Wednesday, 20 March 2019 11:36

Repair Cafe under way for Frontenac County

For the past few months, Wagarville Road resident Peter de Bassecourt has been making a monthly trek to Kingston to fix things.

Not things like what’s-wrong-with-the-world things; lamps and chairs and toasters type things.

He’s become part of a growing movement, called Repair Cafe, in which people bring in belongings that need fixing and other people fix them for them.

“We meet at the Kingston Unitarian Fellowship building on Concession Street,” he said. “It’s one of the 1,778 Repair Cafes worldwide.”

And now, de Bassecourt is in the process of setting up Frontenac Repair Cafe, a similar operation under the Repair Cafe banner that he sees as a roving operation — Sharbot Lake one month, Sydenham the next, then Verona, then Ompah, etc.

He’s got enthusiasm, and a Repair Cafe charter. What he needs now is some volunteers and more importantly, some locations that would be willing to host a Cafe.

Volunteers consist of people who like to (and can) fix things (could be just about anything if you have the right gear and “sewing is really huge, especially zippers”) as well as people who like to organize (ie, take names, make waiting lists, connect fixers with those needing things fixed) and people who simply like to make the coffee and bring the goodies.

“Repair Cafe gives you a ‘starter kit’ with all the information and forms you need to get started,” de Bassecourt said. “But we really need is somebody or organization to host.

“The problem is insurance. We couldn’t get the insurance we have to have on our own.”

He said church basements are common within the organization but he said there’s no reason why a business, say a hardware store, couldn’t host one. And a cafe for a particular month could be tailored towards a particular business. Cafes regularly hold ‘workshops’ on everything from fixing chairs to darning socks.

About the only no go is anything with gasoline engines, for insurance reasons.

De Bassecourt got interested when plans for a re-purpose operation at Central Frontenac waste sites went south. To him, the re-use aspect of the Repair Cafe is a big attraction.

“We’re not replacing commercial ventures,” he said. “We’re keeping things out of landfills.”

And, there’s a couple of other aspects he likes.

“It’s free, and people are really appreciative,” he said. “But we also get a lot of kids to the workshops.

“This is good because we’re losing older fixers and this is a way to pass skills on to kids.”

Anyone interested in joining up, especially groups or businesses who might be willing to host a cafe for one month or more, is asked to contact Peter de Bassecourt email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

You can also look up the Kingston Repair Cafe on FaceBook.

Published in FRONTENAC COUNTY

Just in case the return of rail service from Toronto to Ottawa via Peterborough is indeed a go, Frontenac County and Central Frontenac Council are both looking at making sure the case for a stop in Sharbot Lake is made to VIA rail, the builder, and the government of Canada, the funder.

As well, the Sharbot Lake Business Group, which was formed over the last year, to promote the interests of the business community in the vicinity of the hamlet, is looking at what needs to be done to ensure Sharbot Lake, and Central Frontenac, are enhanced by the return of passenger rail to the region.

(See article by Bill Bowick)

According to reporting from the CBC, VIA Rail is expecting a decision from Transport Canada on the $4 billion project in 2019, and if the go ahead is coming, it will likely be referred to in the Federal Budget, which will be tabled next week.

Paul Langan, who lives in Cambridge, is a long-time advocate for High Speed Rail, and runs the website Highspeedrailcanada.com. He is not, however, a supporter, nor a believer, in the Shining Waters Rail line.

“I question how VIA rail is making a proposal for $4 billion in federal dollars for a project that does not have a business plan attached to it. VIA has not even talked to the planning department of the City of Ottawa about the impact on the rail station from this new service,” he said.

VIA is promoting the line as a “high frequency train” rather than a high speed train, and Langan argues that the speeds that VIA is proposing will not make the train any more successful than it was when passenger service ceased, along the corridor, over 50 years ago.

“This 4 billion dollar debacle has VIA trains travelling at 1975 era speeds through sparsely-populated areas on an abandoned Ontario-Quebec Railway line. (Toronto-Peterborough-Ottawa). Then the line travels on to Montreal-Trois-Rivières-Québec City.”

He also points out that the proposal to run trains along the old line would result in level crossings at dozens of locations along the line, which would pose a safety risk. Langan says that railways around the world have implemented a standard of “Positive Train Controls” (PTC) on their passenger lines, to prevent accidents, but VIA has not adopted them.

“There is no information in what VIA Rail has released in their $4 billion plan that suggests PTC will be implemented on the track they will be building. Track that VIA Rail currently runs on, mostly CN Rail, is not slated to implement PTC systems. The plan should never be approved, but if it is approved, the federal government must demand PTC along the line,” he wrote.

