The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated is a quote attributed to renowned American author Mark Twain.
It also can apply to Fort Frances.
When Resolute Forest Products permanently closed its mill here in 2014, there was plenty of doom and gloom hanging over the future. But while there's no question the closure continues to have huge ramifications for the town, from loss of tax revenue to families moving away in search of work, it's also clear Fort Frances has shown a great deal of resiliency over the past three years.
Construction of New Gold's mine north of Barwick certainly helped cushion the blow by creating much-needed jobs. As well, local businesses are benefitting from the economic spin-off on everything from supplies/equipment to accommodations, not to mention the workers themselves spending their earnings on goods and services.
The bottom line is Fort Frances didn't simply roll over and die when the mill was shuttered. In fact, there's plenty of positive signs to suggest our community actually is on an upswing.
Just one lot remains unsold at the Huffman Court subdivision, with the town now eyeing a second one for Erin Crescent. Meanwhile, interest in the townhomes project along the La Verendrye Parkway (Front Street) is strong enough to warrant the company to mull building a second development here.
The Rainy River District Social Services Administration Board is being issued a building permit for an eight-plex apartment on Elizabeth Street East while Wahkaihganun Futures Corp. also received council's blessing this week to proceed with a six-plex unit on Eighth Street West.
Commercially, a lot next to the Super 8 Motel here is being billed as the future site of Microtel Inn & Suites (part of the Wyndham Hotel Group). As well, council this week agreed to issue a building permit to Sovereign Asset Management for a Great Canadian Oil Change franchise on King's Highway just west of Boston Pizza.
From a recreation standpoint, the four new tennis courts at the St. Francis Sports Field are completed and now being used.
Our community may have been knocked down but we didn't wave the white flag and give up. We did what we do best: get back up and soldier on.