Pearce resigns from Emo council

Veteran Emo Coun. Geoff Pearce served notice last week he is resigning his seat, citing family commitments.
Emo council received formal notification at its regular meeting last Thursday night.
Coun. Pearce first was appointed to Emo council in November, 2002 to fill the seat left vacant when former councillor Doug Hodge moved to Alberta earlier that year.
Coun. Pearce, along with the entire council, was acclaimed during the last municipal election in November, 2003.
In addition to his seat on council, Coun. Pearce is active in other community endeavours, including the Emo Walleye Classic, the “Biggest Loser” contest, and the Emo Chamber of Commerce.
Emo council will be inviting residents to submit their names as candidates to serve out Coun. Pearce’s term until the municipal elections in November, 2006.
Also at last week’s meeting, OPP S/Sgt. Steve Shouldice addressed council on the status of policing in the district and how pending changes will affect Emo.
S/Sgt. Shouldice, who has been in Rainy River District since 1998, is the acting detachment commander for S/Sgt. Hugh Dennis, who retired earlier in the summer.
The post likely won’t be filled permanently until early in the new year.
Several people are under consideration for the position. “Anybody who is a confirmed staff sergeant after Sept. 30 [2005] is eligible,” S/Sgt. Shouldice said.
Since the district force amalgamated with Atikokan, there currently are 44 constables patrolling the district, along with six sergeants. Nine of those officers are available to Emo.
S/Sgt. Shouldice also said the OPP is trying to bring more of a local focus to policing in the area by encouraging officers to move here and become part of the community.
“Our plan is to get the officers who already live in this area to report to this detachment,” he remarked.
Emo Reeve Russ Fortier noted with the rising costs of policing to the municipality, he hopes there will be an increased police presence, too. His greatest concerns locally are petty crime and speeding.
“We’ve asked for walking patrols and radar,” Reeve Fortier said.
S/Sgt. Shouldice assured council there will be more emphasis on traffic enforcement in the future. And with the integration of the detachments in Fort Frances, Emo, and Rainy River, increased presence also should become apparent soon.
Furthermore, there are changes pending in the shifts officers work to make sure there is some overlap so no area will be without an officer in position to respond at any time.
“Technically, this area will have 24-hour policing,” he stressed.
S/Sgt. Shouldice noted police in the district have had a high performance rating over the past three years, based on public input and provincial statistics.
He said the clearance rate over that period regarding all incidents in which police are involved is 95 percent, compared to the provincial rate of 90 percent.
In incidents regarding property crime, the clearance rate here is 27 percent, compared to 21 percent provincially.
In other business last week, Emo council:
•authorized payment of the July, 2005 policing services levy in the amount of $9,803;
•appointed Scott Mosbeck to the Emo Volunteer Fire Department;
•approved a request from the Emo Health Care Centre to begin pick-up of recyclable materials there by the maintenance department, rather than require the facility to make its own provisions to take the material to the dump or recycling depots (council also is now prepared to accept glass for recycling from all residents);
•agreed to a request from school crossing guard Wendy Rosengren for an increase in her car allowance fee from $100/month to $125/month;
•passed a resolution to make third-quarter payments of $60,219.26 to the Rainy River District School Board and $8,223.88 to the Northwest Catholic District School Board;
•accepted letters of resignation from the Emo-La Vallee Community Centre board from Sandra Drennan and Gerald Wieringa;
•passed a resolution authorizing Reeve Fortier, Coun. Gary Judson, and Clerk Brenda Cooke to attend the general meeting of the Rainy River District Municipal Association taking place Sept. 29 at the Emo-La Vallee Community Centre;
•acknowledged an extension to the deadlines for completion of two ongoing projects under the Canada-Ontario Infrastructure Program (the extensions apply to the Emo Sports Field project, which has been extended to October, 2007, and improvements to the Emo water treatment plant, which have been extended to Dec. 31, 2005);
•supported a resolution from the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration declaring the week of Oct. 17-23 as Citizenship Week in the Township of Emo;
•passed a resolution declaring September to be Arthritis Awareness Month;
•approved a request from the Rainy River District Municipal Association for a contribution to an annual bursary for Northwestern Ontario students attending the Northern Medical School; and
•made a $100 donation to hurricane relief efforts in the United States.
The next regular meeting of Emo council tentatively is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 28 at 7 p.m. at the municipal office.