In particular for Sharbot Lake, Langan points to a presentation made by VIA in Quebec last year, which presents a map that does not include Sharbot Lake or Tweed. This contradicts a map that includes both stops that was sent earlier to Central Frontenac and Frontenac County. This, he claims, shows that stops in Sharbot Lake and Tweed are not really planned for the proposed line, but that VIA is saying they will work out those details later.

However, the map that Langan included in his article only came from a presentation, and may only have been included to give a more general impression of the proposed rail system, skipping smaller stations that are still part of the plan. The map he points to also misses several stops in Quebec, including Dorion, Dorval and Laval near Montreal, and Ancienne Lorette and Sainte Foy near Quebec City.

In a phone interview this week with the News, Langan said that if people living in Sharbot Lake end up with a station and a service that helps the community, “I would be happy for them. I don’t oppose anyone in Sharbot Lake. I just think that there is a reason why passenger service was canceled many years ago and the same economic logic is still the same. VIA is using deception to get communities along the line to buy into their plan.”

While VIA has communicated with officials from Frontenac County and Central Frontenac Township over the last year or so, no details about the plan have been released other than the station map that came out a year ago.

According to Langan, “the facts are clear, VIA rail does not want the public to know the details of their plan. If they were a private corporation that would be fine, but they are a public corporation and they are seeking government money for their plans, so the public should be informed.”

Published in CENTRAL FRONTENAC

Although the Gryphons weren’t in the tournament, the Granite Ridge Education Centre did host its first-ever EOSSAA championship tourney last Friday in Sharbot Lake.

“It’s the first time GREC or Sharbot Lake has hosted EOSSAA at any level,” said lead convener Ben Moser, who organized the event along with Mel Robinson and Liz Steele-Drew. “Originally, we were hoping our girls would be here, knowing that we had a fairly strong team.

“But there aren’t many single-A schools that have this facility.”

Ernestown Secondary School was the KASSAA single-A representative at the tournament.

But the experience was invaluable, Moser said.

“Going through this once, you get a better sense of the unknown,” he said. “You have to put a bid in to host and we’ll know what to expect for future bids.”

He said they had about 20 student helpers and his senior leadership class took on the majority of tasks — from making banners and programs to being team ambassadors.

“But everybody at the school helped out,” he said. “In a K-12 school, everybody has to be on board — gym classes get changed and you need flexibility and support from everyone including the full staff and school and the parent council chipped in as well.”

The school to community class took care of food and even the younger grades made a contribution as an audience.

“The students got quite involved watching,” he said. “The elementary kids were cheering everything and it was a unique energy.

“Our student helpers were amazing, we knew they were going to be, but I think they exceeded our expectations.

“We (teachers) were able to sit back and let them do their thing. It was hands off and hassle-free.”

Moser also had praise for principal James McDonald.

“He was a big supporter,” Moser said. “He had to do a lot of re-arranging.”

“It’s so nice to have the facility to hold something like this,” McDonald said. “We’ve hosted many events but they’ve all been community based.

“This involved many coaches and students.”

Published in CENTRAL FRONTENAC

Getting the funds for broadband and cell phone infrastructure improvements and waste management were the two most desirable “breakthrough goals” for Frontenac County, Central Frontenac Council decided at its regular meeting Tuesday evening in Sharbot Lake.

“And a million dollars for our roads,” added Mayor Frances Smith.

Council was responding to a questionnaire led by Kathryn Wood for Frontenac County’s strategic planning.

“Our goal for this consultation is to explore Township perspectives on county-level issues as the County develops its strategic priorities directions and plans for the current term of Council,” Wood said.

To that end, she asked four questions: asking councilors to rate a list of priorities; what would be the most important outcomes to be accomplished by the County through its next strategic level; opportunities, risks or challenges Council sees in working more closely with the County to deliver services; and, if the County could establish breakthrough goal in its next strategic plan, what do you feel that should be.

Coun. Tom Dewey started things off by listing waste management as his top priority.

“We’re getting closer to the time when our dumps are full,” he said. “I’ve been here eight years plus and while we’ve talked about it a lot, we haven’t done very much.”

Coun. Bill MacDonald agreed.

“I think there will be changes coming that one small township won’t be large enough to take advantage of,” MacDonald said.

Dep. Mayor Victor Heese brought up broadband service, which he said went hand in hand with economic development.

“In the more rural areas, satellite just doesn’t cut it,” Heese said.

“And around the lakes,” added Smith. “But EORN (Eastern Ontario Regional Network) is just waiting for approval.

MacDonald wanted to see the County get more involved in roads and bridges.

