On April 23, the Blue Skies Fiddle Orchestra (BSFO) Jam-a-thon took place at the Maberly Hall. This ...
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.
“Memories of General Stores” presented by the Clarendon Miller Community Archives. Clarendon Miller Community Archives will celebrate its 10th Anniversary on May 14 at the Clar-Mill Hall from noon to 4 pm by bringing back memories of local general stores. Guest speaker, Mary Cook, will provide a historical perspective; a panel of local store owners/operators/employees will describe their experiences; and displays will bring back memories of the local stores in North Frontenac Township. It was Isaac Allan (one of the Allan brothers from the mill on Millar’s Lake) who built the store at Mississippi. His first store was built on the east side of the railroad tracks. This first store became a private residence when he built his second store. This second store, which later became known as the “Furniture House”, was on the west side of the railroad tracks. In 1890 he then had Louis Marguerat build his third and final store, at which time his second store was used for storing furniture and coffins. This last store was a large building with an attached residence. This store business was operated as I. Allan and Son, since he had taken his son Roy in as a partner. This store listed several articles for sale: “General Merchandise, Furniture, Renfrew Lime and Brick, Cordwood, Railway Ties, Fence Posts, Lumber, Shingles as well as a full assortment of Undertaker’s Goods on hand and Hearse in Attendance”. Isaac operated here until July 26, 1911 when he left for Kingston. His son Roy Allan took over the store. Before Isaac left he gave a banquet for all his customers, which was remembered by all for a long time. Roy operated the store until he too left for Kingston on March 28, 1918. In Kingston he established the Allan Lumber Company. William Geddes and his family then moved into the residence attached to the store and operated the store as W.A. Geddes and Sons. They operated the store, post office and funeral business. In 1919 they sold the funeral business to W.J. Jackson of McDonalds Corners. William Geddes died in 1958. William’s son, John R. Geddes then took over the business; in 1961 he decided to discontinue operating the general store, at which time he sold his stock to Max Millar of Snow Road. The first post office in Mississippi was in the Norman Clark residence. The Clark family left in 1910 and William Geddes replaced him as Postmaster. In 1911 the Geddes family and the post office moved to the house across the road and remained there until he took over the store from Roy Allan. He installed the post office in the rear of the store. When John Geddes moved to Toronto the post office was then moved to the George Olmstead residence with Edith as Postmistress. It remained here until October 27, 1987 and then closed when Edith retired. The Mississippi residents then collected their mail from the green boxes at Gemmill’s Store in Snow Road Station.
On April 30 Ruth Wark and her crew of volunteers at the Snow Road Snowmobile Club presented a cheque to representatives from the Perth branch of the Canadian Cancer Society to support research, programming and prevention in the fight against melanoma. The club held a fundraising breakfast for the cause and after all the pledges were in, the final total raised was $1466. President Derrick Dixon and fundraising manager Jessica Roback of the Perth CCS received the cheque and conveyed their thanks for the club's support.
The Grass is greener for businesses At Friday’s council meeting, David Bergstrome, from Rocky Shore Cannabis, presented his proposal for a 6,000 square foot marijuana growing facility he wants to build in North Frontenac. He was hoping to get support, in principle, for his idea. Bergstrome, whose family has been cottaging on Kashawakamak Lake for over 50 years, explained there is a growing need for marijuana in Ontario because of its use medicinally, and because the general public, as well as the medical industry, are becoming more educated about the drug. He said that the proposed 2017 legalization of marijuana for recreational use would stress an already under-supplied market. With the demand continuing to increase, Bergstrome said that the gaps in supply would be “met by illicit producers.” Bergstrome's proposal for Rocky Shores Cannabis included details regarding the regulations put in place by Health Canada. He explained that plants have to be tracked from the moment they are sown in the ground right up to the shipping process. He also went into detail regarding the security precautions that would need to be in place in order to pass certification. Bergstrome said that all the work would be done within the windowless facility and that the regulations call for perimeter fencing, 24-hour video monitoring, and a reinforced concrete vault in which to store the dried product. He is currently looking at North Road as a proposed location for the project based on its accessibility and low traffic and, if the project gets the green light, he hopes to use local labour and materials when possible during the construction process. He also said that he would expect one Canada Post truck per day and that it wouldn't negatively impact the traffic in the area. When asked about potential employment opportunities for locals, Bergstrome said that initially he thinks they would be hiring about three people to trim and tend to the plants, as well as for security. Bergstrome's long-term vision includes plans to eventually expand to a 60,000 square foot building on the same property. The power consumption on a growing operation like the one Bergstrome has proposed is big. He said that with a proposed layout of one 1000-watt lamp every six feet, and the current price of electricity, he has estimated his hydro bill at over $100,000 a year. “Any business that can benefit the township is good for us,” Councilor Wayne Good said. Council voted in favour of endorsing the proposal in principle. Disaster RecoveryPetr Sizow, a representative from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH), made a presentation to Council on Friday regarding two new programs they launched in March of this year. The Disaster Recovery Assistance for Ontarians (DRAO) and Municipal Disaster Recovery Assistance (MDRA) programs are in place to help municipalities and their residents deal with rebuilding and operations in the aftermath of a disaster. Under the MDRA program, the municipality can request funding from the province to cover incremental costs not originally budgeted for if the area is hit by a disaster. Eligible expenses, under the MDRA, can be: repairing essential infrastructure; engineering assessments; rental vehicles; safety equipment; and repairing supply roads to get goods into the area. The program only kicks in when the costs incurred are equal to or more than 3% of the municipality's tax levy. Once the eligible expenses hit that 3% threshold then the province covers 95% of the costs related to the disaster. Some councilors wondered if the program could potentially be helpful in the case of an ice storm, like the one in 1998, or wildfires in the area. Sizow agreed to report back to council with more details. Potential tax increase for homeowners on dammed lakes A portion of the costs of maintaining and repairing dams owned by the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority (MVCA) could be put on ratepayers that have houses or cottages on the lakes. The MVCA owns and maintains 11 dams as part of a control system for the Mississippi River water system. In a staff report, Paul Lehman, the general manager of the MVCA, explained that when the dams were constructed, or assumed, by the MVCA, there were provincial grants available to cover 50% of the costs, as well as an additional 35% as a supplemental grant to cover construction, operation, and maintenance costs. Now only the 50% grant is available for operation and construction. This leaves a question mark about who should cover the balance of the money. “Ottawa is refusing to pay their share of maintaining these dams,” Councilor Gerry Martin said, “...which is flood control for the City of Ottawa. In the Conservation Act, there is a clause that says benefitting municipalities will pay a share of the rehab of the