Emo weighing long-term plan for road maintenance

The Township of Emo is giving serious consideration to formulating a long-term plan for road maintenance, Emo Reeve Russ Fortier revealed at last Thursday night’s council meeting.
Reeve Fortier was responding to concerns from residents Tony and Michelle Marinaro, who told Emo council that certain roads in the north end of the township are in need of patching and crowning.
Reeve Fortier told the couple that council is aware of the situation and is working on a plan to deal with all the roads in the township, instead of merely attacking the problem piecemeal.
“We’re looking at a four- to five-year plan because it takes that long to do all the roads,” he explained.
Of particular concern, said Reeve Fortier, is Off Lake Road, which forms the boundary between Emo and Chapple townships. That road also sees a great deal of traffic between the village and Off Lake and Clearwater Lake.
“One of the biggest costs is Off Lake Road,” the reeve remarked. “It takes up 20 percent of our total road budget.
“The more we fix it up, the faster people drive and the faster it breaks down,” he added.
Another topic that received considerable attention at last Thursday’s council meeting was the state of the township’s landfill site.
After meeting with an official from the Ministry of the Environment, Emo’s Public Works superintendent Dan Wilson told council the site currently is three-fifths full.
And unless the township takes measures to radically increase the amount of recycling, the site could be full before another one is selected and approved, he warned.
The solution, said Wilson, might be to improve and extend the “Blue Box” program to include more recyclable items and to make the process easier for the public to get involved.
Coun. Geoff Pearce agreed. “People say to me, ‘Make it easier and we’ll do it,’” he remarked.
He noted the biggest problem at the landfill site is styrofoam because it doesn’t break down and it cannot be recycled.
Coun. Pearce also suggested the township establish a facility for composting organic matter to further reduce the amount of recyclable material that’s currently finding its way into the landfill.
He noted there are indications from the province that it is just a matter of time before there will be a ban on all organic waste at landfills. “It means there’s going to be a change in the way we do things,” he stressed.
Coun. Pearce suggested establishing separate bins at the dump, in which people can place materials such as cardboard, plastic, and glass once they have been separated from other wastes.
He even hinted it could be worth it to the township to hire someone to supervise the landfill and assure things are put in the proper place.
In other business last week, Emo council:
•passed a resolution to approve a monthly payment of $4,837.50 to the Northwestern Health Unit;
•approved a policy from the Frank Cowan Company regarding the 2004 Municipal Insurance Program with a premium of $15,196;
•passed a resolution accepting a grant from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund to be put toward upgrades of Emo’s water treatment plant (combined with the township’s contribution of $33,871 and other government grants, the total raised now stands at more than $203,000);
•approved two requests from the 2004 Emo Walleye Classic organizing committee requesting authorization to block off portions of Front Street during the parade of boats and to send attend the parade on May 27;
•donated $250 to the Salvation Army;
•donated $50 to the Rainy River Valley Giant Pumpkin Festival; and
•accepted an invitation to attend the Town of Rainy River’s centennial celebration July 31.
The next regular meeting of Emo council is slated for Thursday, May 27 at 7 p.m. in the municipal office.