Watershed program hoping for support from municipalities

The Rainy River Watershed program will need a regular commitment from all district municipalities if environmental initiatives such as the upcoming Household Hazardous Waste Day are to be successful.
Watershed co-ordinator Adam Scott made that pitch to Emo council last Thursday night as the program prepares for the annual Household Hazardous Waste Day ton May 14 in Fort Frances.
In some previous years, collection sites were set up in other district locations, such as Emo and Rainy River. But lately, there only has been the one in Fort Frances.
And Scott fears that could be a disincentive for people to be responsible in disposing of toxic wastes such as paint, thinners, antifreeze, and old batteries.
“We live in a society based on convenience, not in doing the right thing,” he argued.
In order to encourage people to do the right thing, Scott petitioned Emo council to make a regular commitment in the form of funds, advertising, and volunteers to make it easier for people to co-operate.
“I would like to see some participation from every municipality in the district,” he said. “We hoping it continues to be a district-wide program.
“Without the support of all the other municipalities, this event can’t happen,” he stressed.
This year, the Town of Fort Frances is picking up roughly 70 percent of the $25,000 it will cost to provide the site and personnel to oversee the collection and disposal.
Chapple and La Vallee also are making financial contributions.
Emo Coun. Geoff Pearce noted people will be less likely to co-operate if there are any direct, out-of-pocket costs involved, so what Scott is proposing would have to be included in the town’s budget on an annual basis in order to be viable.
Also at last Thursday’s meeting, local Northern Development officer Jane Gillon, with the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines, appraised Emo council on six new programs the provincial government is offering to help promote investment and job creation in the north.
The funding is available to both private- and public-sector endeavours with the goal of creating new jobs and investments in the north. Two of the programs are dedicated primarily to stemming the tide of out-migration by district youths.
“It is focused on keeping youth in the north or bringing them back,” Gillon explained.
Emo council then directed its attention to ongoing matters.
Meanwhile, Roads Superintendent Dan Wilson told council the problem with clogged culverts finally has been resolved as a result of using steam hoses and the recent spell of mild weather.
Wilson previously had reported the culvert issue was considerably worse than it had been in previous years—a situation not confined to Emo.
Reports from other municipalities showed the problem is district-wide, apparently as a result of heavy December rains followed by a quick, hard freeze.
This left many culverts plugged solid—resulting in water flooding roads and low-lying property as the ice melted.
Chief James O’Sullivan of the Emo volunteer fire department informed council the fire season has gotten off to an early start, but that there have been no fires reported in the township to date.
The Emo fire department, however, did assist at a fire in Burriss the previous week.
Chief O’Sullivan also noted there have been “a couple of” motor vehicle accidents in which the Emo fire department rendered assistance.
Also last Thursday, Emo council addressed the outstanding issue regarding traffic lights at the corner of Colonization Road and Queen Street.
Coun. Ken Fisher informed council his petition from other school bus drivers is nearly complete and that he will produce it sometime this week.
Council is still considering a suggestion by Coun. Gary Judson that it investigate installing electronic lights that only will change when someone is trying to exit the parking lot at Cloverleaf Shop Easy.
On a similar note, Emo council also is looking into installing a “yield to right of way” sign at the bottom of Queen Street where it meets Front Street by the Legion.
At least one citizen has expressed concern that southbound traffic turning left on Front Street sometimes fail to notice through traffic approaching from the west.
At one time there was a stop sign at that location, but it was removed because vehicles tended to slide through the intersection in the winter.
In other business last Thursday night, Emo council:
•passed a bylaw declaring the week of May 18-24 as International Building Safety Week;
•agreed to send clerk/treasurer Brenda Cooke to attend an “Enabling Change” workshop in Fort Frances on May 17;
•paid the Rainy River District Social Services Administration Board’s April levy invoice in the amount of $17,187.83;
•paid the Ontario policing services levy invoice in the amount of $10,170; and
•paid the annual levy for the Vet Assistance Trust Fund.
The next regular meeting of Emo council is scheduled for Thursday, May 12 at 7 p.m. at the municipal office.