dam in their own municipality.” One of the dams in need of attention, which was built in 1910, is on Kashawakmak Lake. “Kashawakamak Lake is a large dam and it needs to be totally replaced,” Martin said, “It's one of the few structures in Ontario built with no steel. It's totally concrete....They're proposing to put a levy on our residents that live, for example, on Kashawakamak Lake, and expect us to cherry-pick all those properties and apply that tax to those properties on Kashawakamak. If this goes through for the Kashawakamak dam, the precedent will be set for other lakes” “I think we'd better get mentally ready for that,” Councilor John Inglis said. “I'm totally disgusted,” Mayor Ron Higgins said. Councilor Martin speculated that the costs could be as high as a $1 million per dam. These costs, if put to North Frontenac ratepayers, would result in outrageous tax hikes. Martin points the finger towards Ottawa and their refusal to contribute to dam rehabilitation upstream but also at the MVCA for not having an asset management plan in place to properly budget for these large infrastructure renewal projects. “This isn't over by a long shot,” Martin said. Buckshot Creek culvert replacement on 509 In February of 2015, the township received a grant of up to $288,000 toward replacing the Buckshot Creek culvert on Road 509 through the Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund. The original estimated cost for the project, when they submitted their application, was $320,000, which included the project management costs, permits, and engineering design. The township only received two bids on the project, although there was significant interest in the tender when it went out, and both bids were well over budget. The lowest bidder was Crains’ Construction Ltd., in the amount of $473,401.07 including HST. The second quote they received was over $1.6 million. “A lot of that is our lack of services,” CAO Cheryl Robson said in explaining to Council why the quotes they received were so high. “We don't have accommodations for larger construction firms for their staff to stay here, or even to feed their staff. It makes it really hard. Their costs are going to go up because they have to pay their guys to drive to hotels.” The replacement of the Buckshot Creek culvert was considered a high priority when a bridge study was done two years ago. “I'm concerned if you don't move forward with it then the (grant) money might not be available to us,” Robson said. Council voted in favour of giving the contract to Crains’ Construction.
Council votes in favour of new township building Norh Frontenac Council chose to move forward with adding a 2265 square foot addition to the existing township building as well as renovating the existing structure in a three-phase construction project. Jeremy Neven, the Chief Building Official, and Larry Gaines, the architect who designed the new building and addition, were at the meeting on Friday to discuss any questions and concerns that Council had about the designs. Neven explained that the construction project would be rolled out in three phases. The first stage is building the new addition on the current township building. The second phase is renovating the exterior of the existing building including windows, doors, and insulation. The final phase is renovating the interior of the existing building, which includes mechanical upgrades, electrical work, and finishing. Gaines spoke about how he attempted to incorporate some of North Frontenac's character into his design with a proposed timber frame structure over the entrance-way and stonework on the exterior. “The project costs have certainly accelerated,” Councilor Dennis Bedard said. One of the proposals that Bedard brought to Council back in August of last year was to add an additional 1,500 square feet to the existing building at a cost of $900,000. “My gut feeling, in terms of doing renovations, is it's never under. It's always over,” said Bedard. “You're absolutely right but I think we've accounted for that,” Gaines told Bedard. “I want to know how we're going to pay for this,” Bedard said. “$1.3 million. I'm really uncomfortable with that dollar figure.” “Reserves and loans,” Mayor Ron Higgins said. North Frontenac Treasurer Kelly Watkins said that a loan would cost $59,000 a year for 25 years on a 3.24%, guaranteed, interest rate. “If we don't do something this year then it gets more expensive next year,” Mayor Higgins said. “Would it be worth waiting to see if we can lessen the burden on these taxpayers to see if we can get federal and provincial grants?” Councilor Bedard asked. “I don't know about you folks but constituent-wise I think a lot of people are not in favour of that kind of money being spent on a building.” “I've had more positive comments on a new building than renovating this old building,” Councilor Gerry Martin said. Currently there is no funding available to help subsidize the construction project. “I don't think we're going to get a better deal than this and I'm going to support this,” Councilor John Inglis said. “No decision like this is going to please everybody but we need to do something,” Mayor Higgins said. Councilor Vernon Hermer expressed his worries about financing the project as well because of increased policing costs and because “the economic conditions in this municipality are bleak.” “We still have to remember we're looking at the working conditions of the staff in this existing building,” Councilor Wayne Good said. “Going through another winter or two is unacceptable.” “I think we all agreed that we had to do something when we started on this journey,” Mayor Higgins said. “That 'something' has gotten very highly priced,” Bedard said. In a recorded vote, requested by Bedard, the motion was carried 5-2, with councilors Bedard and Hermer voting against the proposal. Mayor Higgins hopes that they will break ground on the project this year. Fire department operational review gets heated Eric Korhonen, North Frontenac's Fire Chief, presented his operational review of the fire department at Friday's meeting. Terry Gervais, a former Napanee fire chief, who acted as a consultant on the report, and praised Korhonen's work on it, was in attendance as well to answer any questions that Council had. Gervais told Council that the report Korhonen prepared would have cost the township about $30,000 had they outsourced it. Korhonen outlined in his review that a decline in the number of residents, and an aging population, as well as a diminishing number of recruits and increased training expectations have increased the stress on the department. Korhonen made some suggestions aimed at improving the current operations of the department and these included being more flexible in hiring and possibly attracting seasonal residents during the department’s peak busy months. The area has an increase in 7000 people during the peak season, Korhonen said, between April and October, which also coincides with a decrease in volunteers. Korhonen also proposed that the department switch from their current point system to paying volunteers an hourly rate, which would vary from $16/hour for a junior volunteer up to $22/hour for an officer. The fire chief also recommended replacing three volunteer deputy chiefs with a paid, part-time assistant fire chief, which ruffled some feathers. “Will that not have an effect on the morale of the fire department?” Councilor Hermer asked. Councilor Bedard was quick to go on the attack about Korhonen's report, suggesting that the survey of other fire departments that was used as the basis for a lot of Korhonen's study was incomplete and should not have been used. “A question that should have been asked [in the survey] is 'Do you have a full-time fire chief?',” Bedard said. “How many similar sized townships have a full-time chief, let alone a part-time chief? This report, has it been reviewed? Have you asked for input from the deputy fire chiefs? Did they provide input on this?” “Yes,” Korhonen responded. The report showed that the department, made up of 42 volunteer firefighters, is currently meeting emergency response standards. He said that the department is well-equipped and well-maintained. Councilor Inglis made a motion to defer the decision until the next meeting. “What is the big panic on this?” Bedard asked. The motion to defer was carried.