“I think there’s an opportunity for the County to advocate more for lower tiers in terms of grant money,” MacDonald said.

Most of Council agreed.

“What bothers me most is roads and bridges,” said Coun. Elwin Burke. “There’s been a lot of neglect in the last 10 years.”

“Lennox & Addington has a County road system in name only,” said Smith. “The Townships do all the work.

“Maybe that’s a direction we should go.”

“I can’t see the County playing much of a role in roads, but transportation is a need with our aging population.”

Coun. Brent Cameron said that whatever priorities the County sets, they need to be driven by our demographics.

“We won’t be getting any factories and most of the people moving here are at or nearing the end of their working lives,” Cameron said.

That prompted a discussion about seniors housing facilities but several councilors wondered about just how to address that situation given that the number of seniors is a factor of the baby boom and will likely represent a 20-40 year ‘bubble.”

“Are we going to build a lot of seniors’ residences only to have to tear them down eventually like we did with elementary schools?” said MacDonald.

High frequency train service
Council passed a resolution of support for the proposed Via Rail High Frequency Train project.

As part of the resolution, Council “calls on VIA Rail and the governments of Canada and Ontario to ensure that the project is carried out in such a way as to have a station located in Sharbot Lake to enable residents of Frontenac County direct and fast access to other communities across Ontario and Quebec.”

The rail line, which would use a hybrid electric and diesel engine system, and as proposed, would either use the existing rail bed right of way or bypass Sharbot Lake close to the hamlet.

Coun. Tom Dewey wanted Arden to be added as a potential stop but Mayor Frances Smith put an end to that notion.

“Arden has never been mentioned and we don’t want to create a rivalry between the two communities,” Smith said. “It’s important to be as supportive as possible.”

“Arden is important to me,” said Dewey.

“I concur,” said Coun. Cindy Kelsey, who along with Dewey, also represents Kennebec District.

Published in FRONTENAC COUNTY
Wednesday, 27 February 2019 10:53

Sharbot Lake Criminal Court

Nothing was settled at Sharbot Lake criminal court this month, with most matters being deferred until April 1.A warrant with discretion was issued regarding John Badour, who is expected to return to court on April 1 to deal with 6 charges: driving while impaired by alcohol, possession of stolen property valued over $5,000, impersonating another with intent to mislead a peace officer, failure to comply with court ordered terms, assault, and assault with a weapon. He was not in court on this occasion, but did have a lawyer in place to speak to the matter. Judge Griffin is expecting him to appear on April 1.Trial date set (sort of) – Patrick Sundstrum is facing 11 charges. There is one charge of possession of an illegal substance, and two each of: trafficking an illegal substance, production of an illegal substance, careless/use storage of a firearm, failure to stop for police, and unauthorized possession of firearms. His lawyer appeared in court and reported that he will be looking at documentation that he recently received from the crown regarding the search and seizure that precipitated the charges. He said he will then be speaking with the crown to see if the matter can be resolved without trial. Judge Griffin decided to set a trial date, as a backstop in case the case does not get resolved earlier on.Since there were 8 officers on the list of potential witnesses, and some of them are assigned to the Napanee detachment, it was impossible to confirm their availability on the spot, so two dates were set: July 15, and September 23.The matter will return on April 1st to be spoken to, at which point the trial date can be firmed up, if a trial is still necessary.Patricia Crawford is facing a charge of Threatening Death/Bodily Harm. She is seeking legal aide, although it is unclear if the Crown is indeed seeking jail time, and legal aide is not available otherwise. She will return on April 1.WithdrawalA charge of theft under $5,000 against Leslie Dunham was withdrawn at the request of the Crown after Ms. Dunham presented receipts for $125 in donations to a local agency.

First Appearances
Tod Boutilier was charged with operating a vehicle while disqualified. He will return on April 1.

Kevin Fenner is facing a charge of Fraud under $5,000. He will return on April 1.

Jonathan Loerchner is facing one charge of mischief under $5,000 and two charges of theft under $5,000. He will also return on April 1.

Published in CENTRAL FRONTENAC

• Depending on whom you talked to, there seemed to be some confusion as to the actual name of the Festival mascot, as well as what it actually is. We’re going with “Hairy Fest” and will tell you that there was more than one person wearing the costume over the weekend (at least Cindy Kelsey and Joan Hollywood).

• Coun. Bill MacDonald during his welcoming speech Saturday in Arden: “Reg Peterson always asks me when he gets something new if I know what it is — as if I’m old enough to have used one.”

• Still with MacDonald, his “Lumber Camp Lingo” sheet was a big hit at Railway Heritage Park. Some of the more colourful terms included Pants Rabbits (lice), The Office (outhouse) and Timber!! (watch out for falling tree).

