HIRA BRIEFING NOTE- October 24, 2021

This is a brief note to HIRA members and other residents of Howe Island about the Township of Frontenac Islands council meetings held on Monday September 13 and Tuesday, October 12, 2021 as well as various additional items that may be of interest. In light of Covid-19 restrictions, the meetings were virtual. The public was provided with Zoom access to the meetings A couple of our HIRA directors called into both meetings. Only matters of particular interest to Howe Island residents are highlighted here.

STATUS OF ONGOING ROAD MAINTENANCE INITIATIVES 2021:

  • North Shore Road:  Stone application is complete. Section to be graded again before onset of winter. Hard surface to be completed in spring 2022.

FACILITIES & EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT UPGRADES:

  • Howe Island Administration Office & Library:

Waiting on delivery of blinds for windows. Otherwise, work is complete.

  • Howe Island Recreation Trail Maintenance:

Grading of the trail has been completed. Stone application to be completed as soon as gravel is available from the quarry.

  • Upgrades to Patrick Norris Park:

The Howe Island recreation committee plans to provide updates to Howe Island residents via a communication sheet as the project progresses. Improvements to the parking lot are expected to be completed in the fall of this year.

Cutting and clearing of brush is ongoing. Fencing bid has been completed and installation is expected before winter. Base for the tennis/pickleball court and basketball court has been installed and staff are waiting on asphalt prices before proceeding.

Accessible washrooms are expected to be completed in the spring of 2022.

2022 FARE SCHEDULE FOR HOWE ISLAND FERRY OPERATION

Council passed Bylaw No 2021-25 to set fees and fares that will apply in 2022 for the Howe Island ferry operation. It is our understanding there are no changes in store for 2022. Fees & fares will be the same as those that were in place for 2021.

END of COUNCIL HIGHLIGHTS

Other Items of Interest

Public Input on County of Frontenac 2022 Budget Process:

On September 15, 2021 County of Frontenac council held a virtual public meeting to permit the public to submit comments and input related to their 2022 budget process. The HIRA board did make a brief written submission, as well as a short verbal presentation, at this meeting on behalf of Howe Island residents.

Our comments stressed two priorities that we believe are important to residents of Howe Island:

  • An overriding need for the county to deliver an efficient and reliable ferry service. County council is aware our existing ferry service is neither efficient nor reliable. Mayor Dennis Doyle indicated a comprehensive solution to the county ferry “problem” is in the offing and township council expects to be in a position to announce good news over the next couple of months.
  • Given our relatively small tax base, we stressed the need to focus on upgrading and improving existing services. New spending initiatives should only be entertained as tax base growth allows for same without significant property tax increases.

HOUSEHOLD WASTE BAG TAG PROGRAM:

  • 2021-2022 waste bag tags are now available to all Howe Island residents . Each residence is to receive 104 tags at no charge.
  • Tags may be picked up at the Howe Island township administration office. Residents will be required to provide proof of residence to township staff to receive their tags.

PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT CHARGES BY-LAW:

HIRA has presented Council with a request that annual ferry costs be included in the calculation of costs associated with the township road network.  Road network costs are a component of the cost base used to calculate development charges levied on builders/developers. Although the provincial Act does not make specific references to costs associated with the operation of a ferry system, HIRA takes the position that the ferry system is an integral part of our municipal transportation network and should, therefore, be included in any development charge cost base.

Support for this position was not unanimous at the council level but our submission has been sent to staff for further consideration. We await township staff response to our submission. 

TOWNSHIP OF FRONTENAC ISLANDS 2021 ROADS & FACILITIES TOUR

Elected representatives from township council, as well as public works and management staff, conducted a roads and facilities tour of Howe Island on October 7, 2021. The tour is conducted annually to review progress/results of infrastructure projects conducted on the island during the year and to identify emerging problems/issues to be addressed in the budget process for the upcoming year.

The tour is open to interested members of the public and several members of the HIRA board were able to participate in the tour.

