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, December 13, 2021 as well as various additional items that may be of interest. 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 ONGOING ROAD MAINTENANCE INITIATIVES 2021:
- North Shore Road: Stone application is complete. Section has been graded again mid-December before onset of winter. Hard surface to be completed in spring 2022.
- Lower Side Road: As we noted in our November note, pulverizing was completed on Lower Side Road in November. The public works manager advises that road conditions on the south half of the road are still less than ideal. This section of the road lacks sufficient gravel base to make it completely road-worthy. The gravel to address this problem will not be available until spring of 2022 when quarry operations resume on the island.
In the meantime, township staff have graded the road again this week. In addition, the township has introduced a temporary speed limit of 60 km per hour on Lower Side Road. Signage has been installed to advise of the lower speed limit. The plan is to restore the speed limit to 80 km per hour after the gravel surface is upgraded in 2022.
FACILITIES & EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT UPGRADES:
- Howe Island Recreation Trail Maintenance:
Grading of the trail has been completed. Stone application is to be completed as soon as gravel is available from the quarry, which is not expected until spring of 2022. No change from our November briefing note.
- 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. We understand a formal site plan for the project has been submitted to township council.
Cutting and clearing of brush has been completed. We understand fencing installation is in progress and is expected to be completed before year end. Bases for the tennis/pickleball court and basketball court have been installed and staff are still waiting on asphalt prices before proceeding with installation of the courts. Completion is expected in the spring of 2022.
Accessible washrooms are expected to be completed in the spring of 2022.
MUNICIPAL PROPERTY ASSESSMENT CORPORATION (MPAC):
As we noted in our November note MPAC, representing the province of Ontario, has confirmed that the postponement of the province-wide property value assessment update will continue for the immediate future.
This means that property taxes for the 2022 and 2023 taxation years will continue to be based on the January 1, 2016 valuation date. Unless there have been changes to a property, property assessments will remain the same as they were for the 2021 tax year.
TEMPORARY COUNTY FERRY LOAD LIMITS ARE POSSIBLE:
The county ferry is in need of a new guide cable but supply chain issues have resulted in a delay in delivery of the new cable. As a result, the marine manager advised township council that load limits may be necessary on the county ferry if and when wind conditions require reduced loads to relieve stress on the guide cable that is in place now. If they are necessary, load limits would change with changes in wind conditions, with relatively higher wind speeds leading to relatively lower load limits.
The county hopes to have the new guide cable in place before ice-up. Load limits will not be necessary after the new guide cable is installed. In the meantime, the county has requested that residents exercise
HOLIDAY SEASON OFFICE HOURS FOR TOWNSHIP OPERATIONS:
Administration offices on Howe Island and Wolfe Island will be closed over the holidays from:
Thursday, December 23, 2021 @ 12 Noon through Monday December 27, 2021 reopening Tuesday December 28, 2021.
Thursday December 30, 2021 through Friday December 31, 2021.
Waste and transfer sites on both islands will be closed Saturday December 25, 2021 and Saturday January 1, 2022.
END of COUNCIL HIGHLIGHTS
Other Items of Interest:
2022 FARE SCHEDULE FOR HOWE ISLAND FERRY OPERATION
As we reported in in our November 2021 briefing note, Council passed Bylaw No 2021-25 at their October 12, 2021 meeting 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.
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 are still awaiting township staff response to our submission.
TOWNSHIP OF FRONTENAC ISLANDS 2021 ROADS & FACILITIES TOUR
As we reported in our October 2021 briefing note, 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. Funding has been approved by MTO and the process now moves to the design stage. Completion of construction is expected in 2022.
- Council to consider plans for weed spraying along Howe Island Drive from the township ferry landing to east of Rush Point Bay in 2022.
- 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 very 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.
Township council has scheduled a special meeting for Thursday January 6, 2022 to deal with the budget for the upcoming year. We expect that more detail related to these initiatives will be available with staff reports that we hope will be tabled and discussed in conjunction with the 2022 budget process. As detail emerges, we will pass it on to the HIRA membership.
FASTER INTERNET OPTIONS NOW AVAILABLE FOR SOME AREAS ON HOWE ISLAND:
Xplornet has recently upgraded some of their towers in the area and higher internet speeds may be available for some areas on Howe Island. You can find out if increased internet download / upload speeds are available in your location by calling Xplornet at 1-877-959-5717.
COVID-19 Vaccine BOOSTER SHOTS:
The government of Ontario advises early evidence suggests that a third dose or “booster” of Covid-19 vaccine can improve protection against severe illness and hospitalization. In response to the threat represented by the Omicron variant of Covid-19. The government has expanded eligibility for receiving a Covid-19 booster.
As of December 20, 2021 eligibility for the booster has been extended to all residents of Ontario who are 18 years of age and older. The recommended interval between receipt of the second shot and receiving the booster has been reduced to 84 days.
For more information on booking your booster shot you can visit the Government of Ontario Covid-19 vaccination portal @
END of BRIEFING NOTE