Leeds and the Thousand Islands says yes to St. Lawrence Cruise Lines

Image via St. Lawrence Cruise Lines website.

The Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands (TLTI) council has approved a St. Lawrence Cruise Lines request for overnight stays at Ivy Lea Wharf.

This request was made during a recent Committee of the Whole Council meeting in Lansdowne.

At the meeting on December 4, 2023, the committee of the whole received a delegation from John Chomniak, on behalf of Kingston-based St. Lawrence Cruise Lines (SLCL), seeking permission to have one of its ships dock overnight at the Ivy Lea Wharf on the following dates in 2024: May 26, June 11, July 26, August 11, September 25, and October 22.

Chomniak noted that SLCL has used the Ivy Lea Wharf for overnight visits in the past and would like to return to Ivy Lea as an overnight stopover.

At a subsequent meeting on December 11, 2023, TLTI Council passed a resolution directing Township staff to bring back a report with further information about the cruise company’s request.

Staff has held discussions, and a site visit at the Ivy Lea Wharf with Chomniak, to gain information about the vessel that would be visiting the wharf.

Staffers were concerned about noise and how the vessel would fit on the wharf. Chomniak has advised that SLCL has taken noise measurements of the onboard generator used to power the ship while in port and that the measured decibel levels from outside the ship are comparable to a household dishwasher.

During the site visit, Chomniak described how the ship would be moored to the fixed and floating portions of the wharf, and assured staff that the vessel could be safely placed without obstructing the boat ramp or the water intake pipe for the dry hydrant.

This was further confirmed by Jason Clark, president of SLCL, who visited the wharf with Chomniak separately. Kehoe Marine, who constructed the wharf, has confirmed that the wharf structure can accommodate the size of the ship proposed by SLCL.

In response to staff’s question regarding the potential impact on residents of Ivy Lea, Clark advised that the ship will dock at or about 7 p.m., at which time there will be dinner sittings followed by on-board entertainment. Most on-board evenings conclude around 10 p.m.

The capacity for the ship is 60 passengers. Clark further advised that, from past experience, approximately 10 to 15 passengers may disembark and walk around Ivy Lea. Clark confirmed that he does not expect a great number of passengers strolling through the village.

Clark also confirmed that SLCL has no plans to offer transportation from the wharf to land attractions such as the casino, playhouse, or restaurants. Therefore, the presence of the ship will not add motorized traffic in Ivy Lea, he said.

Staff has confirmed with the Township’s insurer that there will be no impact on premiums as long as there is a contract with SLCL that includes an indemnity, requirements of insurance coverage, and a hold harmless clause that protects the township. Clark has advised that SLCL is well experienced with such types of contracts, as they are a common requirement at other ports that SLCL visits

The agreement will apply for the six identified dates during the 2024 season. Docking fees will be charged in accordance with the general rates and fees bylaw. Consideration for overnight stays in subsequent years will be subject to approval by Council.

Keith Dempsey is a Local Journalism Initiative (LJI) reporter based out of Gananoque. The LJI is funded by the Government of Canada

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