Wednesday, 13 February 2019 16:13

South Frontenac Seeks Firefighters

South Frontenac’s Volunteer Fire Department is launching a recruitment drive this month, hoping to attract 25 new recruits from throughout the township. They are looking for physically fit, energetic men and women who are interested in becoming part of a team working to promote safety and who are prepared to protect their community in emergencies.

Firefighters are first responders not only to fires, but to a wide range of other emergencies, health crises and rescues from various dangerous situations (confined space, ice, rope, surface water, swift water, trench, vehicle). Some emergencies cannot be reached by road, necessitating boat or overland equipment transport. As well, the Fire Department is responsible for promoting public safety by providing education and fire prevention, investigating causes of fires, and carrying out fire safety inspections of public buildings. (A well-equipped and trained fire department helps keep home insurance rates down throughout the Township.)

Training is central to becoming a firefighter. According to Fire Chief Darcy Knott, although the Province has currently revoked its requirement for all volunteer firefighters to have mandatory certification, known as National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1001, he anticipates that some form of this requirement will be reinstated. Certification requires completion of levels 1&2 of firefighting training, as well as a course in hazardous materials management.

It took a month for Knott to work through the records of the current 80 South Frontenac volunteer firefighters, to determine which ones had the level of combined experience and training which would allow them to be grandfathered into certification. As a result, 75% of the current township firefighters are now recognized as having the equivalent of NFPA1001. Knott has planned an intensive training program for the new recruits beginning in May, for one night a week plus one or two weekend sessions which will bring them up to certification by the end of October this year. This training will be funded by the Township. (The alternative would require a year-long community college course, costing thousands of dollars in tuition.) As well as training, each new recruit will be fully fitted out with the necessary gear. This is one of the biggest single expenses for the Township: it costs nearly $3,000 to fully equip a firefighter.

Interested? There will be four information sessions: at Burridge and Perth Road stations on Tuesday Feb 26th, and at Hartington and Sunbury stations on Tuesday March 5th. These sessions will discuss expectations, benefits and training opportunities, and answer questions from potential recruits. For further information, contact Fire Chief Darcy Knott, 613-376-3027 ext 2234.

Wednesday, 30 January 2019 14:35

History of Sunbury Open Mic Jam

(Editors note – Marjery Smith sent in the following, with a view towards clarifying some aspects of the article that appeared in the Frontenac News on January 10 on page 1. Once she got started she ended up writing about the entire history of the jam. Her passion for the jam is evident and we decided to run her submission in full. Here it is.)

The Sunbury Open Mic Jam, is on every Friday Night, at the Storrington Centre in Sunbury. There is no admission charged.

Thank you very much, South Frontenac, for your generosity to the community for no hall costs. I opened the Sunbury Jam with my own York amplifier, one microphone w/ stand, one music stand and my guitar, five players, four in the audience; growing each week, and it hasn’t stopped growing since.

In a short time, equipment needed to be updated and purchased, so with donations, this was made possible. Donations also covered the cost of coffee time breaks, and pot luck dinners at least twice a year.

I organized the Old Time Country Music Championship fundraiser at Rideau Acres Campground. Joan & Roy Shepherd and the committee had the big job holding the championship at the Bedford Jam. I have had the honour of being one of the five chosen to receive a volunteer award In recognition of contributions to the citizens Of South Frontenac in 2011. I thank you Elwood Rollins for the nomination.

When I left the jam in 2012, because of bad health, we had up to thirty-three (33) players and a packed house full of people. I still keep the players’ signatures as they waited their turn to play; with photos of all.

