• 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.
Family Day celebrations in South Frontenac started in 2011 at Centennial Park in Harrowsmith, but moved to the Frontenac Arena the following year.
The brainchild of Norm Roberts and Dan Bell, who were the chairs of the Storrington and Portland recreation committees respectively, the move came down to one factor — ice, or the lack of it.
“We tried to make ice for skating,” said Roberts Monday. “We could do it and so we moved up here where there is skating.”
“Even if you don’t skate, it’s still fun to come out,” said Tracy Holland, volunteer coordinator for Family Day for the last five years. “We have such a large geographical area that it’s great to have something all the districts can do together.
“It’s a great way to spend time with your family in the middle of winter.”
The arena was full of skaters, though. And for those who didn’t bring their skates, there were horse-drawn wagon rides, courtesy of White’s Wagon Rides, hamburgers, hot dogs and granola bars, plus a slew of games and activities including marshmallows for toasting.
“We’ve had a good turnout the past couple of years,” Holland said. “We couldn’t do it without the support of Council, though — even our mayor is out there on the barbecue.
“And, we have five high school students helping out with the games, three of whom are returning from helping out last year.”
And Holland had praise for the arena staff.
“The arena staff are here working on a holiday,” she said. “They had the barbecue ready and the coffee on when we got here.”
It was a chilly day, even though the temperature did officially get to -5C, but the sun was out to brighten spirits.
The Kennebec Historical Society has been focusing on churches of late, and the society’s display at the Frontenac Heritage Festival Saturday in Arden reflected the recent focus.
“We’re collecting things over time,” said society member Sarah Hale. “We get quite a few things from estates.”
One of the things they’ve acquired of late is a History of the Arden Standard Church, by Bessie Wager Seiter.
In it, Seiter tells a story of Mrs. Joe Hughes, who owned a general store in town.
One day, Mrs. Hughes became gravely ill.
“The doctor did all he could but to no avail,” the history relates. “She lapsed into a coma and the doctor felt she was on her death bed.
“Rev. Burtch called in Rev. J.B. Pring, Rev. Martin Slack and Rev. George Kelly. They anointed her, prayed over her and shortly she roused.
“She remarked that she felt as someone had put her to sleep and operated on her. She asked for her clothes, dressed and from that moment was healed.”
Strangely enough, the estate of Irene Monds donated not only a collection of dolls and a wedding dress but also a book that contained the same story, lending more credence to it.
The society also has documentation on the old United Church, which burned in 1952, as well as many others.
“At one point, there were three Methodist Churches,” Hale said. “Now, there are three active churches, the United, Anglican and Standard, which 10 years ago joined with the Weselyan.”
Hale said they’re always looking for new members and to join, contact Hale at 613-335-2073. For $5 yearly fee, you get their newsletter and they plan a museum trip and strawberry social each year.
South Frontenac Council approved a 2019 budget of $19,741,688 at its regular meeting Tuesday night in Sydenham.
This represents a 3.199 per cent increase over 2018’s budget of $19,129,719, however, it falls in line with Council’s direction of a 2.0 per cent impact on the average phased-in property when increased property values are factored in.
The $19,741,688 is the same figure presented at the Jan. 26 meeting, however, at that time, Council wanted to add in a New Leaf Link grant of $2,000, a museum grant of $3,00, $20,000 in community grants and $20,000 for additional brushing.
In order to maintain the Jan. 26 figure, Treasurer Louise Fragnito reduced the ‘miscellaneous figure by $5,000 and firefighter recruitment financing by $40,000.
“Through the budget discussions, Council added $20,000 for additional community grants and $20,000 for additional contracted brushing and staff was asked for alternatives for funding these two initiatives,” Fragnito’s report said. “Typically, operating budget items are not funded from reserves, unless as a one-time adjustment, as they create a future year impact to the tax levy.
“(This adjustment) switches the Capital — Firefighter recruitment financing by increasing the funding from working funds by $40,000 and reducing the tax levy by $40,000, which provides the capacity to offset the $40,000 and reducing the tax levy by $40,000, which provides the capacity to offset the $40,000 increase in the operating budget and keeping the tax impact to 2.0 per cent.”
