HIRA BRIEFING NOTE- March 30, 2023

HIRA BRIEFING NOTE- March 30, 2023

   This is a brief note to HIRA members and other residents of Howe Island about the Township of Frontenac Islands special council meeting held on Thursday March 02, 2023 and the regular council meeting held on Monday March 13, 2023. The public was provided with Zoom access to the regular meeting and three of our HIRA directors attended or monitored the meeting. Only matters of particular interest to Howe Island residents are highlighted here.

Special Council Meeting March 02, 2023

The purpose of the meeting was to pass By-Law 2023-10 to appoint Yvonne Robert as Interim Chief Administrative Officer / Clerk for the Township of Frontenac Islands. Ms. Robert will serve in the role until the Township completes the search for a permanent employee to fill the position on a permanent basis.

The outgoing CAO, Darlene Plumley, will not be available to the Township after the end of March, 2023.

Regular Council Meeting March 13, 2023

MTO Declines invitation to attend Council meeting:

In February of this year, Township council extended a written invitation to

senior management for MTO to attend the next regular council meeting. As council expected the invitation to be accepted, Mayor Judy Greenwood-Speers solicited questions from Howe Island residents that were forwarded to MTO in advance of the meeting.

Unfortunately, MTO declined the invitation to attend the council meeting. The response from MTO included the following comments from Herb Villneff, Director, East / Northeast Operations, MTO:

“….I would like to thank the Township of Frontenac Islands for collecting and sharing questions from residents. The ministry is carefully reviewing the questions and concerns brought forward. We look forward to communicating with the municipality once our review is complete.

Thank you again for your understanding and support.”

Residents are invited to draw their own conclusions Our hope is the MTO  will complete their review at some point in our lifetime.        

Still on the topic of our County(West) ferry, Councillor Bob Ackley introduced a motion to have the Township of Frontenac Islands request that the MTO commence the process of replacing the existing Howe Island County ferry with a new vessel that “….meets the needs and provides stability and sustainability for Howe Island residents.”

Councillor Ackley also moved that Township council request a third party review by a qualified marine architect to determine a safe capacity for the existing County ferry.

Both motions were supported by Councillor Bill Saunders. Councillor Saunders proposed further that a consultation group be formed to assist MTO with the design, costing and scheduling to provide a new ferry to replace the existing County ferry.

   Presentation made by Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC):

Council accepted for information a presentation by Travis Merkley, Account Manager for MPAC. The presentation provided a short tutorial on how real property is assessed in the province and the role those assessments play in the calculation of municipal property taxes levied in Ontario.

Mr. Merkley confirmed that property value assessments for the 2022 and 2023 tax years will continue to be based on a January 1, 2016 valuation date.

Questions related to MCAP’s operations can be directed to:

Travis Merkley

Account Manager

Email: travis.merkley@mpac.ca

Tel: (613) 417-7055

Presentation by Frontenac Transportation Services:

Council received for information a presentation made by Nicki Gowdy on behalf of Frontenac Transportation Services. The service is non-profit organization dedicated to providing affordable transportation to residents of Frontenac County.

In order to extend the service to Howe Island, the service must recruit volunteer drivers on Howe Island. Volunteer drivers are reimbursed for operating costs at $0.50 per kilometer.

Clients pay $0.65 per kilometer, with lower rates available for some seniors.

If you would like to volunteer as a driver, if you would like to avail yourself of the service or if you would like more information please contact:

Nicki Gowdy or Louise Moody

Frontenac Transportation Services

Tel: (613) 279-3151, XTN 303

Email: transportation@rfcs.ca

Presentation by Explorer Solutions re Frontenac County Strategic Plan:

Council accepted for Information, a presentation made by Explorer Solutions that dealt with the process involved with developing a strategic plan for municipalities.

For those who have an interest, the presentation can be viewed in its entirety at pages 51- 63 of the agenda for the March 13, 2023 council meeting.

Operation Pitch-In 2023:

The Howe Island Ratepayers Association (HIRA) will be co-ordinating the annual clean-up of roadside waste again this year. The event will be held on Saturday April 22, 2023 (Earth Day).

The Township of Frontenac Islands has graciously agreed to provide garbage bags, gloves and bag tags for the initiative. HIRA will set up a table at the Township administrative office at 50 Baseline Road (outside the recycling yard) to distribute garbage bags and gloves on Saturday April 22

From 8:30 a.m. –  12:00 Noon.

We ask that residents reserve  an hour or two to help beautify the Island on April 22.

Further detail and instructions will be provided in the very near future.

Change of Time for Regular Township Council Meetings:

A motion was made by Councillor Hulton that the start time for regular council meetings be changed from 6:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. The motion requires an amendment to By-Law Number 2019-02 which governs the calling, place and proceeding of meetings.

The motion was carried so we understand that future regular meetings of Township Council will begin at 4:00 p.m.

Regulation of Commercial Short-Term Rental Properties:

Council received for information, correspondence from two long-time residents of Howe Island. Both residents are concerned with the Township’s reluctance to enforce the provisions of its own Comprehensive Zoning By-Law when dealing with short-term rental properties.

In the past, Township Council has claimed they have been advised by the Township solicitor that the by-law, as written, is not enforceable.

Councillor Bill Saunders proposed that Council request written confirmation from the Township solicitor as to the legal logic behind that opinion. He further proposes to make that explanation a matter of public record. We look forward to receiving the explanation that has been promised.

Councillor Saunders also moved that Council request the CAO prepare and submit to Council a report on measures taken by similar municipalities to regulate short-term rental operations in their respective jurisdictions.

Township (East) Ferry Inspection:

The township ferry is tentatively scheduled to undergo the “out of water’ inspection, required every four years by Transport Canada, sometime during the last two weeks of April 2023. Exact dates have yet to be determined.

The hull of the vessel is to be cleaned and painted while in drydock in order to extend hull life.



PLEASE NOTE: If you are a member of HIRA, thank you for your support. If you are not a member, please consider joining at $10 per year. Yearly membership dues are due on January 1 of each year. If you have paid, thank you.

If you have not paid, please send or deliver a cheque payable to HIRA to one of our Directors or place a cheque into the HIRA mailbox at the roadside at the Township Office. You can also pay by e-transfer to memberservices@howeisland.org.

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