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Council stands by re-zoning decision


Town council approved a recommendation from the Planning and Development executive committee Monday night to stick to its the decision to re-zone property at 1250 King’s Highway for the purposes of seeing a large commercial property developed there.

This position, along with an appeal filed by local resident and merchant Kim Metke, now will be forwarded to the Ontario Municipal Board, which will determine whether the appeal provides grounds for the town to reconsider the re-zoning.

“When the appeal was filed [Jan. 3], I had 15 days to submit the record, which includes his grounds for the appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board,” municipal planner Faye Flatt noted yesterday.

“As part of this, council’s must provide its position on the appeal. In this case, council deemed the re-zoning of the property was appropriate,” she added.

During the committee of the whole meeting earlier Monday, Coun. Dave Bourgeault asked CAO Bill Naturkach how long the appeal process could take.

“Right now, the board will accept it, then determine its worth and whether or not to set up a hearing,” Naturkach replied. “It could take months or more. The hearing could last a day or more.”

As first reported in last week’s Times, Metke is citing a number of concerns—ranging from environmental to traffic safety to optimal use of land—in his appeal of council’s re-zoning decision.

Metke could not be reached for comment before press time this week.

Council had passed the bylaw to re-zone the property in question at its Dec. 9 meeting.

While it is rumoured the property could be used for a Wal-Mart store, this hasn’t been confirmed yet by the company.

But it is known from the re-zoning application (to change the property from “heavy industrial” to “highway commercial)” 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.

Also at Monday night’s meeting, council:

•authorized a letter from Operations and Facilities manager Pat Hickerson be sent to Greg Stahn of Greg’s Recycling, indicating the town is looking to sign a long-term agreement with Koochiching County regarding recycling services, but that he would be willing to meet with Stahn to discuss future recycling possibilities;

•agreed to forward a concern regarding speeding drivers on Sixth Street to the Traffic Safety Committee;

•authorized documents regarding the summer construction on Scott Street from Mowat Avenue to Armit Avenue be sent to the Ministry of Transportation as per the requirements in acquiring “Connecting Link” funding;

•referred a request from the Fort Frances Chamber of Commerce for a sprinkler system at the ’52 Canadians Arena to the 2004 budget process;

•approved a customer complaint tracking policy and procedures document submitted by Administration and Finance manager Darryl Allan;

•approved the continued provision of Part I prosecution service for CNR, as per the request of the local Provincial Offences office;

•approved administrative assistant Kathy Lawson’s attendance at an management skills training course in Thunder Bay on Feb. 28;

•agreed to an invitation from the Rainy River District School Board to meet regarding the fate of the old Fort Frances High School on First Street East;

•approved an application for increased funding for Phase II of the La Verendrye Parkway project be sent to the Northern Communities Capital Assistance Program;

•accepted a challenge to form a snowshoe team and race the International Falls city council during Icebox Days XXIII this Friday at 8 p.m. at Smokey Bear Park (the team will consist of Coun. Struchan Gilson, Hickerson, Allan, Clerk Glenn Treftlin, Naturkach, and “coach” Mayor Glenn Witherspoon); and

•chose not to support a resolution from the Municipality of West Elgin regarding the closure of rural schools (this was on the grounds the town does not take positions of closures or education in the region, noted Naturkach).

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