Click here to read the council proceedings from the March 12, 2018 meeting.
Welcome to the Howe Island Ratepayers Association Web Site
The Howe Island Ratepayers Association, incorporated as a non-profit organization, is a Community Association run by volunteers. Howe Island is one of the worlds renowned 1000 Islands located on the St Lawrence River mid-way between Kingston and Gananoque, Ontario.
As a Community Association, our mission is to build community by sharing information, promoting activities and fostering civic involvement, all with a view to the Preservation and Improvement of the Howe Island quality of life and quality of public services. HIRA supports the orderly and sustainable development of Howe Island in a manner to preserve and enhance the value and lifestyle of the residential, rural and agricultural aspects of Howe Island.
As a member of the HIRA Community Association, you are a vital part of a collective community voice on important issues, positive or negative, impacting Howe Island. Through HIRA, our elected representatives can be made aware of your views on such issues in a timely manner.
HIRA Community Association Web Site
We encourage you to use this Web Site as your gateway to the local community, to the Internet and to provide HIRA information and feedback on important issues affecting the Howe Island Community. We welcome your suggestions and questions.
A HIRA BRIEFING NOTE
February 13, 2018
This is a brief report to HIRA members on the Township of Frontenac Islands Council meeting which took place on February 12 2018 at the Township Offices on Howe. Only matters with particular relevance to Howe Island are highlighted here.
- Planning- The Director of Planning for the County of Frontenac addressed Council requesting their concurrence in increasing the staff resources by one senior planner for a 3-year contract position. He noted that their workload was forcing a lot of staff overtime. He noted that the cost would be apportioned among three of the four Townships comprising the County. South Frontenac Township has their own in-house planning staff and does not use County planners for South Township planning. The Township of Frontenac Islands’ (that’s Wolfe, Howe and Simcoe) portion based on assessment is about 10%. The cost will be phased in over 3 years and it is estimated that at the end of the three years the cost to the Township of Frontenac Islands will be approximately $36,000. Council supported the increase in staff (and with it the additional cost) and the Mayor noted that the level of planning service from the County is better than the previous contract planners.
- Official Plan Amendment-Council approved an Official Plan Amendment changing the St Philomena’s Church property on Howe Island Drive from Agriculture to Rural. This amendment is to recognize the existing land use and had been in the works for some time.
- Road Race Plan-A representative from the Kingston Road Runners addressed Council to inform Council of their plans to hold a road running race on Howe on May 12 2018. Council was informed that the money raised from these races is directed to various charitable or community initiatives. On Howe Island they are proposing to direct funds towards a tennis/basketball/pickle ball court. It was noted that in order to see such a facility becoming a reality in the foreseeable future it would require partnerships with external grant agencies. Council decided to discuss this item during their budget deliberations and Council may recommend the formation of a Committee to advance this initiative.
- Road Side Garbage Pickup Contract- Council awarded the contract to Island Properties Management (Rob Feeney) and while they were the low bidder the increase over the present contract is approximately 63%. Councilor Higgs noted that this was a significant increase that could have the effect of a 2% increase in the tax rate and therefore Council should look to ways to decrease the cost by changing to pickups every two weeks rather that every week and encourage more recycling. Deputy Mayor and Councilor Nossal suggested this was a “cost of doing business” and felt that monies to offset this additional cost could be found through the budget negotiation process. (Editor’s Note: From Council’s Agenda material it appears the cost per year for pick up going forward will be $73,467(the competing tender from Manco Recycling and Waste was $74,858). Stark Battens who has been doing the road side pick-up for several years charged $45,000 in 2017)
HIRA- HOWE ISLAND RATEPAYERS ASSOCIATION
A HIRA BRIEFING NOTE
This is a brief report to HIRA members on two Township Council Meetings which took place on December 11 2017 at the Township Offices on Howe. Only matters with particular relevance to Howe Island are highlighted here.
Council Pre-Budget Meeting at 2:00pm-
- Pre-budget discussion centered on what is hoped will be accomplished this year and next.
- Trail benches were identified for installation this year but will be postponed until next year.
- Signage made with composite material will be installed to replace some existing Island identification signs.
- The deck rebuild for the Foot Ferry is moving forward with the MTO taking the lead on the tendering process. The MTO has said no to extending the length of the Foot Ferry due to engineering concerns and capacity. Timing is targeted for March-April 2018. Ramp work will be done by Township employees with assistance from the MTO.
- Deputy Mayor Nossal has suggested setting up an internal working group of Township and County representatives to review the ferry fee structure.
- Spithead road work is to move forward in two phases with the first part for ditching and drainage and the second for road reconstruction. A separate meeting with the Spithead group is to be held to set out next steps.
- Recreational enhancements are under consideration for the ball diamond. The Road Runners organization which has held some events on Howe has some funds to contribute to these enhancements including for basketball, tennis and pickle ball.
