Sidewalk sought to address issue of student safety
The Fort Frances Traffic Safety Committee is asking town council to construct a sidewalk on Keating Avenue between J.W. Walker School and First Street West.
In a written submission received by council at its public budget meeting Monday night, OPP Cst. Anne McCoy noted the “Kiss ’N Ride” program was launched earlier this month to reduce identified pedestrian/traffic concerns at three local schools and has been working well.
“Currently, children are walking to and from school along the Keating Avenue corridor,” Cst. McCoy wrote. “[They] are walking along the grass area on the west side of Keating Avenue residences to stay off the roadway.
“But come winter, we will have snowbanks in that area, which we anticipate will move the children onto the roadway,” she warned.
“As much as we will continue to work with our partners to address the snow removal situation, and we’ll try to ensure the banks are pushed down or removed, there will always be some form of a snowbank during the winter months and safety, accessibility, and a lack of a level surface will remain a concern unless there is a sidewalk,” she stressed.
The town is urged to continue discussions with the Traffic Safety Committee so together they can look at ways to reduce costs prior to making a decision on the matter in the 2014 budget process, Cst. McCoy noted.
Local resident Al Christiansen, meanwhile, wrote to council asking it to consider including tennis courts in the 2014 municipal budget.
Christiansen, who represents a group of local tennis enthusiasts, said he has lived in Fort Frances most his life and been able to enjoy playing tennis here for most of those years.
But the tennis courts that had been adjacent to the Memorial Sports Centre fell into disrepair, then later declared redundant when planning began for the new library.
“Tennis is a lifelong sport that appeals to a wide range of ages,” Christiansen wrote.
“I feel that it is a community service that Fort Frances no longer offers its citizens that many other, much smaller communities in Northwestern Ontario and around the world do.
“When one considers how we attract new people to our community, including doctors, the first things mentioned are the waterfront walking path, gorgeous lake, two ice surfaces, new schools, new library, two golf courses nearby, and other wonderful attributes of our town,” Christiansen added.
“It would be great if we would be able to also boast about our new tennis courts to further attract outsiders.”
Christiansen also said new courts would be of “tremendous benefit to our school programs, [which] would be able to offer it through physical education.”
“I recall for many years when the high school would bus classes to our courts as a component of their program,” he noted.
“I also recall when the summer program kids with the town would benefit from time on the tennis courts as I volunteered in a coaching/teaching capacity.”
Christiansen added he recalls the town and public school board at one time were engaged to pursue tennis courts as a joint effort.
In related news, the Fort Frances “Meals on Wheels” program asked for its annual operating grant from town council Monday night.
The program is asking for $19,000.
This is an increase of $500 over last year’s grant to cover wage increases and employer contributions.