I agree with Mr. Zeitlhofer in his Letter to the Editor last week, in which he stated that the members of the Legislative Assembly have let us down. The corporate level of the MNRF responsible for the implementation of the Crown Forest Sustainability Act have not been held to account. The representations corporate MNRF made to the Wynne Cabinet to grant the extension of Crossroute SFL to March 2032, was an early step in the process to ensure the wood supply commitments to Resolute would not change in the licencing of Boundary Waters Forest Management Corp.(BWFMC).
Mr. Zeitlhofer did not mention or refer to the responsibilities of our Town Council. Council’s focus should have been on maintaining the financial integrity of the municipality and the well-being of its constituents. The 12 page legal opinion tendered by Gowling on January 28 2019 included a review of the Crossroute SFL expiring March 2022. In May 2019, Councillors McTaggart and Judson received the Crossroute SFL expiring in 2032. However the report recirculated to members of Council two years later still did not include a review of the extended Crossroute SFL.
In February 2021 Councillor McTaggart represented Resolute had surrendered the Crossroute SFL. In October 2021 Resolute confirmed the MNRF had extended the Crossroute SFL to March 2032.
If Gowling had reviewed the Crossroute SFL extended to March 2032 they would have discovered the Order in Council and the representations of corporate MNRF therein. By May 2019 the Crossroute SFL had been extended to 2032 and Resolute had sold the Fort Frances mill to the Numbered Ontario Company set to close in July 2019.
Mayor Caul is the only member of Council that actively tried to help; and has suffered the consequences of doing so. Corporate MNRF extended Resolute’s access to the Crossroute fibre to March 31 2032 without any form of a competitive procurement process for this public asset. I know the mill is gone; I am not “beating a dead horse.” I am looking for financial accountability to restore the economic future of our community. This Council had a significant role in the destruction of the economic future of Fort Frances. A judicial investigation initiated by a majority of Council would restore our confidence in our municipal level of governance.