On Wednesday January 12, 2022, I was able to hear some of the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) hearing regarding rezoning of the property at 850 5th Street East (formerly St. Michael’s School) and concerns over the plans that the Social Services Board have for it. Unfortunately, I could not listen to the whole conversation as I was at work.
However, from that meeting, this is what I understand:
- The frontage for that property is on Frenette Avenue, therefore the zoning for the project does not concur with by-laws. However, they will “just change the by-laws.”
- There is no official plan (with dimensions etc), the plan has only been eyeballed and “looks good.”
- There is insufficient parking as per by-laws in the plan. Therefore 5th Street will now need to be used for parking, causing congestion and maintenance problems for residents and for the town i.e. snow removal, garbage pick up, and safety issues around parked cars. Etc.
- There is already a forethought by DSSAB (based on the fact that they have contingency plans) that there may be a problem with needles and drug paraphernalia and the solution would be to move the children’s space.
- The decision made by town council to approve the rezoning was hasty and did not consider the people’s opinion to which they serve.
- 5th Street East residents already have water problems due to insufficient infrastructure.
- No other “low income housing” properties, as it was called by Mr. McCormick (DSSAB CAO) in the meeting, look down into backyards of other residents.
- Expanding the Phair Avenue Park instead of preserving Knights of Columbus Park and the green space ease of St. Michael’s School doesn’t make sense. Phair Avenue Park is a dangerous place due to the proximity to the train tracks. The trains also make very loud noises and the removal of the trees will also remove the barrier to the noises for the park and nearby residents.
- It will be the taxpayers’ responsibility to pay for this project as our taxes support DSSAB.
- If you want to integrate “lower income earners,” (again, not my words but as called in the meeting) do not build a specific area that accentuates differences. Rather, buy homes around the town, integrating all income earners.
- Removing another green space from the Town of Fort Frances is not in the best interest of its taxpayers. The park is used daily by families living near and far from it.
It seems to me that something is amiss here and I encourage the town and the DSSAB board to reconsider their plans based on the concerns of its tax payers.