Mayor June Caul voiced her concerns around residents, business owners, and visitors not feeling comfortable or safe in Fort Frances during yesterday evening's council meeting.
Over the last year she said the town has been plagued with a higher volume of transients and people suffering addictions which has greatly impacted the safety of the downtown area.
Mayor Caul has been meeting with the OPP, BIA, Chamber of Commerce, health providers, and local residents to discuss ways of tackling the issue.
She called on residents to support a licensed facility to help alleviate homelessness in town.
Mayor Caul also encouraged residents to donate food or money to a licensed food bank if they want to help address the problem locally.
“Every one of us must step up and do the right thing to keep our town a safe and welcoming place for visitors and residents,” she remarked.
“All people residing in Fort Frances permanently or for a short time deserve respect no matter what their lifestyle is.”
This includes those suffering from addictions, who are down on their luck, need a home, food for their family, or those who are trying to get a legitimate job to make ends meet, Mayor Caul noted.
Coun. Douglas Judson echoed the mayor's statements and applauded the OPP's daily foot patrols they've been doing in the downtown core.
He also noted that he continues to be an active part of the working group monitoring the town's response to the Fort Frances mill situation.
“Productive meetings continue to take place on that file,” Coun. Judson remarked.
“Our efforts continue to be directed to ensuring this key economic asset has every opportunity to return to productive use for our community fuelled by the publicly owned forest resource around us, as intended.”
Meanwhile, overpass construction should wrap up in approximately two weeks according to the town's Operations and Facilities manager Travis Rob.
Mayor Caul said police have been monitoring the overpass and fining those who run red lights.
She is asking area residents to be understanding and drive safely through the construction zone.
Also at last night's meeting, council:
- heard a presentation from Northwestern Health Unit CEO Marilyn Herbacz;
- heard a presentation from Fort Frances Public Library CEO Caroline Goulding and board chair Robin Dennis;
- heard a presentation from Trudy McCormick of the Northwest Community Legal Aid Clinic
- passed a resolution regarding the Fort government's cuts to the Operating Budget of Ontario Library Service-North
- pulled the Voyageur Lions Club's request re: placement of recycle container on town land and sent it back to the Operations and Facilities executive committee for further review
- approved a request from the Fort Frances Senior Centre to waive calendar parking on the 400 and 500 blocks of Nelson Street during the District 1A Seniors Games and Senior Fair;
- approved a recommendation to enter into an alternate locate agreement with Union Gas;
- approved a recommendation to endorse a meeting with library personnel to advance the library storage shed request as feasible;
- approved a bylaw to approve an agreement with Bay City Contractors awarded through a tender process, for road reconstruction;
- approved a bylaw to approve an agreement with Ed Kaun & Sons Ltd. awarded through a tender process, for capital facility renovations;
- approved a bylaw to amend certain user fees in 2019; and
- a bylaw to authorize the levy and collection of taxes for all municipal purposes in the Town of Fort Frances for 2019.