CAO Wayne Orr said staff will bring back a tax bylaw once the levies from Frontenac County and the Province (for education) are known, probably some time in April.
• • •
Before the regular meeting, Council held an in camera session to discuss the potential acquisition (or disposition) of land by the municipality (or local board): potential land purchase for seniors housing.
In a report prepared for the three new members of Council to bring them up to speed, CAO Wayne Orr summarized what’s happened up to this point, including the potential involvement of Kingston and Frontenac Housing Corporation, financing and mortgage models as well as potential sites. Orr’s reports were part of the regular meeting agenda package for Tuesday night’s meeting.
“Initially, discussion focused on establishing a project in Sydenham, Verona or Inverary as these communities had a number of services to offer within walking distance,” the report said. “In the early stages, a partnership with South Frontenac Community Services for a project at the Grace site was explored.
“Just recently, SFCS has indicated that they have been in discussion with a private developer who may have interest in reopening the discussions on a project at the Grace site as a Private Public Partnership (and) this has not been explored at this point.”
The report also included this statement: “The CAO work plan for the remaining six months of employment does not include significant time allocation for this initiative (Orr has announced his retirement plans).”
It should be noted that of the three settlement areas mentioned, Sydenham, Verona and Inverary, only Sydenham has a municipal water system.
Council wouldn’t disclose any more information but Mayor Ron Vandewal did say to Orr “you have direction.”
• • •
Council was shown a video provided by Meela Melnik-Proud and shot by Matt Rennie on a walking bridge constructed at the proposed Johnston Point condominium development on Loughborough Lake.
“At the April 2016 Ontario Municipal Board hearing, we brought forward specific concerns over this walking bridge that is directly in Provincially Significant Wetland (PSW),” Melnik-Proud said. “It was our understanding that this bridge technically would not constitute development in the PSW, since it would be free standing, and furthermore, that all vegetation within 30 metres of the shoreline would be maintained in a natural state.”
The video shows several support posts in the PSW and removal of vegetation, including stumps suggesting removal of trees greater than 4 inches in diameter.
Mayor Ron Vandewal promised “either our staff will find an answer for this or we’ll forward it to (Frontenac) County.”
CAO Wayne Orr said: “At this time, we do not have a signed condominium agreement. We expect one in June.”
He said that until the condo agreement is signed, they have no mandate to go in and enforce a site-plan agreement and any conditions that it might include.
“It’s private property at this point,” Orr said. “But he has to meet certain conditions before it becomes condominiums and without meeting those conditions, he (the developer) has no units to sell.
“Our ability to put restrictions on comes when there’s a request to change (a property).”
“People wouldn’t like it, but I could clear cut my farm and put 500 wells on it if I chose,” said Mayor Ron Vandewal. “But if I apply for something, everything changes.”
Director of Developmental Services, Claire Dodds, said the developer did have a permit from the conservation authority to build the walking bridge.
• • •
Council directed staff to look into declaring two firehall properties surplus and to report back.
The properties in question are the Burnt Hills station and the old Perth Road Station.
“If Council decides to sell, Burnt Hills would have to be as is,” said Mayor Ron Vandewal. “It’s like half an acre and I wouldn’t like to see a house go on it.
“There is a structure there but it could only be used as a storage shed for a neighbour or something.”
“I’m guessing it’s not zoned residential although Perth Road is,” said CAO Wayne Orr.
“We don’t necessarily have to rush ahead,” said Coun. Alan Revill. “We could declare them surplus for the fire department to make plans and decide what to do with them later.”
Council directed staff to come back with recommendations.
The Golden Links Hall in Harrowsmith was packed with friends, family and well-wishers as Portland Dep. Fire Chief Bill Babcock officially retired Saturday night.
“Everybody knows that anyone who volunteers for 54 years — your heart has to be in it,” said Mayor Ron Vandewal.
Babcock’s tenure dates back to the Portland Fire Department days.
“Those are some pretty big boots to fill,” said Dep. Chief Stan Ritchie, who replaces Babcock.
“He was a mentor to myself and every other firefighter,” said firefighter Kyle Reynolds. “We’ll deeply miss him coming through the door.”