When every element in front of and behind the curtain coalesces, it makes for really good theatre. That was the case for the North Frontenac Little Theatre's April 21 - 24 production of Pinocchio, in which both cast and crew rose to the challenge of bringing this age-old fairy tale to life. The play was based on the adaptation by John Baldwin, and Director Brian Robertson chose his cast wisely, with a mix of veteran and newbie actors. A stellar line up of youngsters who sang in the chorus, played as the Toyland folks and tripled as Pinocchio's tormentors, created the solid foundation necessary for this play, and each was given a chance to show their talent. Their transformations were a delight to behold, as were a number of the older members of this crew, many of whom were new to the stage. They included Emily Baillargeon (Mapes), Leah Neuman (Sprucey), Morgan Rioux (Maria), Braidey Merrigan (Tony), and Danielle Gosse (Amy/donkey). The older cast of fairy grandmothers and grandpas narrated the story and book-ended the acts. Grandmothers Madge (Pam Giroux) and Betty (Carol Morris) sang a lovely duet of “When You Wish Upon a Star.” Johnathon Wisteard, who likes nothing better than the limelight, had a chance to go deep into his huge- hatted role as the evil Mastroni. His powerful cackle and accented delivery delighted the house. The hero's two animal nemeses, in the form of the sly fox (Gillian Hoffman) and the calculating cat (Sydney Drew), both indulged their meaner sides with aplomb while also showing off some of their funkier dance moves, one of the many modern musical additions to this production. Candlewick (Mackenzie Drew) added a healthy shot of humour to the production with her impressive drill sergeant song, along with her and Danielle Gosse's hilarious hee-haws after both catch donkey fever on an ill-fated trip to Pleasure Island. Paul Gosse as Geppetto offered up the soft and cozy aspect of parental love, and he never lost his faith in this irascible boy puppet who in the end saved Geppetto from the belly of the whale. Director Brian Robertson played the coachman in the style of a New York Bronxian gangsta who, while in cahoots with the evil Mastroni leads the kids off in a cart to Pleasure Island. Robertson gave his cast and crew an added chance to shine in a number of lip-synched tunes that included Fun Fun Fun. The youngsters reveled in their chance to riff on electric guitars and showed the audience they also know how to rock and roll. The undeniable star of this production was Mason Moore whose Pinocchio was pitch, picture, and puppetty perfect. Mason is a natural when it comes to physical comedy; his temper tantrums were hilarious and he has the ability to store and deliver his lines perfectly on cue. His puppet antics were unbeatable and his singing voice was also a delight. Hats off to costume guru, Geoff Murray, who decked out the cast in eclectic, festive and beautifully colored attire that included diagonally cut skirts, lovely blue tutus, fake animal furs and of course, and most eye catching of all, Pinocchio in his bright yellow matching dandies and pointy feathered cap. Donna Larocque's impeccable storybook back drop, which had real pages that turned and provided colorful scenes to fit the plot, was a delight. Jeff Siamon's lighting, with a starry medallion shining above the full cast singing in perfect unison, was used to great effect The additional props and sets, including the boat, the whale tail, and Pinocchio's many-sectioned pieces of nose, which were aptly applied by the younger members of the cast, added a very tender touch. This colorful and classy production was a magical take on an ages-old story that encourages youngsters to take the higher road in a world that sometimes encourages them to do otherwise. Congratulations to the cast and crew for giving their all in a very memorable night of theatre.
It's not that easy to qualify for the Boston Marathon, which is a bucket list event for many long-distance runners. Patricia Humphrey, a 66-year-old marathoner who has lived on Long Lake between Parham and Mountain Grove for the past three years, qualified for this year’s event based on her time at the Philadelphia Marathon in November of 2014. She had already run the Boston Marathon before, five years ago, and when she qualified for this year's race, which took place on April 18, she thought it might be her last marathon and she wanted to go out in a good time. She ran the 42-kilometre course, complete with the four Newton's Hills that culminate with the aptly named Heartbreak Hill, in 4:39.05. The time is significant because it is 55 seconds faster than the qualifying time for her age group for next year's race, and that might prove to be a temptation. Humphrey’s running career began 16 years ago, when she was only 50. Her mother had recently died of cancer, and Patricia decided to take up running in order to complete a 5 km cancer run later that year. She took to the sport and began increasing the length of her runs over time, finally building up to the marathon distance. According to her husband and chief supporter, Colin, Patricia plans to stick to the half marathon distance from here on mainly because the preparation for a marathon is so onerous and time consuming. She was a common sight this winter on Long Lake Road and Road 38 training for this year's event. “She wanted to make a good time in case it was her last marathon, that's for sure,” said Colin, when contacted by phone early this week. “She was pushing her speed at the end to make sure she beat the 4:40 qualification time.” Patricia has retired from working at FW Black's Appliances in Kingston, where Colin is a co-owner. They intend to remain in the area for years to come, as they enjoy living on Long Lake. “We love it here. We never plan on moving again,” said Colin.
