Letter to the Editor: A Resident's Lament

By: Roswitha Baker

Volume 18, Issue 10, October 2023

Let me introduce myself. My name is Roswitha Baker and I’m a resident of the beautiful Thousand Islands in Lansdowne, ON. My husband and I, and two loving cats, live here year round.

Ten years ago, the outstanding tranquility and stunning surroundings attracted us to this unique location for our “forever” home.

The sounds of the birds, and being able to see the wild deer and turkeys traversing our property, were amazing!

We have a view of Weston Island and McCrae’s Bay, which is designated as a Provincially Significant Wetland (PSW).

Over the last eight years, however, this beauty and serenity has been horribly disrupted by the ever expanding industrialization of our neighbour, Kehoe Marine Construction.

The sounds of heavy machinery coming in and out of that property, on a road that is limited to vehicles of 5000 kg or less. The consistent, earth-shaking dropping of stone and metal, the driving of piles, the sounds from diesel engines, and drilling. Large barges going in and out of the Bay, and the constant dredging of McCrae’s Bay. Not to mention the huge lights facing the Thousand Islands Parkway, lights that shine into our neighbour's homes all night long.

The huge lights facing the Thousand Islands Parkway, lights that shine into our neighbour's homes all night long.

This is having a huge negative impact on the people living here. How can this not impact our environment? Imagine the fear that this noise and these activities creates in our wildlife.

We have noticed significant reductions in the number of birds flying over the bay and what about the life we can’t see as easily – the marine life that lives in this area?

The once spectacular vision of our bay and River have been taken over by a hungry, ugly, noise-spewing, eye sore of an industrial site, in a place never meant for this type of activity.

People used to be in awe of our area. It is now a questionable tourist area.

Now, people can’t hear themselves talk as they’re walking on the recreational path along the Parkway across from McCrae’s Bay.

The bay now is restricted for recreational use and enjoyment and the PSW is extremely threatened. Neighbours have been shouted at to stay out of the bay (while kayaking) because it’s a dangerous industrial area.

Now, Kehoe Marine is asking for zoning By-Law amendments to increase their industry further into the Wetlands.

The once spectacular vision of our bay and River have been taken over by a hungry, ugly, noise-spewing, eye sore of an industrial site, in a place never meant for this type of activity.

Do we condone more of the same of this for our near future? Agree to further destruction of a unique area of nature and the environment? To further degradation of both animal and human habitats?

Please stand up against such disregard for our environment and for the people and creatures who live here and who appreciate the uniqueness of the Thousand Islands.

A concerned resident of the Thousand Islands

By Roswitha Baker

From Susan W. Smith, Editor, TI Life

To Roswitha Baker: Letter to the Editor, October 2023. A Resident’s Lament:

When TI Life received this letter, I realized that I needed to do some research. You can't just publish a letter because the letter writer has a conviction – you have to make sure it falls into the category of things on which TI Life should be concerned.

After reading news reports and talking to several of the people affected by this zoning request, I realized that their concerns could easily be my concerns tomorrow or next year. For that reason, I am asking all TI Life readers to ask questions, to consider the consequences of doing or not doing a thing. So here are my thoughts.

What is the right amount of industry on the Thousand Islands Parkway? What is permitted now? What are the right rules when it comes to heavy trucks? The Parkway is a weight-restricted road. What about the constant noise from an industrial site? What about light pollution? Just imagine what it would be like if that was happening right beside your house, your property, or on the next island. What was the view like when you bought your land or rented your cottage. How has it changed and how would it change further, if the zoning changed?

Many of us complain about the cigarette boats – they are noisy, but heck, one or two weekends a summer is ok with me. The buzzing of seadoos around my dock and through my channel is also a bit annoying. But they don’t stop, they keep going past – and temporarily affect someone else’s tranquility. But having an industrial corporation establish itself, and then grow and grow over a few short years, with its noise, lights, truck traffic, destruction of the environment, and damage to adjacent private property is certainly worrisome. Companies do not work only a few hours each day, they can work 8-10-12 hour shifts.

That means that your property in the Thousand Islands is now in an industrial park.

The Thousand Islands Parkway has or did have some tough rules. Others, from the rich to the regular joe, have had problems with zoning and permissions over the years. The one benefit all waterfront residents receive for their taxes was given to me at a Council Zoning Committee hearing. The gentleman stood up and said, “Our only true Township benefit is zoning. If the Township allows zoning to be changed willy nilly, it will surely change the character of the Thousand Islands and their mainland communities (towns and villages), and then we will have nothing. Zoning is extremely important now and in the future.

Over the past month, we have seen news articles about applications for zoning changes for the Letter Writer’s concerns. I encourage you – every one of you – to do your homework, to do the research, and find out what can be built beside you. What is allowed or not allowed? What is the assessment by municipal planning staff? What is the impact on the value of your property if changes occur?

If this request or any request for a zoning change is approved, who is going to compensate the homeowners for the loss of value of their property? The Township? The company involved? Or no one?

Current Status

The September 12 Brockville Recorder and Times article concludes, "Deputy Mayor Terry Fodey, (Leeds and the Thousand Islands Township ) who chaired the discussion due to Mayor Corinna Smith-Gatcke declaring a conflict of interest, acknowledged the concerns." “Our staff will culminate everything that needs to be brought forward to council, and at some point, it will be brought back to the public as well, with a concise direction as to where this is going, if it’s going to go at all,” said Fodey.

“By no means does this have a thumbs up, it’s just part of the process.”

Where to Look?

The Brockville newspaper article:

The notice of the TLTI meeting, Included links to objections submitted by local residents: https://leedsthousandislands.civicweb.net/Portal/MeetingInformation.aspx?Org=Cal&id=1211

The Province of Ontario Provincial Policy Statement 2020: This Provincial Policy Statement was issued under section 3 of the Planning Act and came into effect May 1, 2020. It replaces the Provincial Policy Statement issued April 30, 2014. https://www.leeds1000islands.ca/en/growing/resources/Documents/TLTI-OP---UCLG-Approval-November-22-2018_Text-Only_reduced.pdf

The Ecosystems of Ontario (highlights what can and cannot be done in certain areas, including significant wetlands, or adjacent to these wetlands): https://files.ontario.ca/mnrf-ecosystemspart1-accessible-july2018-en-2020-01-16.pdf

Riverside Rezoning Worries TITI Residents. (article appearing in several news sources. https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/news/riverside-rezoning-worries-tlti-residents-220744830.html?guccounter=1

Municipal councils are to ensure their decisions and policies provide for an efficient pattern of land use, municipal services and transportation infrastructure are available, or can be reasonably provided, resources are protected, and that development contributes to the long-term prosperity of the municipality.

Report # IR-139-22
Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority


Dec 15, 2022 — Application F-222/20-SLR (Kehoe Marine Construction) – 507-515 Thousand ... The boundary of the Ivy Lea Wetland Complex was re-evaluated and re-.

Leeds and the Thousand Islands Committee of Adjustment https://www.leeds1000islands.ca/en/governing/Committee-of-Adjustment.aspx.  The Committee of Adjustment considers and makes decisions on applications for minor variances and applications for enlargement or extension of any existing legal non-conforming building or structure. The Committee is comprised of five Township citizens who are appointed by Council and granted authority by the Planning Act, which includes a list of board members.

Susan W. Smith, Editor, info@thouansandislandslife.com

Posted in: Volume 18, Issue 10, October 2023, Nature, Essay

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