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ASB to enter next stage


Determining the feasibility of establishing an Area Services Board (ASB) here will take a step forward next month after the working group learned Friday that district municipalities are in favour of hiring a consultant.

“With the exception of two unorganized areas, all voted in favour,” said Fort Frances Coun. Dave Bourgeault, who also is chair of the working group.

“At this point, we’re looking to hire a consultant. That consultant will put together a report based on the many questions we have, particularly to with the additional services,” he added.

“I’m pleased to say we’re come this far.”

On May 22, the “central” unorganized area, including Watten and Halkirk east of Fort Frances, voted 40-0 against a motion to explore an ASB while the 91 residents of the “eastern” area (east, west, and north of Atikokan) also voted unanimously against it.

But the “western” area (west end of the district) voted 11-0 in favour of pursuing stage two.

Coun. Bourgeault said the unorganized areas are concerned they only will get to vote once on whether or not to pursue the ASB while district municipalities will get the chance to withdraw after stage two is complete.

But a double majority—a majority of the municipalities and unorganized areas’ working group members representing a majority of the district’s population—in favour of going ahead with stage two was established after a vote count at a meeting here Friday afternoon.

The purpose of an ASB is to take over services—including land ambulance, “Ontario Works,” day care, and social housing services—from the local District Social Services Administrative Board (DSSAB), as well as manage public health and homes for the aged.

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