In July, 2007, Joan and Roy Shepherd of Oak Flats, Godfrey, began a jam at the 2nd Depot Lake pavilion. In the fall of 2007, they moved to Piccadilly Hall Open Mic Jam- a great success, but still not big enough. In 2009/10, they moved to Glendower Hall on Westport Rd, as the Bedford Open Mic Jam, another great success. The Bedford Jam has been referred to as having more experienced players, where Sunbury Jam was where we came to get the practice and the confidence built up. (then look out, here we come!) In the winter time, when Roy & Joan went to Florida, Judy Albertson Murphy and Jerry Webster took over the jam until Jerry went to live in Equador, South America. Then Wilhelmine & Homer Card and Judy Albertson Murphy and Dave Froats, looked after it until Roy & Joan got home. Now, Roy & Joan once again took over the jam full time in 2018/19 due to health issues of Judy, Wilhelmine and Homer.

In 2012/13, Ellis and Mary Lou Wolfreys, who have the open mic Amherst Island radio afternoon program at 92.1 FM on Wednesdays from 1pm to 5pm, took over the Sunbury open mic jam for me for three years, but they were unable, like me, to deal with transporting the sound system. He continued with other jams that had stationary systems. They are an amazing couple who just give and give. In 2015/16, John Kot, Elwood Rollins, and Wayne Eves took over the Sunbury open mic jam It is still going strong. Thank you, gentlemen! Donations cover expenses of equipment, treats, and sandwiches, coffee/tea. John says he gives prizes to the audience now.

During July and August, Paul Rappell has always held an “acoustic only Jam” in Sunbury, same place of the regular jam. Many preferred the softer sounds of this than the amplified sounds. This is beautiful.

It’s been a truly strong entertaining concert for all thirteen years. There are numerous open mic jams now known and advertised all over the place. Awesome! Thank you, each and every one, playing and/or listening, and leadership, for the joy and comradeship this jam has brought to this community and others. Thank you, Lord.

by Margery Smith


With the exception of July and August, there’s country music at the community centre in Sunbury. It’s been going on for 17 years, although it’s really been going strong for the past 10 years or so.

“The lady who started it off was Margaret Smith,” said guitar player John Kott. “They didn’t have too many people back then.”

But about 10 years ago, with the advent of Jack’s Jam in Plevna and the Bedford Jam (nee Piccadilly Jam) as well as a few others, Kott, along with fellow aficionados Wayne Eaves and Elwood Rollins took it over and it’s been a going concern ever since.

“Yeah, we’re the ‘executive,’” said Kott, laughing. “But we usually have 25 to 35 entertainers and play to three-quarters to a packed house.”

Kott, who still plays with Jeff Code’s band, said there’s a lot of reasons he keeps doing it into his ’70s.

“Well, it keeps me practised up,” he said. “I’ll keep doing it for a few more years anyways.

“But it’s a good opportunity for those who are just learning to get up and play in front of an audience.

“We’ve had one lady, Thelma McMacken, who just started at 91.”

He said any money raised goes back to the audience in the form of prizes.

“And it’s good for the mind and body,” he said. “It gets you out of the house.”

Barry and Sheila Calthorpe, who show up at many of the open mikes and jams in the area are regulars here too.

“It’s good to see everybody, it’s like a family,” said Sheila. “And we really like to encourage the newcomers.”

“We’ve encouraged all we can,” said Barry. “Some of them to the point they’re better than us.”

Wednesday, 12 December 2018 12:09

Sutherland challenges closed meeting procedure

South Frontenac Council began their COW meeting an hour early, in order to hold a closed Session prior to the main meeting. The four agenda items for the closed session were listed as:”Litigation; Matters concerning an Identifiable Individual (listed twice, as two separate items); and Matters subject to Client Solicitor”. This is South Frontenac’s usual way of introducing “in camera” sessions.

This week Councillor Sutherland attempted to make a motion challenging the minimal nature of the information given to the public concerning the nature of the matters to be discussed, prior to going into closed session. Quoting the Ontario Ombudsman who said the motion to hold a closed meeting must: “give as much information about the subject as possible, without undermining the reason for closing the meeting,” Sutherland contended that telling the public what the general subject of the meeting is to be, would increase transparency and openness. He registered his disapproval at what he saw as ‘improper procedure.’

