A major portion of last Friday afternoon’s meeting of the Rainy River District Area Services Board working group was taken up with semantics—namely, does a vote for stage one of the proposal mean the working group has, in theory, agreed to form an ASB?
Michael Lewis, the eastern region’s unincorporated rep, had concerns about the wording.
“We’re actually saying yes during exploration. I think there ought to be two votes,” he said. “That’s a real concern to [the three unincorporated areas].
But Fort Frances Coun. David Bourgeault, chair of the working group, clarified the process.
“No one is ramming this through,” he stressed. “It will go back to the municipalities and they might not even vote for phase one. The same [process] will happen in phase two.
“I’m not convinced it’s going to happen.”
Each municipality will show its support for the stage one proposal through a resolution.
Meanwhile, the three reps of the unincorporated areas will call a meeting May 22 in each of their areas to conduct a vote among residents to determine whether or not there’s majority support for the proposal.
Depending on the results, if a double majority vote wins, the board will follow this timetable:
•June 30—stage one proposal to be filed with the minister;
•Sept. 3—stage two proposal to be filed with the minister;
•Nov. 15—stage three proposal filed with the minister; and
•Jan. 1, 2003—effective date for the ASB’s formation.
The three incumbent unincorporated reps on the District Social Services Administration Board (DSSAB) have agreed to serve as the representatives to the first ASB board, namely Lewis (east), Loretta Lipinski (central), and Wade Desserre (west).
The board now consists of 16 members, which is based on this formula: 0 to 2,500 electors equals one member, 2,501 to 5,000 electors equals two members, and 5,000 plus electors equals three members.
Fort Frances (6,731 electors) has three reps on the board while Atikokan (2,879) has two.
The municipalities of Rainy River (837), Alberton (819), Chapple (979), Dawson (782), Emo (1,036), La Vallee (914), and Morley (488), as well as the three unincorporated—East (776), West (1,042), and Central (2,323)—all have one rep each.
The ASB board would provide six core services—child care, assistance under the Ontario Works Act, public health services under the Health Protection and Promotion Act, social housing, land ambulance service, and homes for the aged.
It has no intention of providing any additional services.
The ASB working group will use a consultant to assist in the process. Consultations with all the service providers and delivery agents for the six core services also will be undertaken.
Working group members will bring their suggestions for names of consultants to be considered at the next meeting as well as consideration of the process to be undertaken (i.e., either direct invitation or public advertisements).