Firefighter Ellen Steele read a letter from another firefighter who wished to remain anonymous.
“He was inspiring and made us feel safe,” the letter said. “And we won’t have him to go to when we need to know where somebody lives.
“He often said (things like): ‘I’ll be that’s Bob’s place, he lives around there.’”
When it was Babcock’s own turn to speak, he pretty much stole the show.
After thanking firefighters past and present, wives, kids and families, as well as the businesses who supported efforts to raise funds for things like the jaws of life and 4X4s, Babcock launched into one of the more entertaining retirement speeches in memory.
“We’ve gotten cats out of trees, a cow out of a frozen pond and a horse out of a swimming pool in winter,” he said. “It was a helluva ride.”
He told a story of one call, which may or may not have been true, given the glint in his eye.
“A fella calls dispatch,” he said. “He tells dispatch ‘you gotta come, my house is on fire.
“The dispatcher thinks for a minute and says, ‘how will they get there?’
“And the fella says ‘do they not still have all those big red trucks?’”
He summed things up by saying “Now I can sleep all night through and do what I want all day.”
Whether or not the Palmerston Lake Area of Natural and Scientific Interest (ANSI) is included on the North Frontenac Township Land Use Schedule (of its Zoning Bylaw) is still up in the air somewhat, but the topic drew a crowd to last Friday’s regular Council meeting in Plevna.
And the gallery included one of the larger gatherings of the public at a North Frontenac Council meeting.
Megan Rueckwald, manager of community planning, County of Frontenac, told the meeting that planning staff have reached out to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) “for clarification of the Palmerston Lake ANSI (and) once this information is provided, should Council direct, planning staff will prepare an updated report with a recommendation.”
“We don’t have the answers today but we will have a public meeting when we get the information,” said Mayor Ron Higgins. “It’s a priority for us.
“We’ve been working on the Zoning Bylaw for five years.”
On Jan. 8, 2019, MNRF provided correspondence to the Township identifying the Palmerston Lake ANSI as “provincially significant” in response to Council’s motion at the Nov. 23, 2018 meeting. It is shown as provincially significant on the ministry’s Natural Heritage Mapping system.
However, it was not designated on the 2003 Official Plan. It is so designated on the Township Official Plan approved in 2017 and the Frontenac County Official Plan approved in 2016.
The Palmerston Lake ANSI, on the west and south end of the lake, was identified in January of 1989 (MNRF) as a provincially significant marble-based wetland, upland and rock barren complex.
Rare flora and fauna identified include the Calypso orchid (amerorchis rotundifloria) and moss (tomenthypnum falcifolium) as well as nesting ravens, a great blue heron colony and adult Cooper’s hawk, Rueckwald said in her report.
The landform itself is seated on marble, with calcareous-based hardwoods and mixed forest dominating uplands and a variety of calcareous wetlands occupying bedrock depressions, she said.
Assuming the land is designated as a natural heritage feature in the Zoning Bylaw, any development and/or site alteration would require an environmental impact assessment.
“That doesn’t mean no development but it does mean developing in a cautious manner because there is something worth preserving,” said Rueckwald.
Higgins said that during the public feedback part of the Zoning Bylaw process they received “about 50 emails” on the ANSI.
“We’re in this situation because in 1989 there was no public input,” said Higgins.
“I think as a township, we did really screw up in the ’80s,” said Coun. John Inglis.
• • •
Rural Frontenac Community Services represented by youth program coordinator Martha Johnston made a presentation to Council asking for $5,400 to provide services this year, the same amount that Council granted in last years budget.
• • •
North Frontenac Community Living, represented by executive director Dean Walsh, made a presentation to Council for information, not asking for a donation.
Walsh said the agency is a transfer payment agency, meaning it gets funding from clients through the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services for 40 adults, 10 children and three transitional aged youths in the amount of $1.5 million.
He said they have 35 employees, 15 of whom are full-time.
Anyone wanting to be notified of the public meeting should contact Clerk Tara Mieske in writing. Your correspondence should include your contact information and can be a letter, email or note dropped off to the Township office.
“The sooner, the better,” said CAO Cheryl Robeson. “Everyone who sends in their contact information will be notified of the public meeting.”