Central Frontenac approves 2016 budget Central Frontenac will spend over $7.1 million in ratepayers' money in 2016, up from $6.5 million in 2015, a levy increase of 9.3%, according to figures provided by township treasurer, Michael McGovern. The impact of that increase on ratepayers will be mitigated by smaller increases in Frontenac County and Ministry of Education levies, however. The net impact on the average household, again according to township figures, will be an increase of about $83 in their overall tax bill. Among the major factors that account for the increase in taxation by the township are increases in OPP costs, which will place upward pressure on the township's budget for the next three years as a new OPP funding model is phased in. Mayor Frances Smith said that the Rural Mayors' Forum of Eastern Ontario has been working on the OPP funding formula issue in the hopes of making a case for some relief for smaller municipalities going forward. Mountain Grove Library project moving forward Thanks in part to a $110,000 grant from the Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program, Central Frontenac is moving forward with plans to build a new library that will be attached to the Mountain Grove fire hall. The township is matching the federal grant, and at their meeting this week they approved a $32,682 contract with Roney Engineering to design the new addition to the fire hall and provide project management for the build. In recommending that the sole source contract be awarded to Roney, Fire Chief Bill Young said that the company oversaw the construction of the Mountain Grove fire hall in the first place and did the same job last year for the Parham fire hall, which also includes a library space. Treasurer Michael McGovern said that given the expertise required for the particular job, sole sourcing the contract to Roney falls within the township's procurement bylaw. The library expansion to the fire hall was foreseen when the fire hall was originally built. Mayor Smith said that the Kingston Frontenac Public Library (KFPL) Board should be contacted before the design is finalized and construction begins, as they may have something to say about the space that is being created for their use. “We didn't do that before building the library in Parham, and that led to some issues along the way, so we should make sure not to do it that way again,” she said. Parham library soft opening on May 12 Mayor Smith told Council that the KFPL is planning to open the new branch that is co-located with the newly completed Parham fire hall on May 12, and to hold a ceremonial grand opening on May 27. Later in the meeting, Fire Chief Young said that library crews haven't arrived yet to start putting the new branch in place. “They haven't shown up yet; no shelving has arrived; the space is empty,” he said. “I'd better give my contact there a call,” said Smith. Approval in Principle for Sharbot Lake outdoor rink In line with a request from the Oso (District 3) Recreation Committee, Director of Planning Services/Chief Building Official Jeremy Neven recommended that Council approve the demolition of the privies at the site, as well as the small canteen, which has not operated for several years. He recommended contracting with Perth Septic for portable bathrooms for this summer's ball season, and permitting a donated temporary storage shed to be built. All of these proposals raised no questions among Council, but a final provision did. That proposal was to approve, in principle, the construction of an outdoor rink and a change room/washroom at the site. “The committee has raised $10,000 for the project thus far, and they don't want to do any more work on the site until Council approves their main project in Principle,” Neven said. Chief Administrative Officer Cathy MacMunn said that a number of larger donors are waiting to hear that the project is a go before making commitments. “The Rec Committee is committed to funding this project entirely through donations,” said Neven. Councilor Jamie Riddell said, “I am uncomfortable approving this, since it is in effect an approval for the new rink, when we haven't seen any engineering plans, any construction plans or any costing. Don't get me wrong; I support the rink, but I'd like to see something I can work with.” Neven, and other members of Council, said that Council will ultimately see the final plans and will have another opportunity to look at the project, which will require council's approval to move forward. The motion was approved, with Riddell voting in favor with the rest of Council. Parham fairgrounds pavilion approved The Hinchinbrooke (District 4) Recreation Committee is planning to install a 16' x 30' pavilion to be located behind the existing playground equipment at the fairgrounds near Parham. The committee has raised the money and the building plans were presented with the request for approval. Council approved the request. “I should point out how much of a pleasure it is to work with both recreation committees [Oso and Hinchinbrooke] on these projects. Not only are they raising all the funds themselves, they are putting in tons of volunteer work making sure everything fits township policies. This kind of commitment from volunteers is a great asset to the township,” Neven said. EOTA to manage K&P trail from Sharbot Lake to the North Frontenac border Council approved a proposal from the Eastern Ontario Traills Alliance (EOTA) to assume management of the township trail on the former K&P rail line, from the trail head in Sharbot Lake all the way to the border with North Frontenac, just south of Robertsville. EOTA manages a network of multi-use trails in the region from their base in Tweed and does extensive marketing. Noise, Refuse, and Safe Properties bylaws Ken Gilpin, from Frontenac Municipal Bylaw Enforcement appeared before Council to discuss proposed updates to the Refuse and Safe Properties bylaws and the adoption of a new Noise bylaw. In addition, Council members talked about a new Sign bylaw. The matters were all deferred to a future meeting.