• Rev. Jonathan Askwith emerging from underneath the frigid water during the Polar Plunge couldn’t resist a bit of preaching, loudly exclaiming “Jesus Christ!”

• Still with the Polar Plunge, a total of $2,796 was raised — $1,125 for the Treasure Trunk, $930 for the Fire Department and $731 for Adult Connections. Karen Burke once again was the oldest plunger, having been in eight of the nine plunges. The only year she missed was the winter she broke her leg skiing. Riley Merrigan raised the most money individually and Owen McEwen was the youngest plunger.

• Janet Barr said that this is the last year for the Treasure Trunk and Northern Connections to be beneficiaries of the plunge funds. “Next year, we’ll be looking for two new worthy recipients,” she said.

• Crokicurl made its debut at this year’s Frontenac Heritage Festival, although the Sharbot Lake version didn’t include coloured rings. However, one thing that’s apparent is that this is a uniquely Canadian game, having first been played at The Forks Market in Winnipeg in January of 2016. There is documentation that the game has also been played in Saskatoon, Calgary, Regina, Guelph, Penetanguishene and Fort St. John.

Published in CENTRAL FRONTENAC

The great de-centralised Frontenac Heritage Festival is made up of many stand alone events that are loosely connected.

One new event this year is a crokicurl rink, located in the Oliver Scott Memorial Park in Sharbot Lake (across from Granite Ridge Education Centre) which will be available all weekend.

Never hear of crokicurl? It is exactly what it sounds like. A crokinole board set up on an ice rink. Instead of flicking wooden disks with fingers, sand filled windshield wiper fluid jugs are slid along the ice from a makeshift curling ‘hack’ at the edge of the ice. Depending on the circumstances, a draw to the button, a bump and run or a takeout may be called for.

Any combination up to eight players can participate at one time, even numbers are best. The rink was set up, with posts ringing the house like a crokinole board, by Rudy and Joan Hollywood. They will be around to explain the rules at times during the weekend, and the rink is available all-day Saturday and Sunday.

The Festival kick off is at the Sharbot Lake Legion on Friday night, (February 15) in conjunction with the Legion’s Friday night chicken dinner.

Things get underway in earnest on Saturday with a mitt full of events at the Kennebec Community Centre between 9am and 3pm. There will be a display by the Kennebec Historical Society, a demonstration of chainsaw wood carving by Robin Deruche, smoke alarm demonstrations by the fire department, games and food.

At the same time, part of the hall will be taken over by the Arden Potters, who will be selling soup and chilli in handcrafted bowls that purchasers can take home. All proceeds from the sale of the bowls goes to the North Frontenac Food Bank. Need to see more pottery? The Arden Pottery Studio, which is just down the road from the hall, will be open all day.

Meanwhile, starting at 11am, The Kennebec Lake Association is holding its 7th Annual Winter Fun Day on the lake, just east of the bridge and boat launch. Chilli, hot chocolate and cider, snow shoeing, skating sliding and more until 3pm.

Things are quieter in Sharbot Lake during the day on Saturday, but there is a Lion’s breakfast at the Oso Hall from 8am-11am as well as Croki-curling.

At night the hamlet will be livened up by Shawn McCullough and Wade Foster at the Crossing Pub, starting at 8pm.

On Sunday, the Matson Farm at 6278 Arden Road will be the centre of attention. It features heritage farming, a cross cut competition, and more (see ad on page 16).

In Sharbot Lake, Sunday events are anchored by the Polar Plunge at the Sharbot Lake Marina at 12 noon, followed by lunch at the Legion. Meanwhile, from 11am-3pm, winter fun day is on at the Child Centre, featuring soup and scones, bucket drummers, snowshoe lending, etc.

Finally, over at the Railway Heritage Park on Elizabeth Street, Bob Miller and Mike Procter will be throwing knives (not at each other) from 12 - 4pm, and Bill MacDonald will be demonstrating old time logging techniques.

Published in CENTRAL FRONTENAC

The Sharbot Lake Legion was the scene of what organisers called a “peaceful protest” Sunday.

At least four members of Kingston Creep Watchers, a group who protests against organizations they say support convicted sex offenders, were on hand across the street from the Legion Hall carrying signs. Brooks is listed as one of two administrators on the Kingston Creep Watchers Facebook page.

At issue was the presence of a Sharbot Lake area man who was convicted in 2006 of sexually interference on a minor and in 2010 of breaching a 161 probation order.

The 2006 order, which is in effect for life, prohibits him from public spaces where children may be present. The order was amended, however, in August of 2018, and he is now permitted to be in public spaces as long as he is accompanied by and remains within sight of a supervising adult.

