Food for thought

Dear editor:
There have been many items in the news and the community in recent times, some of which are the new library, a re-designed truck route, the international bridge, and the Fort Frances Clinic.
It all begins with thought.
There is no doubt a library building constructed in 1914 couldn’t fulfill the needs and functions required in 2008, and the next 94 years, therefore all citizens of Fort Frances should support a new facility.
Out on the street, the only question is location. If the main thought in improving our town is to retain our young people, shouldn’t the Sportsplex be left “as is” to accommodate further expansion and fill this anticipated need?
Secondly, the re-working of the truck route at the clinic and hospital will allow industry to infringe further into the downtown prime realty area, as well as detract from the beauty of the Nelson-Church area of lawns and heritage buildings, including our town hall, courthouse, and the many churches.
Re the Fort Frances Clinic, while the existing building has served the town, district, and doctors well in supplying health services, there is no doubt, with all the changes in how care is provided, that a new, modernly-equipped, and more convenient facility would better serve than one a half-century old.
And as for the international bridge, recently the news media advised that our existing bridge is at the end of its practical life. There is talk of the government of the U.S. and Canada being asked to purchase it from the present owner.
There is not any doubt that a bridge built roughly a century ago should be expected to handle today’s traffic—and that of the next 100 years.
Getting back to the library and clinic, the general feeling out on the street is that a new library is supported. There is a very widespread disappointment, however, at the location chosen.
Therefore consider this thought. The town recently served notice of the closure of Sinclair Street from Portage Avenue to Victoria Avenue. Since the closure is now fact, why is Sinclair Street from Victoria Avenue to Armit Avenue required?
If this link is, indeed, redundant, couldn’t the town also close this block? Could this street allowance then become a part of our Riverside Health Care and accommodate a new doctors’ clinic attached to their facility.
Could an “assisted living” complex also be incorporated in the same general area and relieve the pressure on Rainycrest, and make life more independent for many senior citizens just needing assistance to maintain their independence longer?
Now there is a new doctors’ clinic and assisted living complex—a great addition to our community.
The above action, in turn, would make available the area of the former doctors’ clinic and the no longer satisfactory library property. This would be a very acceptable, spacious, quiet location for a new modern library that would keep this area of our downtown the beautiful, easily-accessed area it now is.
I believe that if this became the location of the new library, the “Building for the Future” committee would have no trouble reaching its financial goals.
What a nice addition to our vital downtown area.
Meanwhile, our present truck route dominates some of the best real estate areas, as well as the most beautiful natural asset our town is blessed with. The La Verendrye Parkway will never reach its full potential until the wood yard and truck traffic are removed.
This parkway is much admired by visitors, but not always fully appreciated by the general public. It could be so much more—extending to the Seven Oaks area near the rapids and Ranier bridge!
The proposed downtown changes to the truck route will cause great congestion in the area of the hospital, St. Mary’s Church, and Sister Kennedy Centre.
The proposed route also will allow commercial traffic and industry to infringe further into the downtown area. Therefore, there should be another solution for this problem.
The fact our existing international bridge has reached its life expectancy could be a positive situation. Why would a purchaser be willing to buy a facility that was in danger of being closed for safety reasons.
Could this not be an opportunity to build a new bridge? A beautiful new structure that could be located where the first thing tourists would be exposed to, as they entered Canada, would be the beauty of Rainy River and Rainy Lake.
What an attractive asset these natural beauties would be (which are not now being displayed to incoming visitors).
Now it is understood the present location of the international bridge was chosen to best serve the needs of that era. Think of the changes in the amount of traffic and the needs of transportation in the close to a century that has passed since then! Phenomenal!
Recently, news reports have talked about the plan to build a super highway from Mexico to Canada. The proposed route is said to be U.S. Interstate 35. Can you imagine this intercontinental highway reaching the northern extreme of Interstate 35 at Duluth, Mn., and maybe joining Minnesota Highway 53 and meeting the end of our Great Canadian Main Street.
Incidentally, many local citizens will have noticed that the link to Interstate 35 via Highway 53 has been expanded to four lanes in various areas. It’s difficult to imagine four lanes of traffic being funnelled into our present bridge location.
Now there is a new bridge at a beautiful new location. It should flow onto a new bypass route north of town with an easy choice of Highway 11 east or west. It would have exits to our business area and all existing businesses. It also would access a large expanded industrial site.
It is possible that our town could trade industrial property to our main industry and then entice them to move the wood yard from the La Verendrye Parkway to that site. Could the mill then set up a chipping system at this location and deliver the material to the new biomass boiler via pipes, thus eliminating the need for a serviced truck route and eliminate additional truck traffic downtown.
Could modern technology not supply the wherewithal to chip all the material needed for the mill at this industrial site and further change the need for a downtown truck route?
The bypass then could continue north of the CN tracks and join Highway 11 north of those tracks at the Crozier crossing.
Final thought.
You say it can’t be done. Well, as a child we all heard about the nursery rhyme and the “cow jumped over the moon.”
Well, many of us are adults now and we know that man has walked on the moon. This impossible accomplishment began with thought and happened with commitment.
Kenneth J. Egan
Fort Frances, Ont.