by Wilma Kenny Request for Road Closure, Storrington Planner Mills called a public meeting to consider a request by Mr Ulrich of Opinicon Road, who has asked to buy a portion of public road allowance that runs through his property to the shore of Upper Rock Lake, in Storrington. This proposal came before Council March 2015, at which time Council seemed favourable to the closure, because the road allowance falls over a steep cliff at the shoreline. Ulrich was asked to have the property surveyed, which he did (date of survey not stated.) The survey showed a portion of the road allowance extended further along the shoreline onto the neighbouring lot to the south. The neighbouring owner has expressed interest in purchasing this remnant. Planner Mills in his report to Council, recommends no decision be made until the survey is revised so the whole road allowance can be shown. The two property owners would need to come to an agreement and submit a new plan, before a road-closing by-law could be considered. Mr Ulrick’s lawyer Peter Radley spoke, saying it was unfair to drag the decision out any longer: he had spoken to the other property owner’s lawyer more than a year ago, and had asked if they could work together, but nothing further had happened. “Surely you don’t want to see an 80-year old man cry?” he asked. “I can’t think we’ll push you that far,” responded Mayor Vandewal. Councillor Sleeth said, “It behooves us to move forward.” The matter is to come before Council May 17. Supporting Local Businesses In response to a recent situation where a local supplier lost a contract with the Township due to a miscommunication, Councillor Schjerning had proposed a motion which would give preference to bids and tenders submitted by local businesses. The Township solicitor was quick to say that this would be a bad idea, not in keeping with best practice. However, the Corporate Services Committee made two recommendations: that the staff hold an annual education session for local businesses on the Township’s procurement process, and that the Township website develop a procurement newsfeed where vendors could subscribe for notices of upcoming opportunities. Council adopted the recommendations. Conduct of Public Meetings Council agreed with CAO Orr’s report on appropriate procedure at public meetings, which in summary, states: “The intent of the public meeting is to gather comment, not resolve the issues, nor to have a debate. The debate comes later, when Council is asked to recommend draft plan conditions.” Spring Roads Public Works Manager Segsworth requested and got approval for an additional amount up to $25,000 from the working fund reserve for pulverizing various sections of Township roads that cannot be effectively patched any longer. Three sections considered to be beyond repair are: Randy Clark Road west from Battersea for 1.5 km, York Road, and Buck Bay Road 300 m north of Westport Road to White Lake Road. These will be maintained a loose top roads until they are reconstructed. NF Resolution Not Endorsed Council chose not to support North Frontenac’s resolution re the review of the RFP process for the award of renewable energy contracts.
The Frontenac OPP have partnered with the local community agencies, including the Township of South Frontenac, Southern Frontenac Community Services, the KFL&A's Health Unit, Kingston Community Legal Clinic and Rural Kingston Family Health Organization to create the committee known as Seniors and Law Enforcement Together, or S.A.L.T. The committee's focus is aimed at seniors living in the Township of South Frontenac, and their goal is to increase seniors' communication with the local police and other service agencies. The committee will provide support and information to seniors in South Frontenac, with the aim of improving their safety and overall well-being. The committee launched their first safety information session on April 19. Presentations were held in Sunbury, Verona and Sydenham and attracted seniors from across the township. The free sessions were comprised of three presentations: Keeping Healthy, Falls Prevention and Scams and Frauds. The first was delivered by two registered nurses: Meredith Prikker from the Sydenham Medical Clinic, and Annie Campbell from the Verona Medical Clinic, both of whom specialize in the management of chronic diseases with the goal of keeping seniors living at home longer. They covered numerous health-related issues, like medication reconciliation, tips to avoid medication mistakes, advanced care planning, and creating a coordinated care plan. They informed guests about two free self-management workshops on the topics of Living Well with Chronic Disease, which runs from April 20 to May 25, and a second workshop in the fall on Living Well with Chronic Pain, with dates to be announced. Rhonda Lovell, a registered nurse with KFL&A Public Health, gave the second presentation on Falls Prevention. She spoke about the leading fall risks to seniors, how to prevent them, and how seniors who fall represent 58% of the leading causes of unintentional injury-related emergency department visits. Lovell highlighted the personal costs associated with a fall, which can include bone fractures, chronic pain, loss of independence and a decreased quality of life. Lovell also spoke of the fears related to falling and how a “Cycle of Fear” can increase the potential for a fall. She ended her presentation on a positive note, stressing that most falls are preventable and can be avoided by making smart choices, remaining active, and planning ahead. Community services officer with the Frontenac OPP, Roop Sandhu, made the final presentation on the topic of Scams and Frauds. He spoke of the myriad of cons that exist, including door-to-door scams involving water purification, driveway sealants, and energy and hot water tank services. He spoke at length about telephone frauds, where con artists pose as grandchildren in a fix, needing immediate cash; various prize and money scams, like free travel awards, fake charities, credit card fees; and online frauds, like fake letters from Nigeria and West Africa. He spoke about fraudsters imitating officials from the Canada Revenue Agency and demanding payments. He also gave tips on how to avoid identity theft. In summary, Sandhu quoted the old adage, "If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.” The S.A.L.T. Committee will be holding future workshops and members are hoping to hear from seniors about the topics they would like to see covered at the sessions. Active seniors in the community who want to become involved with the committee are invited to commit to just one hour a month of meetings. For more information about how to get involved can contact Roop Sandhu at 613-372-1932 or David Townsend at the Southern Frontenac Community Services at 613-376-6376.
