The City of Kingston has hired RFA Planning Consultant Inc. to undertake the Estate Residential Review. A draft report, after being received by the Rural Advisory Committee, has just been approved by Council. I assume that the actual study by the consultants will soon start. The information and results of the study will be used to update the Official Plan of the city.

The study will examine background information that the City has compiled over time. This includes vacant land inventory, rural severance activity, building permit activity and new estate lot development.

The review will identify trends in lot creation and residential development in the rural area, research current approaches to estate residential development in other Ontario municipalities, and recommend changes to the Official Plan policy on residential development and estate lot creation in the rural area.

The report currently in circulation presents the draft of the Estate Residential Review for public review and comment.[i]

It was presented to the Rural Advisory Committee at their March public meeting and approved by Council on April 14. That means the studies will go ahead.

The three areas that affect us along the Aragon Road and around Colonel By Lake are shown in maps that accompany the report, the most important for us is shown below. The other areas are along the River Styx and along the St. Lawrence River.

estate planning map

The area at the west end of Colonel By Lake includes Edenwood Estates and the pasture land at the corner of Battersea Road and Aragon Road. Part of this, along Maple Lawn Drive, is already approved for five estate lots and houses are currently being constructed.

The remainder of the pasture land abuts environmental areas and wetlands that continue into Colonel By Lake. It is hard to visualise more estate lots shoehorned in to this remaining land. The lots would not have waterfront as the criteria spell out as being “desirable” to be characterised as “estate lot”.

The most sensitive study area is at the end or our road on both sides of the Canal, and including the River Styx and Colonel By Lake. The part to the south-east of that area is Alan Point Drive and that is fully developed. The area to the north-west is transversed by three pipelines; to superimpose estate lots in between is possibly not the best idea?

The proposed study area south-east on Colonel By Lake is already partly developed with the houses facing us across the lake.

There will be open houses, I assume, and the Rural Advisory Committee will have input, therefore we might think about all this and form an opinion that you can bring to the table at these study forums organised by the consultants.

If you wish to give me some feedback please feel free to send it to:

[i] The full report can be found at this Internet address:


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There is winter and then there is spring, the transition from extreme cold, snow and ice to springlike weather is almost instantaneous. As soon as the ice in Colonel By Lake starts to melT along the shore rapid changes take place.

This year we were treated to unusual visitors: Mute Swans, the largest water birds in this part of the country, an invasive species and quite aggressive, but graceful. We had fifteen of these majestic birds in our bay at the north west end of Colonel By Lake. I put them in the header of our website and show you a few more photos for your enjoyment.

We witnessed their courtship which is noisy and spectacular. The male, I presume, approaches the female who is not at all willing to participate, she flies away a short distance, maybe 50-100 meters, barely lifting off the water. The male pursues her in close pursuit. Because lift off is so slow and seemingly difficult, there are lots of splashing and sloshing sounds, when they are almost out of the water one can hear the rush of the wings that are up to 2.5 meters in span. Landing shortly after kicks up lots of water and causes waves. This goes on all day for two or three days in a row.

swans april 2015 c

 A sail past of Mute Swans in Draper Bay at the south-west end of Colonel By Lake, April 11, 2015. Note there is still ice floating in the water and there is snow on the ground.

Only a few days later that will all be gone.

swans april 2015 fA flock of ten Mute Swans on the water between the ice and the shore.

swans april 2015Showing off

swans april 2015 a A pair


A few days later most of the swans are gone further up the Rideau. We know there is a breeding pair in the creek and marsh of the River Styx in the large north-west bay of the river, just beyond the Keirstead farm.

Enjoy this swan in flight, it is a photo from the Internet, all other photos are taken by Henk Wevers.

swan in flight www


Let’s not forget the ospreys: they are back. First the male and then the female. The males repair the nest that has suffered from the snow, wind and other ravages of the winter, and then the female comes a week later; courtship starts.

Mark Fleming, a neighbour on the road, has already been on the lake in his kayak and observed ospreys on their nest at Keirstead. on Caseys Island at the eastern edge of the peninsula that is the federal conservation area, and on the pole nest east of the Dickinson’s house also in the conservation area. There are several more nests around the lake and the River Styx and it is safe to assume that most have returning ospreys setting up a household each yielding two to three offspring later in the spring.


A Great Blue Heron flew gracefully in to our bay landing near the shore to pick off the first fish of the season. Then there are lots of ducks and Canada geese on the water making a racket. On land the robins, red winged blackbirds, and other songbirds are building their nests wherever they can find a safe ledge, or other shelter, Turkey Vultures and birds of prey are soaring in a deep blue arctic sky.



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We all see wildlife around our houses and especially in winter the critters, large and small, leave their tracks in the snow. Personally I have seen rabbit, of course, and the ubiquitous squirrels, but also a weasel and two great horned owls, plus an assortment of birds on the feeders. However our neighbor Jackie Duffin not only saw some special guests but also managed to take photos. Other neighbours keep contributing their pictures, Hope you enjoy them.


The Bowies contributed this wise owl in the tree. Photo taken from the kitchen window. March 2017.

owl bowie march 2017

owl jackie

A great Barred Owl staring back at the photographer, Jacie Duffin, 2016.

coyote duffin march 2015 col corr

A coyote visiting the back yard of the Duffin’s house, in the background behind the trees is the Quintin farmhouse.

Below a prickly guest, the slow moving porcupine. “Don’t come near me…”

porcupine jackie march 2015 a


tracks wild turkey april 2015

These tracks in the fresh snow on April 4, 2015, are quite large, about ten centimeters long from heel to toe; a pair of wild turkeys left them, they went from our deck to the lawn and disappeared into the woods. Photo credit: Henk Wevers

tracks palleated wood pecker 2015 a

And here are tracks of a different kind; the Pileated Woodpecker, I didn’t see him, but most of us have heard their loud “tock tock tock” ; a high-speed drum roll caused by their bill hitting the tree. If you wish to learn more about how their brains are protected while they use their head as a chisel or ax, have a look at: 

wood pecker brain shock abs

tracks palleated wood pecker 2015

The wood chips are of a significant size, almost the same as what a beaver leaves behind, big chunks of wood that has softened over time after the tree has died.

And here is the bird.

tracks palleated wood pecker 2015 b

Photo from the Internet.


The presence of wild life is a good sign of a healthy neighborhood habitat, not only for us humans but also for our partners in the Animal Kingdom. We don’t come face to face with a coyote, because these top predators are smart and know when to disappear in the background bushes. We need wildlife around us for the control of vermin and we might not like them all, but coyotes, foxes, weasels, fishers, and in the summer snakes and snapping turtles as well as the soaring turkey vultures keep the environment in good shape. Next time you hear the coyotes howling, enjoy!