News

HIRA BRIEFING NOTE- January 7, 2024

This is a brief note to HIRA members and other residents of Howe Island
about the Township of Frontenac Islands regular council meeting held on
Monday December 11, 2023.
Only matters of particular interest to Howe Island residents are highlighted
here.

2024 Township budget not finalized yet:
In our December 2023 briefing note HIRA was mistaken when we advised
the Township’s 2024 budget had been finalized. We have been told the
budget document that was posted on the Township website in early
December was, in fact, only a proposed draft budget.
Further meetings are to be held throughout January 2024 to finalize this
year’s budget. Those meetings will be open to the public. HIRA will
monitor the Township website through the month of January. We will
advise Howe Island residents as to dates, time and location for these
meetings as details become available.

By-law #49-2023 to restrict trailer access on Township (East) ferry:
Council proposes to remove trailer access on the Township (East) ferry. In
future, access to the Township ferry is to be restricted to passenger
vehicles only. Allowing trailers to access the smaller Township ferry
introduces safety concerns and increases congestion at the ferry landing.

The by-law received first and second reading at the Council meeting held
on November 14, 2023. Third reading was expected to take place at the
regular Council meeting on December 11, 2023.
Third reading of the by-law has been deferred for the time being. On the
advice of Mike Quinn, Public Works lead hand for Howe Island, all trailer
access to the township foot ferry (east end) is suspended until further
notice due to extremely low water levels. The low water levels introduce
safety concerns with respect to boarding towed vehicles on the township
ferry.
Delegation re trailer access on Howe Island ferries:

Two Howe Island residents made a delegation to Council to request the
Township allow unrestricted access on the Township (East) ferry for
vehicles towing trailers no wider than 8 ft. The request was made in view
of the fact access is restricted on the County ferry to passenger vehicles
only from 6:30 a.m. – 8:30 a.m. when leaving the island and from 4:30
p.m. – 6:30 p.m. when returning from the mainland.
The delegation argued the restrictions proposed by the pending by-law
noted above would make life difficult for Howe Island residents who have
commercial operations that require daily use of trailers.
In response to the concerns expressed by the delegation, Council passed
Resolution #215-23. The resolution, proposed by Councillor Ackley and
seconded by Deputy Mayor Saunders, directed Township staff to contact
the County of Frontenac to request removal of the existing restrictions on
the County Ferry and to report back to Council on the outcome of the
request at the next Council meeting scheduled for January 8, 2024.

Request to MTO for transportation study re Howe Island ferry service:
Resolution #223-23. Motion made by Mayor Greenwood-Speers and
seconded by Councillor Hulton.
Motion proposed that the Township request the County request the MTO
conduct a comprehensive study to give a full and proper assessment of
the ferry service required by Howe Island residents.
After some discussion of the topic, it was decided to postpone this motion
to the Council meeting scheduled for January 8, 2024. The deferral is to
be used to allow the Township CAO to confer with the County CAO as to
the most desirable course of action to pursue i.e. full blown transportation
study
(which has been conducted in the past) or a more restricted study as to
the capacity of the existing County ferry (i.e. 10 cars or 15 cars).

Proposed change to Township Council meeting schedule for 2024:
Resolution #222-23 was moved by Councillor Jablonicky, seconded by
Councillor Hulton.
Resolution provides for change to the schedule for regular Council
meetings in 2024 as follows:
 January 8, 2024 meeting to start at 4:30 p.m.
 All other 2024 meetings to begin @ 9:30 a.m.
Reason given for the change in start time for meetings was to cut down on
overtime costs arising from evening work required by Township staff with
current schedule.

END of COUNCIL BUSINESS
END OF BRIEFING NOTE

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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HIRA BRIEFING NOTE- December 11, 2023

HIRA BRIEFING NOTE- December 11, 2023

   This is a brief note to HIRA members and other residents of Howe Island about the Township of Frontenac Islands regular council meeting held on Monday November 14, 2023,as well as the special council meeting to present the final 2024 Township budget that was held on December 5, 2023.

   Only matters of particular interest to Howe Island residents are highlighted here.