When you think about, it’s kind of a mystery as to why we didn’t come up with this earlier.
It’s simple, the winter ice melts and anything that doesn’t float will sink to the bottom when it does.
That’s the principle behind a walleye spawning bed restoration project which took place on Long Lake last Saturday morning (February 2).
The big advantage of placing rocks that will form the (actually add to an existing) spawning bed on the ice is that they can be driven to the spot and placed rather precisely. When the ice melts in the spring, the rocks will sink.
On this day, the Long Lake Property Owners Association (LLPOA) members organized an army of snowmobiles, 4-wheelers and side-by-sides, all with sleds or trailers, to ferry the rocks out to locations, where other volunteers including the 1st Drummond Scouts Group, unloaded them and arranged them to correspond with the existing spawning beds.
“This is a great lake for this kind of project,” said Melissa Dakers of Watersheds Canada. “There’s no current to speak of and the two existing shoals get good wind.
“We’ve had other similar projects in Lanark that have worked out well.”
Dakers said the Algonquins of Ontario were also involved and they had funding from Fisheries and Oceans Canada through the Recreational Fisheries Conservation Partnership Program.
The rocks used are washed river stone, ranging in size from small apples to large grapefruit, supplied by contractor Peter Nedow. The beds themselves are marked with coniferous branches for safety.
Lake Steward Terry Eccles said they’ve done some spawning ground projects in the past through the MNR program, which no longer exists.
“So we contacted Melissa and she said she had some funding and all we needed to provide was some volunteers,” he said.
And provide the volunteers they did.
It was quite a sight to see: about 40 snowmobiles and ATVs hooked up with sleds and trailers, running a constant relay from the shore to the beds. In all, it took about two hours to completely move two large truckloads of rock.
“This increases the spawning area available to the walleye,” he said. “We’re really hoping this will make the walleye competitive with the bass.”
The rocks were deposited off two different islands (known walleye spawning beds) on the ice and will sink to the bottom when the ice melts in the spring.
The Sharbot Lake Legion Branch 425 had a clientele of eight people in its Meals on Wheels program but like most organizations these days, it found it just didn’t have enough volunteers to make the program work.
So, they decided to do the next best thing, supporting Rural Frontenac Community Services (RFCS) Meals on Wheels program with a financial donation of $500.
“One of the Legion’s lottery mandates is Meals on Wheels,” President June Crawford said during a cheque presentation following the regular Friday Night Dinner. “The proceeds are from our meat draws and 50/50.
“There will probably be more.”
The venue was appropriate because many of the meals the Legion provided came from the Friday Night Dinners.
Catherine Tysick, adult centre manager for RFCS, acknowledged that finding drivers to deliver Meals on Wheels can be a challenge, both in volunteer recruitment and financially.
“It’s a costly venture,” she said. “The price of food goes up and there’s mileage at 42 cents/kilometre.
“And then there’s the cost of containers.”
From April to December last year, there were 2,786 meals delivered, consisting of soup, the main meal and desert.
“Some clients will order two meals so they have leftovers for the next day,” Tysick said. “Those clients tend to be gentlemen.
“But most get meals on Tuesdays and Thursdays.”
The meals now are all prepared at the daycare kitchen by Anne Howes and Laura Wood, she said.
“Some people are reluctant to get Meals on Wheels because they feel it threatens their independence,” she said. “But there are plenty of other days to cook if you want to.
“Without Meals on Wheels, a lot of seniors would just eat toast for dinner.”
Sharbot Lake Legion President June Crawford presents a $500 cheque to Catherine Tysick, Rural Frontenac Community Services adult centre manager for Meals on Wheels. Photo/Craig Bakay
As The Crow Flies, Teilhard Frost’s first solo offering, is, if nothing else, an excellent history lesson.
A 14-song CD, it’s a consistent mix of banjo, fiddle and harmonica tunes, with some vocals and even a couple of a cappella tunes mixed in.
Like he did with Sheesham, Lotus and ’Son, Frost draws deep into yesteryear for inspiration and material, displaying both reverence and modern virtuosity for these pieces that might otherwise fade into history.
“It’s getting where I want it,” he says. “This album is similar to Sheesham and Lotus but a little higher up the mountain I think.”
