Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Group asks to plant trees

Parts of Fort Frances could be greener down the road thanks to the Rainy River District Stewardship.
The not-for-profit community group has asked for permission to plant trees on town property in late May and again next May.

The group would like to partner with the public school board, and take groups of students out with local experts to plant red pine and white spruce seedlings.
One possible site is along the top of the ditch on the east side of McIrvine Road, north of Eighth Street, which would allow J.W. Walker students to walk to the planting site.
Other sites include the vacant property along the west side of Webster Avenue between Sixth and Eighth Street, and some infill planting in the area of the Eighth Street ski trails.
About 200-400 trees would be planted each year.
The town would not be required to maintain the trees or leave the properties undeveloped should a development opportunity arise, Joe Reynolds, chair of the Rainy River District Stewardship, noted in a letter received by council at its regular meeting last night.
“This is simply creating an opportunity for local students to learn about how trees help clean and maintain our environment, and participate in beautifying the local community,” he explained.
Council referred the request to the Planning and Development executive committee for its recommendation, with input from the Operations and Facilities executive committee.
Data agreement
In other news, the town will enter into an agreement with Replan, a housing consultant for New Gold, to provide its geospatial data for a housing development strategy.
The data will be used to develop a housing plan should a mining site be developed west of Fort Frances in the near future.
This would be to accommodate both construction and mining workers.
The fee for the geospatial data will be waived at a cost of $4,359.82 plus HST.
Mayor Roy Avis said the town will send New Gold a letter to ensure the company knows town council is doing this as a courtesy.
Coun. Andrew Hallikas said he supports the agreement, but also noted the town can’t do this for everyone for free.
“I just want to be sure that this is not being treated as a precedent because data these days is very, very valuable, and it’s very important that we value and safeguard the data of the town,” he stressed.
“It’s a valuable commodity.”
Also last night, council:
•passed a bylaw to submit a question to the electors of the Town of Fort Frances in conjunction with the 2014 municipal election in October (as previously reported, the question will be whether Fort Frances should be considered a future site for a casino);
•directed that the traffic bylaw be amended to reflect a handicap parking zone at J.W. Walker School;
•endorsed the Sister Kennedy Centre’s annual budget and special grant requests to the province in the amounts of $40,000 and $15,000, respectively;
•authorized the signing of the 2014 child-care service provider contract with the local DSSAB in the amount of $802,324;
•agreed that the January/February 2014 water and sanitary sewer invoice for 237 Church St. be adjusted downward, and that the March/April bill be adjusted;
•received a donation request from the La Verendrye General Hospital Auxiliary for its “Rock’n for a Reason” fundraiser May 16-17 during the Chamber of Commerce’s annual Business & Community Expo, and urged council members to make individual pledges to an auxiliary volunteer or local celebrity;
•approved a donation request to the FFHS “Chem-Free” Grad committee in the amount of $1,039.32 (this is to offset the costs of arena and auditorium rental fees for the annual grad party June 19);
•referred a request from Stan Hoard, re: cemetery maintenance, to the Operations and Facilities executive committee;
•proclaimed May 4-10 as “Emergency Preparedness Week” in the Town of Fort Frances;
•referred a request to suspend calendar parking from June 24-26 on Nelson Street in the area of the Sister Kennedy Centre, to accommodate the District 1A Senior Games, to the Planning and Development executive committee for its recommendation;
•agreed that Mayor Avis and Coun. Hallikas attend the Northwestern Health Unit’s “Do One Thing” conference May 27-28 in Kenora; and
•authorized all of council attend the official opening/wine-and-cheese reception for the new “Celebrating Over 100 Years of Papermaking and Wood Harvesting” exhibit May 14 at the Fort Frances Museum.

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