WATERKEEPER ROUNDUP: Canada slow to respond to fish virus from The Whig, and Issue burns in Bath, also from The Whig, about last week's stunning approval by the Ministry of the Environment that allows Lafarge to import and burn up to 100 tonnes of municipal waste per day, including tires, meat, bone meal and pelletized garbage for two years whilst, at the same time, banning it everywhere else.
PROVINCE OF ONTARIO APPROVES TIRE BURNING at the Lafarge plant in Bath.
The kicker: The Ministry of the Environment proposed a ban on tire incineration at the same time. This ban would prevent other facilities from applying for permits to burn tires and is based on the Ministry's, "lack of experience monitoring the environmental performance of facilities that incinerate tires."
LIMESTONED ON KITEBOARDING: Wonder why this or something similar isn't playing on "official" KTown tourism websites? with a You Tube video that looks like it might have been shot in Browns Bay.
WATERKEEPER ASKS: We're 4 years old. What's next?.
That's 10 million imperial gallons.
7.5 SQUARE KILOMETERS OF WATER LOT SURROUNDING KINGSTON is up for grabs.
THE 2007 ISAF VOLVO YOUTH WORLDS WEBSITE is live. No content there yet, but bookmark it anyway.
THE CANADIAN YACHTING ASSOCIATION, which is based at POH in Kingston, seeks a High Performance Coordinator for, among other things, the Canadian Sailing Team and the High Performance Youth Sailing programs.
THE CITY SEWER BYPASS LOG was updated sometime late yesterday (November 20) to acknowledge November 16th bypasses of 34,753 cubic meters (7.6 million gallons) due to heavy rains. This represents a delay of four days between the event and the acknowledgement on the website. At the same time, the city acknowledges 755 cubic meters (166,100 gallons) for November 11-14, which is a six to nine day delay, and a further 159 cubic meters (34,980 gallons) on another, presumably prior date.
If you get the sense that the city is providing this environmental accounting grudgingly, and in a half-assed way, you would be right.
For example, we learn that October hath 32 days. Honest mistake? or maybe they really don't give a damn? You decide. Just know that we waited 24 hours to post this story hoping they'd fix obvious mistakes like this. So far, they haven't.
There's more: The Whig reported, on November 18th, citing Jim Keech, president of Utilities Kingston, bypasses of 50,000 cubic meters, not the 34,753 currently being acknowledged by the City. What's going on?
The City doesn't even provide a "last updated" or "valid through" date on the sewer bypass page, so anyone looking-in within a few days of a heavy rain, even a week or more hence, would mistakenly conclude there were no bypasses.
All this isn't good enough, and the waterfront deserves better and prompter sewer bypass accounting than we're getting.
This land is adjacent to Music Marina, and very close to the landing of the so-called "third crossing".
It looks like there is some shoreline infilling involved in the diagrams here.
A GLANCE UPSTREAM AT WATER LEVELS IN THE GREAT LAKES shows that the big lakes, Superior and Michigan / Huron, continue to be notably below average. Lake Superior levels are approaching record lows for this time of year. Superior's November levels haven't been this low since the 1930's.
THE PRESERVE OUR WRECKS FALL 2006 NEWSLETTER is now online. Preserve Our Wrecks Kingston (POW) is celebrating its 25th year of protecting Kingston's Marine Heritage through its preservation efforts of the local area shipwrecks.
THE CITY OF KINGSTON SEWER BYPASS LOG has been rather slow with updates in the past few months. Let's see how long it takes for them to acknowledge any bypasses resulting from these rains.
Update (Saturday Nov 18): The Whig reports the city dumped an estimated 50 million litres (50,000 cubic metres) into our waterways this week.
No mention yet of any of this on the City of Kingston Sewage Bypass Log.
THE 2nd ANNUAL LIMESTONE CITY MARINE HERITAGE SYMPOSIUM will be held Saturday January 6 2007 at The Ambassador Resort Hotel from 8:00 AM to 4 PM.
The theme of this years show remains ship wrecks of the local area with a special focus on marine archeology and wreck preservation.