- Policy work is to be undertaken regarding septic and water systems in case any large scale development is proposed on Howe.
- The HIRA ferry camera proposal was raised. It was met with a positive response but nothing definitive at this point.
Regular Council Meeting at 6:30 pm-
- During a discussion of a severance application, Council reiterated its policy to secure a 33’ from centre road allowance for the applicant where the property abuts the Township road.
- The St Philomena Church property has been re-designated rural from agricultural to allow future severance of the church lands.
- Council indicated it is reviewing the recent slowdown in the speed of the County ferry since its return from its four year inspection.
- A review is underway regarding school bus scheduling.
- It was noted that while the Township set ferry fees for this year, the County set different fees. Council will review.
We wish to report to the members of HIRA and to potential members what HIRA has been doing over the past year and our plans for the ensuing period.
Your Board of Directors is hopeful that you will continue to support HIRA, your Howe Island community association. If you are not a member please consider joining HIRA. If you are a new member of HIRA, welcome.
Dues for one year are $10, for two years $20 or for a life time $100.If you have not paid your dues for this year (July 1 2017-June 30 2018) please do so.
Cheques for membership should be payable to HIRA and sent or delivered to HIRA’s Treasurer, Peter Tucker at 2392 Howe Island Drive, Howe Island K7G 2V6 or delivered to one of the following HIRA Directors: Bill Robertson, Jim Mills, Brian Humphrys, or Bill Worona.
THIS PAST YEAR, HIRA HAS:
- Arranged a Pitch-In campaign to clean roadside rubbish from all Howe Island roads; Pitch-In for 2018 will be April 21,2018
- Made representations to Township Council regarding possible amendments to the Official Plan on lot sizes for Howe Island
- Arranged for an OPP Officer and Community Support Officer to attend HIRA’s Annual General Meeting to speak about various forms of SCAMS
- Conducted a Howe Island photo contest
- Provided updated news about the Island on the HIRA Web site at www.howeisland.org
- Made representations to Township Council regarding ferry fees both before and at Council’s public meeting on August 29th 2017
- Made representations to Township Council regarding the installation of internet connected cameras at ferry terminals to give ferry users real time views of each ferry’s position and line up status.
HIRA NEEDS YOUR SUPPORT FOR
- Continuing to represent Islanders in assisting and occasionally persuading Township Council on matters that come before Council
- Updating the HIRA Web site at www.howeisland.org, including creating a community notice board for members to announce upcoming events on Howe Island
- Communicating with members on important matters affecting Howe Is.
- Conducting community events that bring Howe Islanders together
- Attending Township Council meetings in order to keep HIRA members informed of matters being dealt with at Council
- Arranging meetings with interesting outside speakers on a range of subjects from health care to current events.
- If you would like to get involved with any of our ongoing projects please let us know.
If you have an interest in joining the HIRA Board please speak to Jim Mills at 613-546-7536.
Many thanks for your continued support. The more members we have the louder our voice in communicating with all levels of government.
HIRA Board of Directors
I have attached a letter from HIRA relating to your taking steps to improve ferry service for Howe Island.Click here to read the letter
We ask that you give very serious consideration to our request. HIRA would be pleased to assist in any way we can to see to the implementation of our request.
The improvement of ferry service will necessarily involve a number of steps (such as improving the speed of the County ferry, building a fund to replace the Township ferry, determining fares, deciding whether to charge vacant landowners etc). We believe that the installation of cameras at the Howe Island terminals will be an important new first step.
Howe Island Ratepayers Association
Click here to read the Letter to Council regarding Howe Island Ferries: Fees and Fare Structure.
Howe Island Ratepayers Association
Annual General Meeting
August 24, 2017 7:00PM
St. Philomena’s Parish Hall
All islanders welcome, you do not have to be a HIRA member to attend.
The AGM will feature:
– A recap of HIRA initiatives
– Election of the 2017/2018 Board of Directors
The keynote speaker will be Judy King from the OPP who will speak on “Scams ie fraudulent solicitations.” Judy will also be available for questions from the audience.
Not a member of HIRA? Please consider joining: we are a community association that works with local government for the improvement of Howe Island.
Township of Frontenac Islands has activated its Emergency Response Plan
The Township of Frontenac Islands has activated its Emergency Response Plan and filed a Declaration of Emergency with the Province, to assist in protecting the health, safety, welfare and property of our citizens.
Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River are already at a historic high, and in anticipation of an additional increase in water levels coupled with the possibility of increasing westerly winds and wave uprush, a Declared Flooding Emergency will be put in place. When traveling through locations where water is over the road, please proceed very slowly and with caution.
To assist in diverting water from your property, the Township has an available supply of sand bags and sand at the Public Works Garages on both Wolfe and Howe Islands. Residents in need of sandbags can fill bags to use on their properties. Bring your own shovel. If erosion of the shoreline is a concern, placement of sand bags may assist with keeping the soil in place. Please monitor your sump pumps and have alternate means of power available.