30 metres of controversy Vigorous debate over changes to rules for existing buildings located close to water bodies in South Frontenac When South Frontenac Planner Lindsay Mills brought forward a package of so-called 'housekeeping' amendments to the township's zoning bylaw in early February, he expected that as much public interest would be generated as was the case in the past when these kinds of amendments have come forward. That is, none at all. That is what happened for 10 of the 12 amendments in the package that he submitted, but for two of them there have been strong, negative responses. These responses, totaling over 30 written submissions and 12 or so oral submissions to a meeting of the South Frontenac Committee of the Whole this week, concern changes to the way the township will deal with buildings that are located less than 30 metres away from a body of water. Since the township adopted its ground-breaking Official Plan in 2005, no construction has been permitted within 30 metres of water bodies, which is something that lake associations encouraged at the time, and still do. However, those houses and cottages that were already built before 2005, many of which were located within the 30 metre setback, were and still are legal, captured under the term “legal non-conforming”. The bylaw that has been in place since 2005 says that while these properties are legal, and can be repaired and improved, those improvements cannot include anything that expands their size in any direction. The change that is being proposed by the township planning department is the addition of a sentence to the existing bylaw, which says “reconstruction of the building is prohibited”. Planner Mills says this was already implied in the existing wording but that it should be made more explicit. The other change he is proposing is the addition of a definition of when a building ceases to exist, which will be as follows: “Once the walls of an existing structure within the minimum 30 metre setback have been removed, the land is considered vacant and the structure cannot be rebuilt within the 30 metre setback.” In addition, Mills proposes to eliminate a clause in the bylaw that permits the replacement of a building if it were destroyed by “fire, lightning, explosion, tempest, flood or act of God, or a demolition permit” from the township. Noting that a property owner could leave their property to deteriorate in order to claim it is no longer suitable to live in, and then “argue they should be allowed to reconstruct”, Mills said it would be better to let the township's committee of adjustment deal with this kind of circumstance instead of including it in the zoning bylaw. “There should be no issue at the committee after any kind of catastrophic event, and the township can minimize the fees we charge in those cases,” he said in a telephone interview this week. “In my experience the committee has only once refused to allow someone to build, and that was a case where there was virtually no dry land to build on.” The first concerns about the proposed changes came in January from Chief Building Official, Brian Gass. Gass, who has since left to take a job near Ottawa, said that if residents feel that a bylaw is “unfair or not reasonable” it might lead them to bypass the permit process and build illegally. “It is proven that illegal construction is one of the most common causes of unsafe construction practices” he wrote. Over the past few weeks, the Sydenham Lake Association has taken up the issue, recommending that the passage of the bylaw be deferred to make time for a full public airing of opinions. The Committee of the Whole meeting on Tuesday night was the first of two opportunities for public discussion. After Lindsay Mills presented his perspective on the proposed changes, Councilor Ron Sleeth spoke in favor of keeping the clause that permits rebuilding properties destroyed or damaged by an 'Act of God’. Councilor Alan Revill agreed, saying that based upon his building official experience, having a provision for replacement on the same footprint if there had been damage beyond the owners’ control should remain in the bylaw. “There’s increasing chance of this possibility, with climate change,” he said. He added that in the event of total loss, insurance might not grant full relief if the building were required to move to another site. “Every situation is different; perhaps we can’t legislate for all.” “Let's not add more layers of bureaucracy.” said Councilor Mark Schjerning. Sydenham Lake Association member, Jeff Peck, spoke next, setting the tone for the presentations that followed by calling for thoughtful dialogue even if, like himself, the speakers did not agree with Mills’ proposals. Speaking on behalf of the association he said that it was important that this issue receive a full public airing, and that although the township had posted information on its website and in local papers, it was unlikely to reach seasonal residents. Speaking for himself and not the association, Peck emphasized that owners should have the right to use and maintain their non-compliant properties instead of having to rely on the discretion of a committee of adjustment, should their structure be damaged by an ‘Act of God’. Earlier, in an interview with the News, he talked about experiences he has had dealing with the existing bylaw on behalf of himself, and relatives and neighbours, where the interpretation of the bylaw by staff made it difficult to properly maintain legal non-conforming properties within the 30 metre setback. Larry Arpaio of the Bobs and Crow Lake Association congratulated the township on having an Official Plan that is beginning to address the environment and lake quality, but asked whether there was a danger of creating a 2-tier real estate scenario, in which those structures within the 30-metre setback would be of less value than those further from the shore. Other speakers were concerned about the township’s goal, as stated by Mills, of eventually having all structures located behind the 30-metre setback. Several are using family homes and cottages that are over 100 years old, but have been maintained as viable structures. Council will hear further delegations at the May 10 COW meeting, and will make their decision at the May 17 Council meeting. Waste Disposal Site Update David Bucholtz, of Cambium, Inc. presented the annual update of the township’s waste disposal sites. All of the five active sites: Portland, Loughborough, Bradshaw, Salem and Green Bay are functioning well. Some of the environmental issues at Portland have been addressed by partially capping the site and addressing the challenge of surface water run-off. Its remaining life at the current rate of fill is about 28 years. Loughborough, once it gains compliance for groundwater, has a life of five years left, with the potential of another nine years once if the remaining capacity of phase 2 is realized. Bradshaw has about 11 years' capacity; Salem, 13 years; and Green Bay 18 years. All sites have an attendant’s shelter and a varying range of facilities for recycling materials. Mayor Vandewal asked whether it would be of any financial gain to fill and close the smaller sites first before continuing with Portland and Loughborough. Councilor Ron Sleeth asked whether there would be any gain in bringing Storrington’s waste into the township sites, rather than continuing to pay to truck it away. Bucholz said that neither question can be answered without further research. Road Allowance Closure Request Boy Scouts of Canada have asked the township to consider closing and selling to them a fragment of road allowance that runs across the Otter Lake Scout Camp property from their boundary with Frontenac Park to a cliff overlooking the lake. It was discovered when they sought a building permit for a new four-season facility. Council has no objection to closing the road allowance, as it is of no foreseeable use to the township. However, there was no agreement re the price to be charged. Unopened road allowances have a range of four possible rates per square foot, depending on the property’s location in relation to water. Planner Mills was asked to bring a recommendation to the next meeting.