Tickets may be reserved by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org. Seating is limited so please book early to avoid disappointment. Doors open at 07:30 am.
HERE'S THE START of some basic research on rowing basins.
AN 8-STORY PARKING GARAGE for Kingston's waterfront?
American boaters, on the other hand, are rightfully pissed at the idea since it affects them far more than it will ever affect Kingston.
If this goes through, it's just one more reason why the northern shore of Lake Ontario is a nicer place for boating, and for quality of life. On this so-called "issue" Kingston's current mayor, Harvey Rosen, would be well advised to zip it.
Click the chart below for a larger view or, better yet, see the US Homeland Security page. The box outlined with "blue" dots is the five-mile distance from the U.S. shores and/or U.S.-Canada maritime border. The boxes outlined with "yellow" dots, here shaded pinkish, are the proposed safety zones on Lake Ontario.
THE LAKE ONTARIO WATERKEEPER/ WOLFE ISLAND WILDLIFE ASSOCIATION WETLAND CORRIDOR PROPOSAL has been released. This is all about cleaning up and renewing the Wolfe Island Canal.
See the very interesting 40-page, 19 Mb PDF document, which includes some fascinating appendices including an inventory of fish, plant, and wildlife on Wolfe Island.
FOUR LARGE CHRONICALLY MALFUNCTIONING LIGHT BUOYS in the lower Cataraqui River were replaced this week with much smaller spar buoys.
The reaction of Kingston's current mayor, Harvey Rosen, is interesting. The fact is, the city of Kingston only started cleaning up its act after it was left with no other recourse. Ref: the Belle Park Dump.
HERE"S AN INTERSTING ITEM involving an agreement with First Nations involving Belle Island at the Oct 3rd Council meeting.
LAKE ONTARIO WATERKEEPER argues water is not just another commodity.
GENERAL BROCK ON THE ROCKS: Today The Whig Standard published this front page story about the 100-passenger tour boat General Brock III, operated by 1000 Islands Seaway Cruises, that ran aground South of Seeleys Bay. No passengers were on board, no injuries were sustained, and apparently damage to the vessel is minimal.
UPPER GREAT LAKES WATER LEVELS ARE VERY LOW, and there's no relief in sight. Huron and Michigan are at their lowest levels since the 1960s and Lake Superior is at its lowest since 1926.
THE COLLINS CREEK GREENBELT CORRIDOR will be one step closer to reality following the Planning Commitee meeting next Thursday.
Most people don't realize the immense size of the Collins Creek watershed. You barely notice Collins Creek driving over its mouth on Bath Road. Click the diagram below for a larger version.
BOUNCING BOATS are hard on your back.
Snake Shoal BreakSounds wild.
6-8ft; Straight onshore conditions and nice long rides straight downwind. Jumps on either tack. This shallow shoal is good even in the early season high water. At low water, I wouldn't try to sail straight across this shoal. Instead, ride the surf down either side.
THE WHIG REPORTS on the three options presented by the International Joint Commission for regulating Lake Ontario water levels. See the commission's 162 page report, including some fascinating annexes.
Plan B+ represents a favorable compromise between pre-dam ideal environmental conditions and human uses of the Lake and River waterways. LOW notes that this is the only candidate plan that is directed towards the goals of the study, that is improving the Lake and River ecosystem. By permitting a greater range of fluctuations, meadow marsh habitat in Lake Ontario will be significantly improved. Plan B+ does more than any other plan to address species at risk, with notable improvements to populations of least bittern, black tern, yellow rail, and king rail.
GOOGLE HAS ANNOUNCED UPGRADED IMAGERY for Google Maps and Google Earth. Large parts of North America are upgraded, and though the Kingston region is not included, Gananoque, Western Howe Island, the Admiralty Islands, and the Lake Fleet Islands are.
Western Camelot and Eastern Niagra Islands from Google Maps.
FIVE PEOPLE DIE at a poker run on Lake Texoma near Willis, Oklahoma.
CORMORANTS TAKE A BITE OUT OF FISH STOCKS, which confirms what local fishermen have been observing for a long while.