2024 Township budget highlights:

The final 2024 budget tabled on December 5, 2023 provides for the following:

  • 2024 property tax bills for residents of Howe Island will increase 15.2% over amounts paid for 2023.
  • Operating expenses are expected to increase by 3.8% but high capital expenditures made to repair Island roads in 2023 required a total property tax increase of 15.2% as noted above.
  • Wolfe Island residents will also be faced with a 2024 property tax increase of 15.2%.
  • Cost of living adjustments (COLA) for township employees have been budgeted at 3.0% for 2024.
  • Council notes that 2023 CPI data for Ontario reflects an average 2023 inflation rate of 6.8% year-over-year.

Complete detail about the 2024 Township budget is available in the agenda for the special meeting of Council held on December 5, 2023. Residents can access 2024 budget documents on the Township website using the following link:

https://frontenac.civicweb.net/filepro/documents/238384/

Regular Council Meeting November 14, 2023:

Public Works Report No. PW-008-23 Howe Island October Operations

Public Works Lead, Mike Quinn submitted the report to Council. Some highlights include:

  • New Township (East) ferry terminal building has arrived. Skirting and landscaping to be completed in spring of 2024.
  • Kayak dock and boat dock at the east ferry terminal have been removed for the winter.
  • Grading and maintenance of gravel roads is ongoing
  • Trimming of bush along the Howe Island Trail is ongoing
  • Two–car limit at the Township Recycling depot has been removed in order to reduce wait times.

By-Law #44-2023 Speed Reduction on Howe Island Roads:

The by-law received third and final reading and was passed at the November 14, 2023 regular Council meeting. Unless otherwise posted, the maximum speed allowed on Howe Island roads is now 60 km/hr.

By-law #49-2023 to restrict trailer access on Township (East) ferry:

Council proposes to remove trailer access on the Township (East) ferry. In future, access to the Township ferry is to be restricted to passenger vehicles only. Allowing trailers to access the smaller Township ferry introduces safety concerns and increases congestion at the ferry landing.

The by-law received first and second reading at the Council meeting held on November 14, 2023. Third reading is expected to take place at the next regular Council meeting on December 11, 2023.

By-law #51-2023 to appoint a Municipal auditor for the Township:

Council authorized the appointment of audit firm KPMG as auditor for the Township for the period 2024-2028. The by-law to appoint KPMG received third and final reading and was passed at the November 14, 2023 regular council meeting.

By-law #53-2023 to establish a Fees & Fares Schedule for Howe Island ferry service for 2024:

A by-law to set new rates for the ferry service to Howe Island received third and final reading and was passed at the November 14, 2023 regular Council meeting. New ferry pass rates for 2024:

Annual pass, single vehicle……….…………….$ 300.00

Discounted annual pass, single vehicle

(Seniors 65+)………………………………………$ 270.00

Additional single vehicle (same name)…………$ 100.00

Discounted single vehicle (Seniors 65+)……….$   90.00

Annual trailer pass for resident who has

purchased an annual vehicle pass………………$ 300.00

Rates for all single two-way trip charges will not change from 2023 rates.

END of COUNCIL BUSINESS

ADDITIONAL ITEMS

Township Holiday Hours of Operation:

Township offices will be closed from Monday December 25, 2023 through Monday January 1, 2024. The offices will reopen Tuesday January 2, 2024.

Change to Recycling Depot Operations:

The Howe Island recycling depot will not accept  any refundable items (bottles or cans) as of January 1, 2024. Residents will be responsible for returning their own refundable items to the appropriate locations (e.g the Beer Store) after the end of 2023.

END OF BRIEFING NOTE

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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HIRA Briefing Note: Sept/Oct 2023 Council Meetings

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 October 10, 2023. The public was provided with Zoom access to the regular meeting and HIRA directors attended or monitored the meeting. Only matters of particular interest to Howe Island residents are highlighted here.

Auditors present draft financial statements for 2022 fiscal year:

KPMG staff attended the council meeting to present draft financial statements for the 2022 fiscal year. A copy of the presentation content and draft financials is available at pages 6 – 68 of the agenda for the October 10, 2023 council meeting that has been posted to the township website. The agenda can be accessed using the following link: https://frontenac.civicweb.net/filepro/documents/238384

Plaque presented to Mike Hart:

Councillor Bob Ackley presented Howe Island resident Mike Hart with a plaque to express appreciation for the work Mike has put into managing youth baseball and recreational programs on the Island over the years. Our thanks go out to Mike for all he has done and continues to do.