The second clause of the 2006 order, which has not been amended, states that he is prohibited from “seeking, or obtaining, or continuing any employment, whether or not the employment is remunerated, or becoming or being a volunteer in a capacity that involves being in a position of trust or authority towards persons under the age of fourteen years.”

On Sunday, the Legion was hosting what they called “Live Music & Dance.”

The man sang at the end of the event but also ran the sound board for at least some of the event. There were no children under the age of 14 at the event.

Police did attend at the Legion but left without incident.

Legion President June Crawford said that event organisers were aware the protesters were coming.

“We gave them as cordial a reception as possible, even though they didn’t identify themselves when they arrived. We let them on our property and one of them came in. We told her that she’d have to make a donation in order to stay, which she did.

“She sat down, had a beer and even won a door prize,” Crawford said.

Crawford said it was not the Legion who called the police, but when the officers arrived, she spoke with them.

“I told the police that I was aware of the parameters the individual is under and when they asked, I told them my understanding of what his parameters were.

“Everything was copacetic and they left.”

The police did come back a second time, which Brooks mentions on her Facebook page, after being called by a member of her group who alleged one of their members had been assaulted.

The police returned but left shortly after.

The Legion Sgt.-at-Arms then asked the protestors to leave, which they did, moving to the bottom of the hill on public property.

(Editors note - This article was edited from the original, publishes on February 14, 2019,  which had the wrong phrasing for the 2006 conviction)

Published in CENTRAL FRONTENAC
Wednesday, 13 February 2019 16:13

Central Frontenac Minor Softball needs you!

Central Frontenac Minor Softball is looking for parents to step up to keep the association running!!! All positions are open for election.  If you are interested in nominating someone or would like to nominate yourself, please send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. stating your name, contact information and the position you are running for by Feb. 28th.  The positions open are President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, Umpire in Chief and Area Reps - Sharbot Lake, Parham, Mountain Grove and Arden.  We will then be holding elections on March 23 at registration which is at Parham Fire Hall from 10am to noon.  Early registration will be open as of March 1st so be sure to get your registration in by the 23rd of March to avoid the $20 late fee.  If you are interested in coaching or helping coach, please make this known to a member or executive.  Registration fees are the same as last year.  If we had an email address for you on last year’s form then you may have already received your form by email.  If you haven't and would like to, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and one will be sent to you.

Published in CENTRAL FRONTENAC

The Slocan Ramblers play bluegrass. And they kinda rock it.

The first time they played The Crossing Pub in Sharbot Lake, they didn’t have any albums out.

Last Saturday night, their fourth Crossing gig, they have three albums and the latest, Queen City Jubilee, promises to be the one that takes them to the next level.

“It’s also on vinyl, the longest, most circular format that you can listen to music on,” said mandolin player Adrian Gross.

“With your first album, it’s pretty much what you have ready,” he said. “With the second, it’s refining and working on things.

“But the third, that’s your statement.

“We feel we’ve grown as songwriters and we feel we’re in a good place.”

Things have been going fairly well for the Slocans. They’re touring, selling merchandise and seem to be having a good time.

“We’re finding lots of places to play,” he said. “And definitely touring is the only way to make a living at this.

“But, our audience isn’t necessarily just bluegrass and so we try to play a range of music in general.

“And, in Canada, there are not that many bluegrass venues so we just play what we like.”

He said they’ll be “hitting the road hard this year” but expect to find time to fit in another Sharbot Lake gig this summer or fall.

“This is a great venue plus the audience here has evolved.”

By the way, the “Slocan” part is from an abandoned silver mine in central B.C. near where bass player Alastair Whitehead is from.

The Slocan Ramblers also played Inverary on Friday night at the Storrington Lion’s Hall

(Editors note – A couple of days after their Frontenac gigs, Queen City Jubilee was nominated for a Juno award in the traditional roots category.)

Next up at The Crossing Feb. 1 is Open Road, country and classic rock featuring Sharbot Lake’s own Dennis Larocque. ($10 cover, show starts at 8pm). And speaking of local boys, Shawn McCullough will be joined on stage Feb. 16 by fiddler extraordinaire Wade Foster ($15 cover, 8pm). Turpin’s Rail is back March 14 ($20 cover, 8pm) followed by The O’Pears March 23 ($25, 8pm), Dave Gunning April 6 (dinner and concert, $55, 6pm) and on Aug. 15, the master of anything with strings on it — J.P. Cormier (dinner and concert, $55, 6pm)..

Published in CENTRAL FRONTENAC
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