FUNDRAISING CONCERT: GORD DOWNIE will be performing a "Heart of a Lake" tour in three cities between September 18 to 21, 2006. All proceeds from the tour will be used to help communities win back their rights to safely swim, drink, and fish in Lake Ontario.
He'll be performing in Kingston on Thursday, September 21st, 8pm at Sydenham Street United Church, 82 Sydenham Street, Kingston. Tickets $18, fees extra. Available online at www.maplemusic.com and www.grandtheatre-kingston.com, at the Grand Theatre Box office, the John Deutsch University Centre and The Grad Club, and by phone at 613.530.2050
BEACH INFORMATION WHERE? Wondering if a particular local beach is open or closed? The KFL&A Health Unit website is no help. First you must guess that their news page is where this information is kept, and then you must guess if a news item is current since their items are not dated. What's worse, the beach information is buried in a narrative paragraph which must be interpreted, and some of the beach-closure related news items mention some beaches while omitting others.
What this city needs is a web page that clearly shows us the status of all local beaches at a glance.
KYC'S 110 YEARS interesting story yesterday at CKWS-News about the celebration at Kingston Yacht Club marking its 110th anniversary, and the 30th anniversary of hosting the sailing competition of the 1976 Olympic Summer Games.
"Partnering opportunity with the municipality in the provision of capital investment in marina infrastructure and delivery of marinas operations and marketing services"
Read the whole thing.
[Updated]: Click here to view the July 25th 2006 City of Kingston website announcement of the matter. Click here to see the interesting and detailed documents submitted to Council to approve this move in late March, 2006.
Various questions arise from all this:
LAKE ONTARIO WATER LEVELS ARE UP, now about four inches above average. Upstream, Lake Superior is 10 inches below average, and Lakes Michigan and Huron are 20 inches below average water levels.
POKER RUN: Today's Whig Standard lead story, complete with colour photo, proclaims: " Big boats lead to new business".
The Thousand Islands Poker Run proved (sic) it is good for more than electrifying crowds and breaking speed limits over the weekend.
For the first time in its 19-year history, the motorsport spectacle was parlayed into a showcasing weekend for companies looking to expand.
A company in town for the event, which Kingston Economic Development Corp. general manager Jeff Garrah would not name ahead of an official announcement, committed to building a 15,000-square-foot facility that will create about 16 new jobs.
To put this into perspective, your average freestanding fast-food franchise represents as many full-time equivalent jobs as this. This is evidently front-page KEDCO-lauding news in this town.
"We had spectator boats lining both sides of the river from Kingston all the way to Prescott," Taylor said. "That's the magnitude of this event."
Yeah, like a sunny Saturday in August wouldn't otherwise be busy with boat traffic throughout the Thousand Islands.
Our friends at KEDCO and Poker Runs America would be well advised to curb their collegial self-congratulations, and recognize the other boats standing clear for what it really was.
Here's the latest 1000 Islands CAN/AM Poker Run schedule.
CORK STARTS: Today is the first day of CORK, and it starts with the CORK Offshore event for larger keelboats.
Here's another recent article about the deadly virus killing fish in Lake Ontario.
Here's a Utilities Kingston Tender posted August first, closing August 16th, for work that must be done before December 15th 2006. Therein:
All this seems ridiculously short-notice and cross-diciplinary. The City of Kingston stumbles on without sense or vision for the Cataraqui River.
Landscaping of the on-shore areas of the east and west shores of the Great Cataraqui River - the naturalization of 5,800m2 on the west shore, the restoration of the east shore and landscaping in the vicinity of the River Street Sewage Pumping Station, including Douglas L. Fluhrer Park.
In-water fish compensation works in the Great Cataraqui River - construction of an artificial reef on the east shore of the Great Cataraqui River and the installation of ten (10) root wads on shoreline areas.
On August 1st, Lake Ontario Waterkeeper published a short piece about three local beaches that are presently closed because of E.coli.