Ferry operations on both the Simcoe Islander and Township Howe Islander are being closely monitored. Should water levels rise much higher there is a possibility that Township ferry operations may cease until water levels drop. Wolfe Islander III and Frontenac County Ferries are not at risk at this time.
The Township’s Public Works Department has been reinforcing roads. For example, 600 tons of rock has been used to stabilize Reed’s Bay Road. A benefit of declaring an emergency is that Provincial and Federal Governments can be called in to assist, should our staff not be able to keep up with the excess demands created by this emergency.
Document any damages incurred with photos and keep receipts for expenses as a result of any flooding which may occur on your property. If the Ministry of Housing determines this to be a zone eligible for Disaster Recovery Assistance for Ontarians (DRAO), these documents will be necessary.
It is important that you and your family should be ready to care for yourselves for a minimum of 72 hours.
In declaring an emergency, volunteers may be called upon to assist municipal resources. To ensure they are covered under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, those interested in volunteering are to register at the Municipal Offices.
Please read the important information from KFL&A Public Health on the reverse of this document. We strongly encourage you to test your drinking water. Test bottles can be picked up at either township office and returned to the office for pickup by the Health Unit.Health Notice
HOWE ISLAND PITCH IN 2017
Saturday, April 22
(Rain day: April 23)
The Township of Frontenac Islands and the Howe Island Ratepayers Association are again co-operating in the 2017 clean-up of our Island’s roadsides. This campaign has been successful helping to keep the natural beauty of our island.
The Island’s roadsides have been divided into easily manageable sections for clean-up. To volunteer to patrol a stretch of road, please call Bill Worona at 613-549-4617 or email him at email@example.com. Even if you have historically picked up the same section, please let us know, to avoid duplication. Some sections have been revised to provide equalization. Bags and instructions will be provided at the Township office on Baseline Rd on the 22nd.
Join us and pitch in on April 22, 2017.
Lifting of Rush Hour Restrictions on Heavy Farm and Heavy Farm-related Vehicles on the Frontenac Howe Islander: County’s Decision
The many emails from islanders over the past three months, the lawyers letters, the meetings, the ongoing emails from those directly involved pointing out the proper process under various acts and boards that should have been followed, all of this time and effort resulted in “…that the County of Frontenac take no further action” as stated in the County Council meeting of January 18. Following a brief, possibly five minutes, address to Council by solicitor Tony Fleming, Council voted to allow heavy farm and heavy farm-related vehicles to load the Frontenac Howe Islander during rush hours. There was one “nay” and that was Councillor Inglis from North Frontenac. Supporting the motion, Councillor Doyle and Councillor Nossal.
Councils set by-laws. They defend their by-laws. The County’s solicitor, Tony Fleming, “…appears before the Ontario Municipal Board and the Assessment Review Board. In addition, Tony appears in all levels of Ontario Courts on administrative law matters, including defending challenges to municipal by-laws” (Mr. Fleming’s bio on Cunningham Swan website). We were advised on Wednesday that while there was no actual by-law on rush hour restrictions, policies/recommendations/procedures become by-laws at the end of a Council meeting under, “By-law to confirm proceeding of council”. If the County’s former policy actually qualifies as a by-law (as their solicitor claims), why didn’t Council defend their own by-law by putting the onus on the farmers to go the Normal Farm Practices Protection Board as outlined in the Farming and Food Production Protection Act? Or why didn’t Council go to the Board on their own initiative, as their solicitor now seems to suggest was an option, to defend the former policy?
It appears that County Council was directed by their lawyer to NOT take the necessary steps to go to the Normal Farm Practices Protection Board. Council deferred to their lawyer on a policy decision, an unelected single individual. Don’t you think Council should have decided what was the best policy, take the various competing claims into account, and then seek legal advice? This should have been Council’s decision not their solicitor’s, but Council in the end, didn’t think they had to decide anything other than pass their solicitor’s opinion to their staff for implementation.
From the beginning, that’s what we asked…move through the process as outlined in various acts, then move through the appropriate boards and engage islanders, not just the five islanders on Craig’s letter. You and we were stonewalled and blindsided all the way through. Why did County Council meet in-camera? Why wasn’t the Official Plan taken into account? Why weren’t the concerns of the majority of island taxpayers taken into consideration? If any of our Township elected officials supported our cause, why weren’t they vocal? Why did Council act so quickly?
In the run-up to the 2014 election, Deputy Mayor Nossal produced and circulated a campaign postcard that listed Howe Island issues that included ferries and effective county representation. It also stated, “Will provide careful and balanced consideration of the issues, and a voice for all Howe Islanders.”
Christopher Hitchens quote on voters is worth repeating here, “The only people truly bound by campaign promises are voters who believe them.”
PS Check the article in Whig by clicking here