Emo council invites Martin for a visit

Emo Reeve Russ Fortier has extended an invitation to Prime Minister Paul Martin to drop in for a coffee shop chat before he calls an election widely expected by this spring.
At its regular meeting March 4, Reeve Fortier asked council for permission to draft a letter inviting Martin to come to Emo and hear what the citizens of Northwestern Ontario have on their minds going into the election.
“I’m sure people will want to talk about BSE, health care, and trade issues,” Reeve Fortier remarked. “I understand the prime minister did this already in Smiths Falls, so why not come here to the best town in Northwestern Ontario, too?”
Council approved the idea and sent the invitation out earlier this week. There is no word yet as to whether it has been accepted.
Also last Thursday, Clerk Brenda Cooke reported the township’s emergency management plan is well underway and will be ready to implement by the end of the year—as is required by provincial legislation.
Cooke also presented a letter from Monika Galloway requesting that Emo council agree to jointly sponsor fireworks in conjunction with the Borderland Racing Association on Friday, July 2 instead of Thursday, July 1.
The weekend will be part of Family Fun Night at the Emo fairgrounds.
Coun. Ken Fisher pointed out the fairgrounds site is superior to the waterfront for a fireworks display for safety reasons and council approved the request.
Public Works Superintendent Dan Wilson reported there have been some minor mechanical problems with the township’s grader, but he was able to fix them without requiring any additional monies apart from those set aside for such contingencies.
He also presented a request on behalf of Emo Fire Chief James O’Sullivan for a cell phone.
Coun. Geoff Pearce instead suggested that a bag phone with roaming capability be permanently assigned to the fire truck so that whoever is with the vehicle can be reached or call out from anywhere within the township.
Coun. Pearce noted there are areas in the north end of the district where normal cell phone reception can be unreliable. He also offered to personally look into the matter to find the most reliable and cost-effective solution.
Council agreed to leave the matter in Coun. Pearce’s hands.
Reeve Fortier, who is the district’s rep to the Northern Ontario Municipal Association, informed council he wished to bring several matters to NOMA’s attention at the next meeting March 12.
First, he proposed to advise NOMA to oppose any attempt by the Northwestern Health Unit to appeal the recent decision by the Health Services Review Appeal Board that the health unit did not have the right to enforce a smoking ban in all enclosed public places.
“Enough money has been spent on this,” said Reeve Fortier. “The province is going to act on it anyway, so leave it to them.”
Reeve Fortier also told council he reluctantly recommends Emo pay the levy payment to the Rainy River District Services Administration Board on a one-time basis.
He said the increase will be one percent, but is unavoidable until such time as the province agrees to take over responsibility for the land ambulance portion, which he said accounts for $4 million of the $11-million DSSAB budget for the district.
That, too, he will raise at the NOMA meeting, Reeve Fortier said.
Council consented to the proposals.
In other business last Thursday, council:
•approved a request from the Emo Walleye Classic committee to rent the Emo-La Vallee Community Centre and to declare the tournament, scheduled for May 27-29, to be a community event;
•endorsed a resolution from the Township of Alberton strongly recommending the construction of a federal-standard abattoir in Rainy River District (Reeve Fortier told council two-thirds of the financing for the project—funds raised locally and a Trillium Foundation grant—already is in place and FedNor’s contribution should be forthcoming shortly);
•agreed to support the Rainy River First Nations Watershed Program and make a contribution to the “Adopt-A-River” program;
•agreed to a request from the Kenora-Rainy River District Palliative Care Volunteer Program to have the Township of Emo declare May 3-9, 2004 as National Hospice Palliative Care Week;
•tabled a request from the Rainy River Future Development Corp. to make a contribution of $8,215 to the “Gateway to Canada” project in Fort Frances until the matter has been studied further; and
•approved a request from the Canadian Red Cross proclaiming March, 2004 as Red Cross Month in Emo.
Emo council’s next regular meeting is scheduled for Thursday, March 25 at 7 p.m. at the municipal office.