Mayor Vandewal reminded Sutherland that this was a Committee of the Whole meeting, and motions could only be voted on at Council meetings. He deferred to CAO Orr, as the authority on procedure. Orr said he had ‘sought advice’ on the issue, and felt Council was acting appropriately. “We are following the procedure we have used for the past nine years.”

“I will bring this motion back,” said Sutherland, as Council moved into closed session.

Splash Pad Report
Recreation Supervisor Tim Laprade presented a feasibility report on a splash pad park, prepared at the request of the Loughborough and Portland district recreation committees. The report listed preferred locations, benefits, risks, capitol and operating costs, and included comments from other municipalities. There seems to be strong support from the increasing number of young families in the area, and almost all the municipalities that have installed splash pads report that they are extremely successful and well-used. However, there is little question that they are expensive to build, and have high ongoing operating costs.

All the returning Council members were reluctant to move forward without first taking into consideration the rest of the Township’s recreational costs and needs. Councillor Morey asked whether any community groups had shown interest in doing serious fundraising for the project. Laprade said there had been ‘some awareness’. Sleeth was not in favour; “There are lakes everywhere we look.” (One of the proposed sites was Harrowsmith, where there is no nearby lake.) Revill, though listing some of the pending costs for maintaining the Township arena, said the demographic was changing. Mayor Vandewal said “There will always be large-ticket items; I’d like to see a more strategic long-term recreation report, which would include (this proposal) as well as other pending recreation needs. if we’re putting this off for now, the public needs to know why, and what our long-term vision is.”

Skate Park Feasibility
Laprade’s second report recommended Council increase the budget for a skateboard feasibility study from 2018’s (unused) $5,000 to a maximum of $15,000 for 2019. The study was not done last year, for study proposals from skate park companies had ranged from $13,500 to $50,000.

For several years, there have been delegations and petitions to Council asking for a skateboard park in South Frontenac. A feasibility study based on consultation with the skate park advisory group would provide a concept plan, a draft implementation plan including costs, funding opportunities, and location recommendations.

Mayor Vandewal said that the increasing number of young families meant that a splash pad would have more ‘uptake.’ Sutherland said the skateboard group is a poorly-served population, and Roberts said that there have been skateboard requests coming to Council for many years, now. Revill said a feasibility study would give Council ‘something to work with.” Laprade’s recommendation will go forward for budget consideration.

Fire Services: Operational Review and Recommendations
Fire Chief Darcy Knott spoke to a 51 page report with 25 recommendations. (“I trust you have all read this,” said Mayor Vandewal to Council.) Saying that “The current state of the department is good and has a potential to be great,” Knott outlined the needs for an increase in the level of service to residents, greater accountability, and steps to mitigate liability. Some of these issues can be attributed to changes in legislation, and some to lack of full amalgamation of the Township’s fire services.

Knott listed his top priorities:

Hire an Assistant Deputy Chief of fire prevention,

Recruit 25 more firefighters, using a publicity campaign and orientation sessions,

Close Station #9 (off the Burnt Hills Road, East of Battersea.) It is moldy, unused and full of rodents,

Repurpose Station #8 (Sunbury) and construct a new station a few km north, to serve Battersea and Sunbury,

Surplus the old station #6 Perth Road,

Get budget to buy a demo Air Trailer Unit. This would be used to refill the Department’s 100 air bottles, both annually and after each use. Usual cost of such units is between $135,000 and $155,000 new: Knott has an option on a lightly-used one for $32,000, fully serviced and warranted. Currently the Township has the use of a non-mobile unit on short-term loan.

Spare pagers: some are needed for reserve when the present ones need repairs.

Council agreed that Knott should not have to wait for the budget process to get the Air Unit: reserve funds could be used now, and replaced from the 2019 budget. They also asked him to get prices on a bulk purchase of pagers to serve present needs and to supply the anticipated new volunteer recruits. Knott will bring this information to next week’s Council meeting.