Memorial bench to be installed in memory of Noreen McDougall:

Deputy Mayor Bill Saunders proposed that the Township install a memorial bench in honour of our late former councillor, Noreen McDougall, in a designated location at Pat Norris Park. The memorial is to recognize the many contributions made by Noreen to the community. Noreen was instrumental in the successful application to upgrade facilities at the park. She also served the community as an elected Township Councillor and as long-time volunteer member of the Howe Island Garden Buds.

Public Works Report PW-007-23:

A report that details various projects and activities pursued by Township public works staff during the month of September 2023 was prepared by Fire Chief Mike Quinn and submitted to Township Council.

Items of general interest include:

· The large road projects, including surface treatment, have been completed on Howe Island Drive and North Shore Road. Additional work has been completed on Lighthouse Lane, Spithead Road and Baseline Road (west). The Township road restoration plan for 2023 is now completely on target.

· Kayak and boat docks at the foot ferry (east) site will be removed for the winter season. (Removal was completed later in the month of October).

· Brush and branches have been trimmed back on Howe Island Trail.

· The public Works Yard on Baseline Road is being reorganized to allow better use of the recycling area. The 2-car limit on vehicles allowed in the recycling area has been withdrawn to reduce wait times.

To view Fire Chief Quinn’s complete report readers can refer to pages 157- 160 of the agenda for the October 10, 2023 council meeting. The agenda can be accessed using the link:

https://frontenac.civicweb.net/filepro/documents/238384

By-Law #44-2023 Speed Reduction on Howe Island Roads:

The township proposes to reduce speed limits on all Howe Island roads to 60 km/hr unless otherwise posted. This represents an effort to improve overall safety on the island’s roads. The by-law received first and second reading at the October 10, 2023 council meeting. In order to allow for public input, third reading of the by-law was deferred to the next regular Council meeting scheduled for November 14, 2023.

Township proposes to restrict trailer access on Township (East) ferry:

Council proposes to remove trailer access on the Township (East) ferry. In future, access to the Township ferry is to be restricted to passenger vehicles only. Allowing trailers to access the smaller Township ferry introduces safety concerns and increases congestion at the ferry landing. The issue is to be discussed further at the next regular council meeting scheduled for November 14, 2023.

MTO expands ferry options for Howe Island:

Councillor Bob Ackley advised that, in view of Transport Canada reducing the County (West) capacity to 10 cars, MTO has indicated it may be prudent to expand options available to include consideration of replacing the existing ferry with a new ferry. Council passed a resolution to send a letter of support for the “new ferry” option to Colin Simons, Director, Operations Division-Transportation User Services Branch of the MTO. It is too early to tell if this represents material progress in our efforts to obtain a reliable and efficient ferry service for Howe Island. We will monitor future developments and report back.

END of COUNCIL BUSINESS

ADDITIONAL ITEMS

HIRA was not able to monitor the regular Council meeting held on September 11, 2023 due to poor audio quality available with the Zoom broadcast. However, we wish to report on a number of by-laws that were proposed or enacted at this meeting.

· By-law 35-2023:

A By-law to adopt a priority boarding policy for the township (east) ferry received third and final reading. The by-law grants priority boarding rights to vehicles used in response to various emergencies and urgent circumstances.

The public can access detail around the by-law on pages 109-110 of the agenda posted to the Township of Frontenac Islands website.

The agenda in question can be accessed using the following link:

https://frontenac.civicweb.net/filepro/documents/165576/?expanded=238384&preview=256254

· By-law 37-2023:

A By-law to disband the Howe Island Recreation Committee that was established with the enactment of By-law 13-2023 received third and final reading. The committee has completed the tasks for which it was struck.

· By-law 38-2023:

A By-law to repeal the appointment of the members of the Howe Island Recreation Committee that were appointed with the enactment of By-law 34-2023 received third and final reading. We thank the members of the committee for their efforts made on behalf of Howe Island residents.

· By-law 39-2023:

A By-law to establish policies and procedures for the procurement of goods and services by the township received first and second reading. Detail surrounding the By-law can be found at pages 113-134 of the agenda. The agenda can be accessed using the link referred to above for By-law 35-2023.

· By-law 40-2023:

A By-law to appoint Marcel Lavigne as Chief Building Official / Provincial Offenses Officer received third and final reading. The appointment was made retroactive to August 28, 2023.

· By-law 42-2023:

A By-law to appoint the law firm of Cunningham, Swan as Integrity Commissioner for the Township of Frontenac Islands received third and final reading. The lead lawyer will be Tony Fleming. The appointment took effect on October 1, 2023.

END OF BRIEFING NOTE

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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