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Wal-Mart still looking at Fort Frances


If word last month that Wal-Mart was looking at setting up shop in Kenora got some local residents wondering if that meant the company wouldn’t be coming here, Mayor Glenn Witherspoon said yesterday that’s not the case.

“All I know is they are proceeding on with their plans here so far as purchasing land and building a store,” he remarked.

“They’ve been getting costings for the project, from contractors and other businesses,” added Mayor Witherspoon. “Yes, there’s an appeal to the OMB [Ontario Municipal Board] regarding environmental assessment, zoning, etc., but I think they see that as just another step to take.

“From my perspective, they’re still very much interested in coming here,” he concluded.

The re-zoning appeal the mayor referred to is for the property at 1250 King’s Highway, which council passed at its Dec. 9 meeting. But this site hasn’t been confirmed yet by the company nor released by Stantec, the consultants which applied for a re-zoning there.

The appeal the mayor mentioned was filed by local resident and merchant Kim Metke at the beginning of last month.

The re-zoning application (to change the property from “heavy industrial” to “highway commercial”) stated that the site—which will be roughly 130,000 sq. ft. in size, including a large parking lot—is proposed to house various tenants for such purposes as retail sales, a restaurant, hair salon, and optical centre.

Andrew Pelletier, director of Wal-Mart corporate affairs in Toronto, confirmed in November the company indeed is looking to bring a store to this area.

He could not be reached for any update before press time today.

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