Cataraqui Trail Restructuring
Councillor Sutherland reported from the Cataraqui Conservation Authority that there had been a restructuring of the responsibilities for the Cataraqui Trail. Though the Trail has always been owned by the Conservation Authority, it has until now been maintained by a volunteer work group of Friends of the Cat Trail. However, due to some major need for expensive repairs (especially several washouts), the Conservation Authority will assume responsibility for the trail upkeep, with continuing assistance from the volunteer group.

Wednesday, 12 December 2018 12:08

Rotary Cash Calendar

Local Rotary Clubs from Kingston, Napanee and Frontenac are selling the 2019 Rotary Cash Calendars this month. The $20 calendars are similar to other calendars in featuring scenes from Kingston and Frontenac County (many of the photos in the calendar are the work of Inverary-based photographer Joe Furtado)

Purchasers of the calendars are also eligible for daily draws throughout the year, each of which carries a cash prize, ranging from $25 on regular days, to $500 on special holidays. There are a total of $15,000 in cash prizes available, and no more than 3750 calendars are sold.

Rotary has deep roots in Frontenac County. It is one of the founding organisations behind the RKY Camp on Eagle Lake in Parham, (RKY stands for Rotary/Kiwanis/YMCA) and has an active membership from South Frontenac.

The Sydenham High School Music Program is also selling the calendars as a fundraiser for their program, and the calendars are available at the school. In addition to Sydenham High School, the calendars are available at Ormsbees Mercantile, The Sunbury General Store, Inverary Pharmasave, at Sydenham Farm and Pet Supply and Willow Agriservices Ltd.

For further information or to arrange for purchase/delivery, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Wednesday, 04 July 2018 12:23

Grief is the price we pay for love

It’s a fine line that separates pain and happiness.

Michael Trautrimas knows it intimately from walking it every day.

“Sometimes time feels like it has flown-by. Other times, it feels like it has stood still,” says the 45-year-old man sadly, one-month before the second anniversary of a tragic car accident that claimed the life of his wife and six-year-old son, Owen.

For many, the accident is a wound that has yet to heal.

Rounding a corner on Battersea Road near Sunbury on July 27, 2016, Michael’s wife, Brenda, 38, and two sons, collided with a truck. His eldest son, Ayden, was the lone survivor in the family van.

Michael’s eyes water talking about the accident that changed his life. To cope, he’s never asked for details such as what happened or why. He knows the answers could reveal suffering which would only compound the pain in his broken heart.

“The last place I saw them was the Walmart parking lot,” says Michael, who was preparing to leave his job as a diesel mechanic early the day of the accident due to a strong feeling something was wrong.

“That first night when the news was broken to me, I remember everything, the words that were spoken to me; even their facial expressions,” he says solemnly.

What Michael didn’t know was the extent of injuries sustained by his eldest son, who is severely autistic.

Ayden spent the next six weeks in hospital recovering from a neck injury, broken hip, fractured foot, severe whiplash, concussion, bruising and a wound that turned dangerously necrotic. The doctors also removed his arm.

“The first thing he did when he woke up in the hospital was put his arm around me,” says Michael. “For what he went through, he’s a tank. He kept fighting the whole way through his recovery. That’s what kept me going. Ayden has been my rock. If it had been a complete loss, I wouldn’t be here.”

Nearly two years later, Ayden has made a full recovery and Michael marvels at how he found the inner strength to shape a new life despite almost drowning under the weight of his grief.

“That’s hard to explain in one sentence,” he replies softly when asked how he’s doing. “It comes in waves. I’m living the best life I can lead going through this.

“It surprises me I have the strength to deal with this,” he adds quietly. “Don’t get me wrong, I still have my moments when I’m a crying mess.”

What most people don’t know is the loss Michael has experienced beyond his immediate family. In the last several years, he has lost a beloved sister, cousins and father-in-law.

“It’s been one-thing after the next,” he explains. “It’s gotten to the point where it’s almost numbing. I’ve lost so many people, I can’t sugarcoat things anymore.”