Some of the significant issues and emerging problems that council expects to deal with in 2022 include:

  • Maintenance / repair needed on the section of Baseline Road from the municipal office to Goodfriend Road East.
  • Council to consider weed spraying options for 2022 for the Baseline section of the Howe Island Trail.
  • Various areas of Howe Island Drive will require mechanical brushing at roadside in 2022. This will be taken into account in 2022 budget deliberations.
  • A new marine building at the township ferry landing is proposed to replace the current structure. Application has been made to MTO for funding.
  • Council to consider plans for weed spraying along Howe Island Drive from the township ferry landing to east of Rush Point Bay in 2022.
  • Township staff are assembling options / proposals for rehabilitation of Lower Side Road in 2022. There is a clear

recognition by council and staff that current maintenance measures are not adequate on that section of road.

  • Portion of North Shore Road that was upgraded in 2021 is to receive final surface treatment in 2022.
  • Council members and staff advise they are close to reaching agreement with MTO on a solution to our frequent service interruptions with the county ferry. Council hopes to be able to provide more detail in the very near future.

We expect that more detail related to these initiatives will be available with staff reports that we expect to be tabled and discussed at the next township council meeting on November 8, 2021. As more detail emerges, HIRA will pass it on….hopefully with our next briefing note.

ONTARIO OPTOMETRISTS WITHDRAW EYE-CARE SERVICES

As of September 1, 2021 optometrists in Ontario have been engaged in a job action against the Ontario government. The dispute centers around amounts the provincial Ministry of Health pays optometrists for performing OHIP-insured services.

To protest the lack of progress in talks with the provincial government, most optometrists in Ontario are refusing to perform OHIP-insured services. As a consequence, millions of people in this province are not able to obtain basic eye care, including standard eye examinations. This is a serious health care issue that appears to be far from resolution.

More information on the position taken by Ontario’s eye-care providers is available from the Ontario Association of Optometrists on their website at https://optom.on.ca and also at www.saveeyecare.ca.

For an explanation of the provincial government’s position in this dispute you can review the following CTV news release:

https://toronto.ctvnews.ca/ontario-willing-to-discuss-optometrist-costs-but-won-t-write-blank-cheque-minister-says-1.5613561

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED TO ASSIST WITH RECYCLING BOTTLES

Township council has requested assistance with operation of  the Howe Island bottle recycling program. The program sorts bottles left at the island’s recycling yard and transports them to the Beer Store in Gananoque. All proceeds are paid into a fund used for:

  • Children’s activities on the island
  • An annual summer wind-up party with fireworks, free hot dogs and drinks for all attendees

The recycling program depends on volunteer assistance from residents of Howe Island. Volunteer support consists of sorting and packaging beer and wine bottles for transport to Gananoque on a monthly or semi-monthly basis. Time requirements are minimal….a couple hours per month at the most and it represents a great opportunity to meet fellow islanders.

If you are able to provide a little assistance for a very worthwhile cause please contact township councillor Noreen MacDougall:

Tel: (613) 542-7103

Email: ngmacdougall@gmail.com

END of BRIEFING NOTE

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HIRA BRIEFING NOTE- July 18, 2021

HIRA BRIEFING NOTE- July 18, 2021

This is a brief note to HIRA members and other residents of Howe Island about the Township of Frontenac Islands council meeting held on Monday July 12, 2021. In light of Covid-19 restrictions, the meeting was virtual. The public was provided with Zoom access to the meeting. A couple of our HIRA directors called into the meeting. Only matters of particular interest to Howe Island residents are highlighted here.

STATUS OF ROAD MAINTENANCE INITIATIVES 2021:

  • North Shore Road:  Ditching work and culvert installation is complete. Stone application is ongoing. Completion expected soon.
  • Baseline Road: Reconstruction and double surface treatment is complete.
  • Spithead Road: Double surface treatment is complete.
  • Howe Island Drive (@ Quinn Bay curve): Double surface treatment is complete.

FACILITIES & EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT UPGRADES:

  • Howe Island Administration Office & Library:

Window installation scheduled for completion on July 14, 2021. Flooring installation yet to be scheduled.

  • Howe Island Recreation Trail Maintenance:

New tractor & mower for Howe Island has been delivered. It is our understanding that the trail is to be mowed this week.

