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Town raises railway concerns

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Railway safety was top of mind at Fort Frances' council meeting last night.

The town passed a Consideration of Resolution respecting Railway Traffic, that states the impact trains have on municipalities, brief history of six derailments since 2013, the recent Emo derailment's effect, community concerns, and railway taxation.

The resolution was sent to CN's president and chairman, local MPP Greg Rickford, Thunder Bay—Rainy River MP Marcus Powlowski, the Rainy River District Municipal Association, area municipalities, Couchiching First Nation, and a handful of ministers.

One of the key issues for council regarding the district's railway system is taxation. It currently doesn't compensate for increasing levels of railway traffic, and the noise pollution they cause, tonnage, and increased risks to communities.

Mayor Caul said the issue has been brought forward in the past at the Rural Ontario Municipal Association, the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, and the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association.

She also recognized the work that previous councillors have done on the past to lobby government regarding railway taxation and said the town will keep the pressure up.

Meanwhile, the Fort Frances Senior Centre Board drafted a report to council, recommending that the facility remain at its current site but be renovated to accommodate ongoing concerns.

Council approved the report at last night's meeting and will move forward with pursuing funding for a renovation at the current location.

Mayor June Caul thanked councillors and the board who was involved in making the decision as they had endured much negative feedback from individuals who falsely assumed a decision to relocate to the daycare was preordained.

Also at last night's meeting, council began with a land acknowledgement for the very first time.

As well, the town recently changed its prayer to a moment of meditation to make it more inclusive for people of all backgrounds.

In other news, the town approved a $7 per capita financial contribution request from the Rainy River Future Development Corporation, totalling $55,685, which will assist their economic diversification project.

Also at last night's meeting, council:

• Heard a presentation from Elaine Fischer, Chris Ducharme and Carey Basaraba of the Fort Frances Community Garden re: water source;

• approved a reccomendation re: Amendment to Waste Management By-law 10/04;

• approved a reccomendation re: Emergency Capital Repair of Memorial Sports Centre Elevator;

• approved a reccomendationre: Renewal of Bearskin and Enterprise Car Rental Annual Lease;

• approved a recommendation re: Amendment to User Fee By-law - Passenger Facility Fees at the Fort Frances Airport;

• approved a reccomendaiton re: Commencement of Comprehensive Services Contract with Honeywell Building Solutions;

• referred a letter from Fort Frances Girls Women's Hockey Association re: Review of Town of Fort Frances Policy Number 2.5 (ice cancellation) to a town committee for recommendation;

• referred a letter from Fort Frances Minor Hockey Association re: Damage in Dressing Room #3 to a town committee for recommendation; and

• approved a by-law to authorize entering into an agreement with Fort Frances Community Clinic with respect to the sale of certain lands

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