With plans for Phase II of the Heritage Tourism Plan in the town’s future, resident Bill Martin told council last night that he opposes the proposed relocation of the Hallett and lookout tower to the riverfront near the Sorting Gap Marina.
Martin, who lives on the 800 block of Front Street right across from the possible future site of the historic boat, said that aside from the fact he doesn’t want to look at the boat every time he looks out his window, the site is dangerous.
The Hallett would be located directly south of the exit of the Shevlin wood yard, and there is truck traffic through that exit “24 hours a day, seven days a week.”
Martin noted he counted an average of 100 trucks a day go by his house—and that number will rise once the mill’s new biomass boiler is operational.
He pointed out the site is only about 70 feet from the exit of the wood yard, and every time a truck comes out of the exit, it is pointed right at the site before swinging west.
“There’s been no trouble yet, but if we jam that location with the Hallett . . . ” he trailed off.
“These trucks coming out have a gross vehicle weight of 60 to 70 tonnes,” Martin added. “I think in the winter they’re up around 80 or 85 tonnes. You’re looking at a pretty big unit there.
“You’re planning to put the Hallett in the most congested place you find on Front Street,” he remarked.
Martin also pointed out that as a tourist attraction, it will attract more people, but there isn’t enough parking along the riverfront.
He added the currently-proposed site also may impact the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship. For example, it would take up the only inexpensive place along the waterfront to build a another boat launch.
Martin suggested the Hallett either be moved into the river along the La Verendrye Parkway, further east along the waterfront, or better yet, leave it where it is at Seven Oaks and develop that area as a tourist attraction (a destination at the end of the La Verendrye Parkway).
The latter option would take the money that would be used to move the boat and lookout tower and use it to further develop that area.
Martin noted the town could work with local First Nations to make that site “beneficial to all the people.”
Also at last night’s meeting, Operations and Facilities manager Doug Brown told council that work on the Portage Avenue underpass will continue until the second or third week of November before wrapping up for the winter.
The underpass will be closed tomorrow (Oct. 29) from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. for a concrete pour. Two six-metre panels on each side of the abutment wall, as well as the abutment wall, will be poured.
Backfilling also will begin on the southeast retaining wall tomorrow. Once it’s placed, a skim of asphalt will be out on the road bed. As well, the shoring has to be removed.
All the soil anchors have been installed and tested.
Brown noted work last fall didn’t wrap up until Dec. 5. As long as the work goes well and the weather co-operates, it will be done in the next few weeks.
He added the sidewalk on the west side of the underpass has been widened, but it will not be paved prior to winter and will remain gravel until work resumes next spring.
Also last night, council:
•passed a bylaw to amend Zoning Bylaw No. 08/98 for 1345 Emo Rd. to rezone the property from institutional to multi-residential (local resident Dave Petsnick wants to convert the former United Pentecostal Church there into three apartments);
•heard a presentation by Geoff Gillon regarding a proposed economic development plan for Fort Frances; and
•received a request regarding the Salvation Army’s Christmas Kettle campaign, and agreed to have Mayor Roy Avis kick off the campaign Dec. 1 at 11 a.m. at Canadian Tire.
(other councillors will take shifts manning the kettle during the holiday season).