Trail is to be graded and stone surface to be applied after work on North Shore Road is complete.

  • Upgrades to Patrick Norris Park:

Federal, provincial and municipal funding approval for upgrades to Patrick Norris Park are now in place and the project is expected to be completed during the current construction season.

Upgrades are expected to include

  1. Construction of accessible public washrooms
  2. Install multi-use tennis courts with capability to accommodate other sports e.g. pickleball etc
  3. Construction of shelter/pavilion to house picnic tables, host musical/cultural events
  4. Complete improvements to ball diamond
  5. Install safe base underneath children’s playground equipment

Township council has convened an ad hoc committee of interested residents to provide community input to a site plan and to assist staff to implement the plan.

The committee (the Howe Island Recreation Committee) held an initial meeting on June 17, 2021. The committee members are:

           Noreen MacDougal (Chair)

           Sue Byrne

           Deb Holtom

           Natalie Nossal

           Rory Chamberlain

The committee plans to provide updates to Howe Island residents via a communication sheet as the project progresses.

We are grateful for the efforts of the committee members and we thank them all for the contribution of their time and their expertise.

We also would like to thank C.A.O. / Clerk Darlene Plumley for the excellent work done to successfully navigate the grant application process and to secure the funding for this project (approx. $295,000). Congratulations to Darlene for a job well done!

HOUSEHOLD WASTE BAG TAG PROGRAM:

          No change to the plan described in previous briefing notes….

  • 2021-2022 waste bag tags will be available to all Howe Island residents as of August 2, 2021. Each residence is to receive 104 tags at no charge.
  • Tags may be picked up at the Howe Island township administration office on or after August 2, 2021. Residents will be required to provide proof of residence to township staff to receive their tags.

Proposed Development Charges By-Law:

HIRA has presented Council with a request that the township ferry be included in the calculation of costs associated with the township road network.  Road network costs are a component of the cost base used to calculate development charges levied on builders/developers. Although the provincial Act does not make specific references to costs associated with the operation of a ferry system, HIRA takes the position that the township ferry system is an integral part of our municipal transportation network and should, therefore, be included in any development charge cost base.

Support for this position was not unanimous at the council level but our submission has been sent to staff for further consideration. Stay tuned. 

Financial Report-June 2021:

Per report submitted to Council by Deputy Clerk / Deputy Treasurer Scott Kerr revenue and expenditures recorded to date re Howe Island are in line with 2021 budget. The only variances are positive:

  • Fire revenue higher than anticipated due to grant received for the Ontario Fire Safety Program…..$2,500 for Howe Island
  • Road revenue higher than anticipated due to 2017 flood relief funding from Municipal Affairs ….$65,082. Funds have been transferred to the Howe Island transportation reserve.

Police Services Board – Leeds Detachment (OPP):

The Township of Frontenac Islands, in cooperation with the other 6 municipalities in the County of Leeds, has requested approval from the Solicitor General to the formation of a single Police Services Board to provide oversight for the Leeds detachment of the OPP.

Each municipality in the county is to be provided with a single seat on the eleven member board. Two seats are to be extended to representatives of the county- at- large and two seats will be occupied by members to be appointed by the province.

By-Laws Adopted:

  • By-Law 2021-18
  • A by-law to regulate open-air burning in the township. The by-law replaces three existing by-laws that regulate the use of open-air fires on Howe Island and Wolfe Island. The new by-law requires residents to apply for a permit from the township before conducting open-air burning on their property. Cost for a permit is $5.00 per day.

Permits will be available from both the Wolfe Island and the Howe Island municipal offices.

  • Amendments to By-Law 2016-28, Schedule “A” and “C”

The by-law in question regulates maximum speeds on township roads. The amendments do not involve changes to speed limits currently in place on Howe Island. Amendments were made to address traffic issues on Wolfe Island.

END of COUNCIL HIGHLIGHTS

Other Items of Interest

  • 2021 Howe Island Terry Fox Run:

The 16th annual Howe Island Terry Fox Run will take place on Sunday, September 19, 2021. All funds raised are directed to cancer research.

