This is a brief report to HIRA members and others on the Township of Frontenac Islands Council meeting which took place on Howe Island at the Municipal Offices on Monday December 10th, 2018. Three of our directors attended the meeting. Only matters of particular reference to Howe Island or of general reference are highlighted here.
1- Inaugural Meeting-This meeting of the Council was the first meeting of the new Council. Each Councilor was sworen in and was then invited by Mayor Doyle to make some remarks. Newly elected Councilor Noreen MacDougall thanked the Howe Islanders who had voted for her and said she looked forward to learning on the job and serving her fellow Islanders and other members of the community. Bruce Higgs, a returning and elected Councilor, said his main priorities were to get the County ferry running properly with a new drive system and to ensure the bubbler system on the foot ferry is enhanced. Mayor Doyle’s full remarks are on the HIRA web site at howeisland.org.
2-New Deputy Mayor-Bruce Higgs was appointed as Deputy Mayor of Frontenac Islands. He replaces Natalie Nossal who did not stand for reelection in the recent election. Bruce will sit with Mayor Doyle on the Frontenac County Council as well as on the Frontenac Islands Council.
3-Public Works Manager’s Actions Pending Report-This report includes items dealing with repairs to the foot ferry dock, Spithead Road reconstruction, ditching on North Shore Road and work on Howe Island Drive and Baseline Road. The report says, with respect to these items that the Public Works Manager will prepare a budget for each of these items. The Report says nothing about repairs to the surface of North Shore Road.
4-Chief Administrative Officer’s Actions Pending Report-The only item referred to regarding Howe Island is research into cameras for the ferry docks. The status is that research is being done into costs and connectivity and it is being deferred to budget time for 2019.
5-Budget and Priority Setting Meeting-Council will be meeting at the Municipal Offices on Friday December 21, 2019 at 9:30 am to set priorities and budgets for the coming year 2019. This meeting is open to the public.
6-Ferry Operations-At the end of the Council meeting members of the public were given an opportunity to speak. The main topic of discussion and criticism was around issues relating to the County ferry:
- it’s recent slowdown in speed resulting in only three trips per hour (versus six per hour for the foot ferry);
- the often slow and abrupt notifications from the County of when the ferry is down or back in service, and the lack of detail as to why it’s down;
- the lack of a specific transportation committee for the County ferry; and
- a reminder of what was recommended (i.e. two cables) when the County ferry was being planned back in 2003, and what was delivered (i.e. one cable) and a reminder of the respective obligations of the MTO, which owns the ferry, and the County in relation to the maintenance and operation of the ferry.
It was also suggested that if the County is either not interested in operating the ferry, or only operating it as if it is an ancillary service, the management of the ferry be transferred to the Township which already operates the foot ferry. Deputy Mayor Higgs mentioned his campaign promise to work at getting a better cable system. It appears Council’s response to these matters will be part of Council’s deliberations at the December 21Council meeting referred to in item 5 above.