Meanwhile, at Richardson Beach, which wasn't closed, on the hottest, muggiest, and smoggiest August 1st in Kingston history, there were very few swimmers, doubtless due to the general confusion over which beaches were, or wern't, safe.
CBC-News reports that some passport exemptions are likely for ferries and pleasure craft by the January 1st 2007 target date.
(The Horne Ferry on Wolfe Island, less than 10 miles from Kingston, links Canada to the USA.)
Bruce Schneier has an interesting post related to this on his blog: Schneier on Security (a blog that is always interesting).
Either one of two things are true. Either passports are required for security, in which case we interfere with ferries. Or they're for show, in which case we can just do what's convenient. Or maybe we just know that terrorists never take ferries.
Finally, after being notably low, Lake Ontario water levels are about normal for this time of year.
CBC News reports Rideau Canal system hit by high gas prices, bad weather and border woes. In some places along the Rideau Canal, traffic is down 30% compared to last year.
CKWS-TV has filed a transcript of a report on a recent fish die-off in Lake Ontario and the St Lawrence river. It's apparentlly caused by the VHS virus. Here's the report by The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation on the matter. See also here and here.
Here's an interesting article by Jamie Swift in the July/August 2006 edition of Independent Voice titled On the shores of Lake Ontario -- In which we attempt to stroll along Kingstons waterfront.
sewer bypass log reports 5,400
cubic meters (1.2 million gallons) were dumped into our waterways on June 27th.
For a sense of perspective, a typical tank truck, the sort used to make fuel deliveries on highways and around town, can contain 5,000 gallons. Imagine a line of 240 such trucks, lined up to pump sewage into the water at the causeway. The equivalent of that happened this week in Kingston.
Tuesday we dumped the contents of 240 of these.
Here's another local waterfront blog, called A Sailor's Log, maintained by Nathan Baron, and billed as News, Events, and Stories from the Kingston Yacht Club.
Here's a link to a Globe and Mail article titled Ontario tightens penalties for impaired boat operators.
As we approach July, Lake Ontario water levels are still about six inches below average, and about four inches below last year's level at this time. The forecast calls for levels to rise through July, when historically levels fall.
CNN reports Green goo globs up Great Lakes. It appears that algae blooms have been on the rise since the mid-1990s in parts of all of the Great Lakes. Here's the text of the report referenced in the CNN story. It's Lake Michigan-centric, but it applies also to Lake Ontario. Interesting how zebra mussles play a part in all this.
Waterkeeper is right: Lafarge's application for a landfill in Bath and it's recent application for burning waste in its kilns should be examined in context together.
To give a sense of the scale of this, only 122 megawatts of wind-generated power exists in the province of Ontario today. 710 megawatts would be sufficient to meet the needs of 200,000 homes. This would be the biggest offshore wind farm outside of northern Europe.
Parks Canada is inviting the public help them develop the first management plan for the Kingston Fortifications, in particular to ensure their commemorative integrity. They are concerned with Cathcart Tower, Shoal Tower, Murney Tower and Fort Frederick.
This week the City tabled a transportation report that suggests, among other things, the re-routing of King Street South of the heating plant to improve flow and alleviate Kingston General Hospital parking issues. This would require some infilling. Most of this park exists because of prior infilling.
At long last, the boathouses at Kingston Yacht Club are being renovated.
Cold water and its effects are involved in virtually all kayaking and recreational boating deaths. An article posted on the Yachting World website explains what makes cold water exposure so potentially risky, reviews some strategies to minimize that risk, and raise a few hairs with some stories of tragic, and mostly preventable, cold water deaths. For example:
The current water temperature in these parts is 40F. The article is titled Shocking news about cold water. Read the whole thing.
- Nine elite marines, water survival instructors, capsized in 36F water wearing sweatsuits and no PFDs. None of them survived the attempted 100 yard swim to shore.
- Sixteen (16) Danish fishermen jumped into the icy waters of the North Sea when their trawler sank in a storm. They were in the water for a 2 - 3 hours before being rescued. They walked across the deck of the rescue vessel and went down into the galley to warm up. Each and every one collapsed and died in the galley.