This event depends heavily on volunteer assistance. If you are interested in volunteering your services please contact Allison Hinton @ (613) 561-5851 or email Allison@HallofFlame.ca.

  • Second Dose Covid-19 Vaccination Clinic Conducted June 13, 2021:

In the spring Howe Island was granted the privilege of running our own COVID-19 vaccine clinic for those who were at risk medically and the over 75’s.  As you know the Moderna vaccine requires two shots so a few weeks ago we were given about 72 hours to get the second dose clinic up and running and we are very grateful to all the volunteers who gave up their Sunday afternoon on June 13, 2021 to help out. 

Some people thought this was a walk-in clinic and unfortunately we could not offer them the vaccine, but the nurses on the island did link those people to clinics where vaccine was available.   We are very grateful that so many people pulled together as a team and worked with the Fire Hall staff to offer a seamless process that kept every one safe.  A prime example of how small communities can work together to pull off amazing events.  Thank you to everyone involved

END of BRIEFING NOTE

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Thank You to All Participants in the 2021 Howe island Covid-19 Vaccination Clinics

Thank You to All Participants in the 2021 Howe island Covid-19 Vaccination Clinics:

On behalf of the Howe Island Ratepayers Association we would like to extend congratulations to all who participated in the Covid-19 vaccination clinics held on Howe Island in March and June of this year.

Many volunteers worked tirelessly together to provide older islanders and those with health issues a COVID-19 vaccine clinic on the island.  The first clinic was on 27th March 2021 and the second doses were administered on 13th June 2021.  We were ready to go but the timeline between being notified that vaccine was available and running the clinics was short for both events.  Most volunteers worked at both clinics and a few others joined for the second one to replace those who had other commitments on the second Sunday.

We wish to acknowledge the incredible contribution of many people who gave their time and energy to make the clinic a success.  The county ferry crew who held the ferry to ensure the vehicle with the vaccine was not delayed in getting to and from the island.  To Fire Chief Mike Quinn and the team of firefighters who cleared the Firehall of trucks, cleaned the floors and set up the clinic and then tidied up afterwards we offer a heartfelt thank you.  To Marg McReynolds who as a long-time resident of island is a tireless advocate and consummate nursing professional who liaised with Public Health and the team of the volunteers and led the health care team of vaccinators.  The outside volunteer crew were immensely cheerful and helpful in pre-screening for COVID-19, parking cars, and helping people walk to the Firehall west door.  To Holly and Phil Doughty, Jay Medves, Murray Holtom, and Bill Worona – thank you.  Firefighter Emily Wood-Quinn spent all day helping those who had been vaccinated get back to their cars and Mike Quinn for his car park management that meant islanders had a short walk.  Mae Squires and Larry Quinn ran a mobile clinic that went door to door to those who are house bound.  Thank you to them for volunteering as we were able to vaccinate islanders who would not be able without great difficulty to go attend the clinic at the Firehall or to go a clinic in Kingston.

Registration was managed superbly by Natalie and Kim Nossal who checked health cards, email addresses and contact information and helped islanders fill in the extensive consent forms required by Ontario Health.  Shelley Anthony joined the team for the second clinic.  Volunteers Jo Beaty, Judy Mundell, Barb Worona, Shelagh MacDonald, Debbie Nesbitt, and Rick Doyon escorted volunteers, helped them change into medical masks, cleaned furniture, and monitored people post immunization.   

Finally, the immunization team Marg McReynolds, Mae Squires, Deb Holtom, Pauline Chamberlain, Veronica Mohr, Jeremie Hurtubise and Mark Lawler whose professionalism and reassurance to islanders was exemplary and ensured everyone was safe and comfortable with their vaccination experience.  

Thanks also go to the staff at KFL&A Health Unit who provided all the supplies and logistic support to ensure islanders information was put into the Ontario Health database and they received their vaccination certificates.   The main difference between the first and second clinic was the weather cooperated in June while the March event was very wet and cool.

Sincerely, 

Gary Johnson, HIRA Chair , Jennifer Medves, HIRA Vice-Chair

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