Debt of gratitude

Fort Frances said good-bye this week to a combined 70 years of municipal experience in Mayor Roy Avis, who is closing the book on 21 years at the council table just himself, and Couns. John Albanese, Doug Kitowski, Ken Perry, and Paul Ryan when the current town council held its final meeting Monday night at the Civic Centre.
Residents certainly owe a huge debt of gratitude for the many, many hours these five have put in over their years of commitment to making Fort Frances the best community possible, not to mention all their personal sacrifices along the way and having been the target of ire from those who didn’t agree with their decisions.
To be sure, they deserve kudos for all the projects they have initiated and overseen for the betterment of Fort Frances during their time in office, and especially the hard work involved to ensure the town is in solid shape financially.
Most people only see council at work during the regular meetings that usually are held on the second and fourth Monday of the month (except during July and August, when just one is held). In reality, as the incoming council learned during some 16 hours of orientation held over three days last week, councillors each sit on two executive committees that meet on the first and third weeks of the month, as well as on several other boards and committees, many of which meet on a monthly basis.
Then, of course, there’s all the public appearances that councillors–and particularly the mayor–are asked to make over the year, whether it’s cutting the ribbon for a new business opening its doors here, spending the night on Scott Street to raise awareness on the issue of homelessness, or dropping the puck at the opening ceremonies of a local hockey tournament.
In a nutshell, it’s a daunting time commitment. Yet Fort Frances has been very fortunate in that people like Mayor Avis and the four outgoing councillors are willing to take on the challenge of leading our community boldly into the future.
We thank them for their exemplary service and for laying the solid groundwork for the new council that will take over the baton when it is sworn in this coming Monday (Dec. 3).