- An average adult person has a 50/50 chance of surviving a 50 yard swim in 50F. water.
The City of Kingston announces that the Inner Harbour sewer overflow tank (is now) in operation.
Lake Ontario Waterkeeper reports that Kingston dumps raw sewage... again... and again... and again... and again... and again.
Kingston has bypassed sewage seven times during five "events" in the first quarter of 2006. According to Waterkeeper, since 1999, the city has dumped well over 1-b i l l i o n litres of raw sewage into area waterways. How embarassing.
Over at Collins Bay Marina they're already launching boats. "This is the earliest we have ever started the season!" says Hub Steenbakkers, owner of Collins Bay Marina. "It is starting off to be a great season!".
Here are two views from the controllable Collins Bay Marina web cam which you can take for a spin at www.CollinsBayMarina.com/WebCam.html.
At other locations:
The April 2006 edition of the KYC Log is now online.
Lake Ontario Waterkeeper has issued an open invitation in Kingston this week.
Meet us in Kingston this week!
Join Lake Ontario Waterkeeper and Gord Downie in a discussion about Kingston's burning issues.
Find out what's being done - and what you can do - to win back your lake... and your future.
Where: Queen's Grad Club, Kingston
When: 7:00-9:30. Wed. April 5, 2006.
How: You must be on the list to attend. Please email RSVP@waterkeeper.ca.
Space is limited. First come, first serve!
Yesterday CKWS-TV news ran this piece about Bath's Lafarge cement plant's plans to burn tires in its kilns.
Over at Rideau Marina the South boathouse is being torn down. It's being removed because it covers some deeper-water slips that many boaters hesitate to rent because they are under cover. Very soon those slips will be wide-open.
Today The Whig Standard reports that the City is studying improving and expanding our municipal marinas, possibly establishing a partnership with the private sector.
Lake Ontario Waterkeeper and Gord Downie ask the government to deny Lafarge permits.
Their 11-page submission in PDF format is here. That's a long list of concerns; read the whole thing.
The Whig reports that CFB Kingston has closed access to a popular waterfront cycling trail.
At issue before Council tonight, the City of Kingston proposes to rent an office at Portsmouth Olympic Harbour to Clifts Marine Sales of Toronto whose homepage already touts this as a done deal. Note the rent. We're guessing this is the thin edge of the wedge, and it's only a matter of time before they start renting docks and using POH as a major sales centre.
The March 2006 issue of the Collins Bay Yacht Club Newsletter is now available.
CKWS-TV reports that the City dumped 7 million litres of waste water into the Cataraqui River this week.
From the United States Army Corps of Engineers:
All of the Great Lakes are 3 to 8 inches below the levels of a year ago. Lake Superior is below chart datum and is expected to be at the same level a month from now. Lake Michigan-Huron is below chart datum and should rise 4 inches within the next 30 days. Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie are expected to rise 4 inches over the next month and Lake Ontario is expected to rise two inches over the next month. Due to a warmer than average January and February some of the Great Lakes seem to have begun their seasonal rise earlier than normal, but levels over the next few months on all the Great Lakes are expected to remain lower than 2005.
The Globe and Mail reports Great Lakes pollution rising despite cleanups, study says. The full study is here, courtesy of pollutionwatch.org. We've posted their latest data on the largest polluters in the region on our pollution page.
CKWS-TV reports on a recent diving death near Rockport.
We may be seeing a show by the Snowbirds precision flying team on Wednesday May 17th.
We've received some great pictures and a history of the shallow wrecks in Anglin Bay.
Surely we're not the only ones who missed the release of the December 2005 CORK Newsletter. Among the interesting items in the two pages are:
The Ministry of Natural Resources is rethinking a controversial plan to close bass sanctuaries in the Rideau Lakes area after angry opposition from tourism and fishing operators.
CKWS-TV reports on the new underground sewage overflow tank on the western shore of the Cataraqui River.
The Whig Standard today published a story about pending development on the Davis Tannery site, which is on the Inner Harbour waterfront.