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Nip twinning in the bud

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Under the “Oh no, not again” file . . .

Yes, that dreaded “T” word is being floated around again by town leaders. As in “twinning” Fort Frances with another town/city. Also as in “time (and money) wasted.”

This time around, 10 years after our last foray with “twinning,” Fort Frances isn’t looking as far afield as Taiwan (Jendeh Township, to be exact), but rather Winchester and/or Paris, Tenn.—two cities Mayor Glenn Witherspoon, Fort Frances CAO Bill Naturkach, and local economic development officer Geoff Gillon visited over six days late last month.

All three returned home bubbling from their trip, which is fine, except that someone had to mention that “T” word. And suddenly, memories of all the promised economic benefits—not to mention flood of Oriental businessmen—our town would gain by linking up with Jendeh Township came rushing back.

Quickly followed by memories of how it all fizzled out faster than a Roman candle. In a word, it was a flop. Sure, Randal Lu arrived here from Taiwan, and ran the Le Hoa restaurant on Scott Street for a while. But where is he now? Not here.

Is that really a road we want to venture down again? Have we not learned anything?

Look, there’s nothing wrong with the town going on so-called “fact-finding” missions to liked-sized communities facing similar problems to see how they have solved/overcome them. Nor is there anything wrong with be involved in ventures like the Northern Networks trade conference to promote our businesses and try to attract new ones.

But formal twinning? Puh-leeze. It’s nothing more than a ceremonial exercise in P.R. whose only payback is a nice, shiny plaque hanging on a wall inside the Civic Centre.

So let’s nip this “twinning” talk in the bud. We need solutions and ideas, not another plaque.

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