In order to highlight the importance of developing local food infrastructure in the county, organizers of Frontenac County’s Integrated Community Sustainability Planning (ICSP) invited Dan Borowec to speak at their annual breakfast at the Verona Lions Hall on April 7. Borowec is the director of economic development in Northumberland County. He spoke about Northumberland’s recent forays into supporting local food infrastructure by creating the Ontario Agri-Food Venture Centre (OAFVC), a multi-purpose, not-for-profit, small batch food-processing facility located in Colborne. The OAFVC was designed with local farmers and foodie entrepreneurs in mind. The facility supports fresh fruit and value-adding opportunities to farmers to increase their farm revenue. The facility also assists food-processing start-up companies with recipe development, test batching and other forms of research, and also facilitates small batch co-packing. Guests at the breakfast were shown how Northumberland is a prime example of a county that is building local infrastructure in order to provide food producers with the tools to succeed and become economically sustainable. Also on the agenda was a description of the County of Frontenac's Guide to Sustainability, which outlines the four pillars of sustainability as social, cultural, economic, and environmental. County CAO Kelly Pender spoke about the County's “Economic Development Charter for the Frontenacs” which aims to focus on activities, like trips and trails, local food and beverage, and recreation/lifestyle. The charter will also consider the demographics and needs of the county’s seniors, families and youth. County staff will utilize a number of implementation tools to achieve the charter's goals. They will look at infrastructure, grants, business loans, counseling and regional marketing, and measure the county’s progress, with a promise to report back to local communities annually. The breakfast also included updates by county staff members. Anne Marie Young spoke about the soon-to-be completed K & P Trail. County Planner, Joe Gallivan, spoke about the county's official plan. Janette Amini brought guests up-to-date regarding the county's current focus on accessibility. After the updates, two Community Partnership Agreement Awards were given out by Betty Hunter, vice chair of the county's Community Development Advisory Committee, and Ron Vandewal, deputy warden/mayor of South Frontenac. The first was presented to Ross Sutherland and Stephanie Sciberras of South Frontenac Rides, an organization that aims to establish a more bicycle-friendly township. The second plaque was presented to North Frontenac mayor, Ron Higgins, in recognition of the North Frontenac Dark Sky Preserve. The Township of North Frontenac was the first in all of Canada to achieve Dark Sky Preserve status from the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. For more information about the county's sustainability breakfast, visit www.frontenaccounty.ca
The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) came into effect in 2012, and in an effort to bring awareness to the fact that the private sector must comply with certain accessibility standards under the act, the Frontenac Accessibility Advisory Committee (FAAC) and the County of Frontenac have proclaimed April 3-8 as Accessibility Awareness Week. The aim is to increase awareness of accessibility in the four townships across the county by sharing successful stories and highlighting local businesses, groups and individuals who are making a difference through their #AccessibleFrontenac Twitter campaign. Janette Amini, manager of legislative services and the clerk at the county, hopes that by devoting the week to issues of accessibility, the word will get out to private business owners. “Our focus is to inspire local businesses and make them aware of the standards that need to be met to comply with the AODA, while assisting them in creating the types of policies they need to put in place and letting them know that we are here to help in any way we can”. Part of the awareness campaign has been focusing on local businesses in the county that have made an effort to meet the regulations. In 2013, the county in partnership with the FAAC created the County of Frontenac International Day of Persons with Disabilities Access Award, which is awarded annually to a business in the community that has shown leadership and commitment to meeting the AODA requirements. In 2015 the award went to Verona resident Doug Lovegrove, a long-time member of the Verona Community Association, who was recognized for producing an AODA training booklet/manual that outlines topics regarding accessibility and customer service for persons with disabilities. Lovegrove uses the manual to train volunteers in the Verona community. Previous recipients of the award were the Verona Lions Club (2013) and Joe Ryan and Brenden Hicks of Accessible Living (2014). The campaign also tells the stories of the many businesses that were also nominated for the award. Amini stressed the fact that a more accessible county is good for business. The ultimate goal of the AODA, which was passed by the Ontario government in 2005, is to create a fully accessible Ontario by 2025. Amini looks to the hard facts of an ever-increasing aging population and the fact that today, 1.8 million Ontarians have a disability. That number is expected to grow to 16% of the total population by 2026, and by 2035, 40% of the population of Canada will have a disability. The fact that persons with disabilities have the spending power of $21-$25 billion and that in Ontario improving accessibility can create up to $9.6 billion in new retail spending and $1.6 billion in new tourism spending are some very concrete reasons for local businesses to meet the new standards. However, profits are not the only reason that business owners are encouraged to comply. The AODA outlines five areas of standardization that need to be met, including: customer service; information and community employment; transportation; and the design of public spaces. Meeting the needs not only can mean increased profits but also the rewards that come with creating a more diverse workplace and one where persons with disabilities are given an opportunity to reach their full potential as employees. For more information about this topic visit www.ontario.ca\accessibility or contact Janette Amini at 613-548-9400 ext. 302.
It has been a number of years since absenteeism among paramedics at Frontenac Paramedic Services and both nursing and non-nursing staff at Fairmount Home was flagged as above the industry targets for those sectors. The County's human resources staff have been gathering data on absenteeism ever since, in an effort to determine if absenteeism mitigation efforts have had an effect. The latest rolling average suggests that Fairmount Home staff are still off sick more often than the target, which for nursing staff is 10 days or less off sick per year for 80% of employees and for non-nursing staff is 7 days off sick per year for 80% of employees. 67%% of nursing staff and 71.5% of non-nursing staff met the target. The 67% figure for nursing staff represents an improvement over the 64% figure from the previous period, but for non-nursing staff it represents a drop from the previous period, when 86% of staff met the target. As for paramedics working for Frontenac Paramedic Services, who have a target of 12 sick days for 80% of employees, the numbers continue to lag. Only 58% of paramedics met the target, down from 65% the last time around. In presenting the numbers to a meeting of Frontenac County Council a couple of weeks ago, CAO Kelly Pender said that specific circumstances, such as a flu outbreak that sent a number of paramedics home in the middle of their shifts last December and lasted three to four more days in most cases, “had a significant impact on the statistics”. For their part, Frontenac County politicians wondered what they can do with the numbers. “I'm not sure what these numbers are telling us,” said Councillor John Inglis. Measures taken to mitigate against sick time have had mixed success. After paramedics were approached to discuss sick time last May, 12 paramedics launched grievances that are now in arbitration.
