. “I'm not sure I would have attended if I had known, because I would need to canvass council if I was attending as a representative of Council. I don't know what was discussed at the meeting,” he said, “but I do feel whoever did attend would be well served by bringing their proposals to a meeting of AHEAD, our economic development committee. They have been meeting on a monthly basis for many years and are always looking for new proposals, and new members.”
The 14th annual Pine Meadow Charity Golf Tournament took place on June 20 at Hunter's Creek Golf Course on Hwy. 506 near Cloyne. As in previous years, this year's tournament was generously sponsored by numerous businesses and community members, raising over $15 000. These funds are used for a variety of items at Pine Meadow, which cannot be included in their regular budget and which enhance the lives of the residents at the nursing home. A special thank you goes to Brad Douglas of Yourway Home Building Centre, who has been our major corporate sponsor for 13 years. Brad intends to continue to support the charity as a community sponsor. Funds raised this year will be used to subsidize the monthly excursions planned for the residents and to repair the screened gazebo in the courtyard area. Several other items will be purchased as well, including slings, a specialty mattress, chairs for the activity room, a sofa for the entrance area, serving carts for the new dining areas and casino games and ipads for the residents to enjoy. This year, 59 golfers participated in the tournament on a bright, sunny day at Hunter's Creek. Raffle prizes included a beautiful quilt made by the Treadle Quilters and valued at $1100, which was won by Glenn McFadden and an ipad mini, which was won by Joan McPhee. There was also a 50/50 draw with a prize of $105, won by Sue White, who donated the money back to the fund. The microwave, donated by Smitty's Appliances, was the prize for the chipping contest and was won by Cory Andrew. A compressor donated by Kaladar Auto Parts was purchased in a silent auction by Everett English for $170 and this money will also be added into the Special Needs fund. The members of the first place team at the tournament (pictured) were Jeff South, John South, Miller Hodgins and Dave Anthony. There was a three-way tie for second place and the members of the three teams donated their winnings back to the charity. Many thanks to Fern Sedore, Barb Dion, Mary Locke, Michelle Walters, Lawrence Flynn, T.J. Flynn, Everett English, Richard Rashotte, Ab Meeks, Herb Clark, Phil Brown and Ron Fobert. The men's closest to the pin was won by Ron Nowell and the women's closest to the pin was won by Dawn Reiser. The men's longest drive was won by Miller Hodgins and the women's longest drive was won by Barb Dion, who donated the funds back to the charity. The raffle sales brought in over $5600 and we are very grateful to the many ticket sellers, who gave of their time and enthusiasm.
Close to 200 visitors attended the third annual Touch-A-Truck event that took place at the Flinton Recreation Club, where a wide assortment of township and other vehicles were on hand for youngsters to explore. These included transport trucks, a Hydro One vehicle, various trucks from the local township and the local fire department as well race cars, ATVs, a hearse, a school bus, motorcycles and more. Sparky and Smokey the Bear were also on hand to entertain youngsters. The event, which is put on by Lennox and Addington Resources for Children, (LARC), part of the Ontario Early Years programming, aims to make youngsters comfortable with the vehicles and staff who operate them and to teach them about safety issues. I spoke to Becky Kavanaugh, a parent educator with LARC, who said the fun-based event is to give children a chance to explore and learn. “Young children rarely have an opportunity to get up close to these vehicles and understand what they do and the event also offers an educational component where we also talk about safety, which helps them to understand how the staff who operate them are there to help them.” Kavanaugh thanked all the people involved who volunteer their time for the event, including members of the Flinton Recreation Club, who offer up the hall and provide all of the food that was available on site. A wide variety of door prizes and safety memorabilia were also handed out by the various organizations who attended.