Despite the pain he has endured, Michael still finds happiness in nine-year-old Ayden and 23-year-old Jacob, a son from a previous relationship.

“I have a lot of love to give,” says the Battersea man kindly. “Above everything I’ve gone through, I’ve always felt I can give to other people. I care about people, their feelings and emotions.”

Proud of his new full-time job raising Ayden, Michael looks away when told he’s resilient.

“It surprises me every day,” he says with a tone of uncertainty. “There hasn’t been one day in the last two years that I haven’t gotten out of bed. I do what anyone would do. I look after my son. I feel pride that I can do this. I take him everywhere. I try to be a good dad. It’s something I’ve always been proud of. He keeps me going.”

Pausing to catch his breath, Michael is quick to thank the first responders and medical staff who helped his family two years ago.

“I just met some of the first responders,” he admits, trailing off quietly, “if it wasn’t for them….

“Owen and Brenda were beyond help, but they helped Ayden who was severely autistic, non-verbal and injured. I imagine there wasn’t much to work with. I have so much gratitude for the first responders who were able to keep Ayden alive.”

Michael is clearly proud of the child who has brought him happiness in a time of grief and pain.

“There’s something about Ayden that is special,” says the doting father with a smile. “He touches your soul. There’s no denial in his love.”


One of the busiest buildings in South Frontenac is getting a facelift.

A contract to renovate the Storrington Centre, located in Sunbury next to the fire hall and library, was awarded to Anglin Group Construction.

“The current building doesn’t really meet the current building code for wheelchair accessibility,” explains Ron Sleeth, Storrrington District Councillor with South Frontenac Township. “Work to improve the hall will start as soon as the weather permits.”

Speaking from his historic farmhouse in Battersea, Sleeth says the hall will receive $204,000 worth of upgrades including a new septic system, wheelchair accessible doors and washroom, an upgraded kitchen and a folding door in the main hall.

The work will be done by the same company that was awarded the contract to build a new fire hall in Perth Road Village.

“The contractor intends to keep the facility open for events such as the Friday night jam sessions which are very popular,” says Sleeth, a dairy farmer and retired manager at DuPont Canada.

The renovations are welcomed in Storrington which just started to receive major infrastructure upgrades after years of inactivity.

“We’re pleased this project has come-in at budget and that a significant amount of work will be undertaken this year and over the next two to three years,” says Sleeth who credits this good news to the hard work of recreation committee volunteers

“The Storrington Recreation Committee lobbied hard for these improvements to the Storrington Centre because it is one of the busiest community halls in South Frontenac Township,” he said. “And Councillor Norm Roberts has been a great partner, working hard on behalf of Storrington District. He sits on the Recreation Committee and has been instrumental in pushing for these much-needed renovations and upgrades.”

Sleeth sees the project as good news for the area which is experiencing rapid development and growth. Located on the eastern edge of the township, Storrington is the largest tax base of the four districts in South Frontenac.

In 2017, the parking lot in front of the Storrington Centre was expanded and a sand dome was constructed. The dome cost $900,000 to build. In 2019, the parking lot around the hall will be paved.

Over the next two years, several roads in the district will be upgraded including sections of Sunbury Road, Round Lake Road and Carrying Place Road. Also, Gilmour Beach in Battersea will be redeveloped along with increased parking at the Ship Yards Boat Launch.

“These projects are good news for our area because major upgrades and renovations haven’t take place in years,” says Sleeth, Chair of the Public Services Committee which oversees municipal roads and buildings. “Thankfully, Storrington District has been well supported by the Public Works Department which serves our community 24-7.”

Located short drive from Kingston, Storrington District is experiencing commercial and residential growth such as two mini-malls and subdivision in Inverary.

“I think we have a vibrant community here,” says Sleeth. “It’s nice to see the municipality growing.”


A service club in Frontenac County is asking for the gift of hope this Christmas.