Frost was raised on Manitoulin Island where he spent a lot of time with older fiddlers. He now calls Wolfe Island home.
But it’s clear those early roots took deep and now his love of Appalachian folk music is shining through.
His No. 1 instrument is probably the fiddle, and there are three offerings of minor key jiggy-reely music that maritimers will appreciate.
There’s even an old Henry Whitter blues tune, Raincrow Bill, that Frost claims was the first blues harmonica recording in 1923.
But what you may find surprising is Frost’s approach to the banjo. When Earl Scruggs made the banjo a mainstay of bluegrass country, many people tended to forget just how far back the drum-faced strings go.
Frost not only reminisces musically, but also adds a modern touch in his approach. Often, he adds five and six-note transitions and fills where most banjo players would use no more than three.
Indeed, arguably the best tune on the album, Walk in the Parlour is an excellent artist’s interpretation that is very much aided by whatever recording techniques were used (live off the floor, most likely, as there is very little overdubbing on this CD).
Sonically, the banjo strings ring out with incredible bell-like tones (at least they did on the reviewers Bose bluetooth system). The only beef about this one was it was too short.
Again, the whole album is consistent in both approach and sound quality that aficionados of the Appalachian sound, and those who look for something different, will appreciate.
By the way, in case you missed it (spoiler alert), there’s a little in-joke on a couple of tunes where Frost credits Sheesham Crow as a second musician.
Sheesham Crow is Frost’s alter ego with Sheesham, Lotus and ’Son. Gee, do you suppose that’s where the “Crow” in As The Crow Flies comes from?
The good news is that the Central Frontenac capital budget for last year came in $270,000 less than what was budgeted for.
The bad news is that the Township still owes $2,162,569 for various loans.
These loans include $301,246 still remaining on the medical centre, $25,502 on solar installations, $396,034 on the 5th Lake Road project, $722,287 for fire equipment and $717,500 for public works equipment.
These revelations were presented by Central Frontenac Treasurer Michael McGovern at a special capital budget Council meeting last Thursday at the Fire Hall in Sharbot Lake.
If the budget were passed as presented, it would represent $3,071,808. Last year, it was $1,932,114.
“The capital budget is up $1.1 million over last year,” McGovern said.
That doesn’t include the operating budget, which the Township still has meet on.
However, McGovern said that according to Ministry standards, the Township is at 34 per cent of its loan ceiling.
“We’re trying to do everything,” he said. “(But) the Ministry would like us to keep it under 55 per cent (so, in theory) we could take out another $2 million in loans.”
In a perfect world, the fire department would like about $400,000 for a new tanker and Chief Greg Robinson said they’re “looking for a new $2 million station.”
Robinson declined to say where the new station would be located but the Township has built new stations in Sharbot Lake, Mountain Grove and Parham since amalgamation.
When it was acting Public Works Manager David Armstrong’s turn to present a wish list, a request for $120,000 for ½ ton trucks didn’t raise an eyebrow.
But when it came to discussion of Crow Lake Road and Henderson Road, everybody weighed in.
“Crow Lake Road is a road that’s totally in disrepair,” Armstrong said. “I’d like to look at repairs from Road 38 to the settlement area whether we get a (~ 50 per cent) grant or not.
“It’s a bit of a portal into our Township.”
Armstrong estimated it would take around $2.5 million “to get from 38 to just past the settlement.”
“I would say it’s the worst road in our Township,” said Coun. Bill MacDonald.
“I’ve seen them patch that thing and I think that’s a tremendous waste,” said Coun. Elwin Burke.
Armstrong also mentioned Westport Road and “two others,” one of which was Henderson Road.
“I’d also like to spend more money on ditching and rock removal,” Armstrong said. “The sidewalks in Sharbot Lake are a liability but that’s next year.”
There’s also the closing of Oso Waste Facility in 2023 to consider.
Clerk-Administrator Cathy MacMunn also brought up the notion of a new Township office including a Council Chambers to the tune of $900,000.
She cited noise and security as big concerns at the current office.
“We might not want to build a new office just yet,” said Dep. Mayor Victor Heese. “I’m not sure the current provincial government is done with municipal restructuring.”