Budget in, levy up – tax rate flat After a 30-minute in camera session with two residents, Reeve Henry Hogg wasted no time going through the agenda at a meeting of Addington Highlands Council in Flinton on Monday, May 2, racing through in 15 minutes. Among the items on the agenda was the 2016 budget, which had been the subject of a special meeting three days earlier. All that was left to do was pass the document, which will see the levy to Addington Highlands ratepayers go up $140,000, from $2.4 million in 2015 to $2.53 million in 2016, an increase of 5.58%. Overall spending by the township will top $5.4 million in 2016, with local taxes being topped up by $1.2 million that comes from “pre-levy revenues” such as transfers from L&A County for road maintenance, user fees, etc. and a $1.65 million subsidy from the Province of Ontario. Among the issues that were noted as contributing to this year's increase is a $108,000 (17%) increase in OPP costs. There were also increases to the fire budget and to the environmental services budget. Reeve Hogg pointed out that although the levy is up by over 5%, that increase will not be reflected in the tax rate, which is flat. Individual ratepayers will see an increase based entirely on the amount of assessment increase that is applied to their property this year by the Ontario Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC). Joint Council meeting over fire services A meeting was held last month between Addington Highlands and North Frontenac Council to discuss issues that have arisen in the funding of the Kaladar-Barrie Fire Department, which serves residents in both townships. Four motions came out of that meeting for consideration by each township. One dealt with a review of core services delivered by the department and two dealt with fees charged for service by the department. A fourth resolution was not related to the fire service, but had to do with medical services that both townships have an interest in. All four resolutions were passed without comment. Waste site closure pending At the Denbigh meeting in April, the township's waste site consultants reported that the Kaladar site is reaching the end of its usable life. At the current rate of use, it could be full within five years, but if dumping at the site is restricted to household waste only, eliminating construction and other waste, it may last up to 10 years or more. Royce Rosenblath said that in light of that report, the township needs to assign staff to deal with all the details of diversion, closure, transfers and necessary changes to the waste site’s Certificate of Approval from the Ontario Ministry of the Environment. “We could use our own staff or consultants to do this, but we need to get on it pretty soon,” he said. The township office is short-staffed at the moment, but that will change in early June. Councilor Bill Cox put forward a motion to defer the matter of changes to the Kaladar waste site so that it will come back to the table in early June.
Dan Milton, 1974-2016 When a car crossed two lanes on Highway 417 near Arnprior last Monday and hit two road workers, it killed one of them, Dan Milton, and in doing so tore at the heart of a family and a community. The funeral for Dan Milton, which was held at Milestone Funeral Home in Northbrook on April 30, was unorthodox to say the least, as his neighbour delivered a eulogy that was all about giving shouts out to all of Dan’s friends and family in the way that he would have done. The picture of Dan Milton that emerged was that of a giant of a man with a big heart and a tendency towards playful mischief. This came at the expense, most often, of those he loved most. The road crew that he worked with every day was there in full force, and while they are all hard and tough men in the work place, the tears flowed freely from them all afternoon, as freely as the Coors Lite that Dan loved so much. Reverend Kellar had to share the front of the chapel with some of that Coors Lite, but he did not seem to mind, remarking that this was one of the funerals he has officiated at for people he did not know, but which leave him thinking, “I really wish I could have known that person.” Dan Milton's, wife, Debara Leary-Milton, was 20 years older than him, but the age gap never affected their marriage, and Dan was a well-loved step-father and friend to Wayne, Jaycen, and Angel. Angel spoke briefly at the funeral, saying how much she appreciated everything that Dan had been for herself and her mother. While the mood at the funeral was as irreverent and full of jokes as Dan Milton had been, the sense of loss was palpable. For this community to lose Daniel Milton, a still young man who packed his large lunch and headed to work that morning just as he did every Monday morning, is hard to process and will continue to be hard to accept for months and years to come.
On April 20, close to 70 enthusiastic volunteers gathered at the boat launch at Deerock Lake near Flinton, armed with gloves and bags, eager to clean up the mess that careless campers left behind over the years. The lake, which is located in the Elzevir Peatlands Conservations Reserve, is protected under the Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves Act and receives the same kind of protection that the local provincial parks do. The area attracts campers and fishers, and offers 28 picturesque campsites. Most of them are located on small islands, and are free to visitors on a first-come-first-serve basis. Unfortunately, campers have failed to heed the sign on the road leading to the boat launch that reads: “Please, take nothing but pictures; leave nothing but foot prints.” The cleanup was initiated by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) and was also supported by Quinte Conservation, who owns the 60-70 acre parcel of land in and around the boat launch. They were joined by numerous local groups and organizations, including members of the Conservationists of Frontenac Addington (COFA); the Frontenac Addington Trappers Council; the Township of Addington Highlands as well as staff and students from North Addington Education Centre; and employees from the Milestone Funeral Center in Northbrook. The event demonstrated how cooperation between like-minded groups can positively impact the natural environment they share. The event was headed up by Justin Punchard, a partnership specialist with the MNRF, who works for the Peterborough district at the Kingston field office. Punchard instructed and organized the volunteers, who met at the boat launch at 9am and were supplied with a map of the lake, rubber gloves and plastic bags. They then took to their boats and headed out to their designated locations on the lake. “The goal here today is to clean up all of the campsites and surrounding shoreline to ensure the sustainable use of the site for the future, and to return it back to its natural state,” Punchard said. He said that the group would be collecting mostly household recyclables, like pop cans and pop bottles, but also numerous lawn chairs that were left behind to rot. Addington Highlands Township provided a large bin and a tri-axle dump truck, the former to collect recyclables and the latter to collect garbage. Both delivered the waste to the Kaladar dumpsite later that day. Toxic materials were also separated and hauled off. Those planning to visit the site this year will no doubt notice a big change. Terry Murphy, manager of Quinte Conservation, said that the area is a very popular fishing place. “We are hoping that by cleaning up the islands and doing a good public relations job, we'll be able to convince users to keep the lake and the islands clean so we can keep the access to the lake open to the public. We want people to be able to use the area, but we also want people to respect it”, Murphy said. Wilf Deline, president of the Frontenac Addington Trappers Council, had the same motivation for taking part. “This is our backyard and where we live, so it's important for us to be here today to help, and we just hope that people down the road keep it clean.” Punchard thanked staff from Quinte Conservation, who he said are key stakeholders, and also thanked all the volunteers and other local resource groups who made the event so successful. Visitors to the area are required to pay $10 for parking in the summer months, which will be managed by local students, who will also be responsible for educating the public about keeping the area clean. Murphy said that this event is the first massive cleanup of the area and he hopes it won't have to happen again.