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A look at the role of Community Services

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This marks Local Government Week, which is being promoted by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, the Association of Municipal Managers, Clerks and Treasurers of Ontario, and the Association of Municipalities of Ontario as a time for the public to learn more about municipal government.

This is the third article in a series describing the roles and responsibilities of council and the four town divisions (Administration and Finance, Community Services, Operations and Facilities, and Planning and Development).

The mission statement of the Community Services division is to ensure the highest standards in the delivery of community programs and protective services while maximizing resources and keeping in mind the town’s responsibility to the taxpayer.

Its goals are to be market-driven, customer service-oriented to provide opportunity for residents to have a positive impact on their community and, where applicable, reduce dependency upon the municipal tax base while developing a “synergy” between departments.

Three areas fall under the banner of Community Services: protection services; social/cultural/recreational services; and transportation services.

Protection services includes police and fire and rescue. Social/cultural/recreational services include the library, museum, Children’s Complex, seniors’ services, and recreation while transportation services include the handi-van and Dial-a-Ride.

It should be noted many of these services are governed by legislation, including the Fire Prevention and Protection Act, Police Services Act, Municipal Act, District Social Services Administration Board Act, Ontario Libraries Act, and Older Adult Centre Act.

The Community Services division is managed by George Bell, under whom is employed numerous and varied staff, ranging from day care workers, a physical education director, and arena maintenance staff to museum curator, librarians, firefighters, and police officers.

Community Services also involves the management of many local facilities and properties, including (but not limited to) the Memorial Sports Centre, St. Francis Sportsfields, East End Hall, Fort Frances Children’s Complex, Sorting Gap Marina, Fort Frances Museum, Fort Frances Public Library, and Sister Kennedy Centre.

The Community Services executive committee consists of Bell along with Couns. Andrew Hallikas (chair), Sharon Tibbs, and Rick Wiedenhoeft.

Other committees under the Community Services division include the Police Services Board, Fort Frances Public Library board of management, Sister Kennedy board, St. Francis Sportsfield board, Townshend Theatre board, Active Transportation Steering Committee, Accessibility Advisory Committee, Recreation Advisory Committee, Museum Advisory Committee, Children’s Complex Advisory Committee, and Community Activities Advisory Committee.

The above was compiled from information provided by the Town of Fort Frances and AMCTO.

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