“Storrington Lions Club has been working hard to revitalize its community hall in Sunbury,” says John Beskers, President of Storrington Lions Club. “Working with very little money, we have accomplished a great deal and have now started the second phase of repairs to the hall. We are asking residents to share the gift of hope this holiday season by making a donation to the Lions Club to save the Storrington Lions Hall.”

Operated by a small group of volunteers, the hall is a central meeting place for dozens of community groups. It is a polling station, blood donor clinic and gathering place for residents to celebrate engagements, marriages and birthdays.

“We’re here as a service,” Beskers explains softly about the club and the hall. “We help people by providing an affordable and convenient space to learn, connect and celebrate life.”

Located in the heart of Frontenac County, the hall is a major part of the community. Volunteers have been working to revitalize it for more than a year despite a major setback in August when a $5,000 air conditioning unit was vandalized for a couple hundred dollars’ worth of copper coil.

“The sides were left in place. The robbers basically just cut everything and took the coil,” confirms Beskers who discovered the broken equipment while hosting a youth dance. “It was a major setback for the club, but we persevered.”

According to Beskers, volunteers have spent the last year upgrading the bathrooms, infrastructure and exterior.

The club estimates it could use another $50,000 to complete all of the renovations and upgrades needed for its sustainability.

“We have also been busy with our paint brushes inside the hall and have now moved into phase two which is an urgent upgrade of our bar area and kitchen,” he explains. “Most people have enough socks and ties. Please give the gift of hope this holiday season by donating to Storrington Lions Hall. What better way to achieve peace, love and joy than investing in our community.”

To help Storrington Lions Club save its community hall, donations are gratefully accepted through the mail at 2992 Princess Road; Inverary ON K0H 1X0 or on the club’s electronic fundraising page Go Fund Me at

Wednesday, 05 July 2017 13:49

Canada Day Around the Region

17 26 canday harrowsmith 2

Don Bates drove the Official Pace Car of Canada Day at Centennial Park in Harrowsmith.

 17 26 canday sharbot 2

Franny & Beebs, hosts of the popular YouTube/Facebook phenomenon In the Breezeway, showed up all the way from Cobourg to be in the parade and headline the show at Oso Beach.

 17 26 canday ompah 2

Patriotic Flag Wavers signing O Canada, on top of the lookout between Palmerston and Canonto Lakes in North Frontenac!

 17 26 sydenham 1

Preparing the cookie decorating table (Sunbury)

 17 26 pie sky

Although rain put the damper on half of Maberly’s Pie in the Sky event, Anne Thomlison, Mary Lou Pospisil, Sue Munro and Marlene Ambler presided over the sale featuring “at least 100” (Photos - Craig Bakay and Wilma Kenny)

Published in General Interest
Wednesday, 05 July 2017 13:01

Canada Day debut for "Fire House"

South Frontenac’s enormous new “fire house” made its first appearance at Gerald Ball Park in Sunbury on Canada Day. This inflatable play structure is not a bouncy castle, but a means of helping teach fire safety to children. It’s based in the theory that no child is too young to begin learning awareness of fire hazards. Inside, there are three rooms: a kitchen, a living room, and the treat at the end, a ramp up to a window to jump out of.

The ‘house' is wheelchair accessible. Inside each of the main rooms, there are posters and firemen to explain some of the basic fire safety information related to potential household fire hazards: cooking, candles, fireplaces and cook stoves. They also explain proper use of fire extinguishers: one is prominently displayed in the ‘kitchen’.

This is the only structure of its kind east of Whitby, and will be available for display at local festivals and other outdoor events. Only four firefighters are necessary to set it up and operate it.

The bright red house came from the States, and cost over $10,000 US. Storrington Firefighters Association came up with the idea and raised most of the money, helped by donations from the Perth Road Firemen's Association and Kingston Association No2 (Glenburnie.) Firefighter Suzanne Quenneville, who took me through the house, and who did the bookkeeping for the project, said the fluctuating Canada/US exchange rates gave her some sleepless nights between making the down payment, and the final payment when the custom-built structure was ready for delivery.

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