A look at Town Council this week

It will be a busy week in Fort Frances Town Council, with several committee meetings and a Special Council Meeting on the agenda.

This morning, both the Planning and Development Executive Committee and the Community Services Executive Committee met. Coming over the next few days will be an Administration and Finance Executive Committee, scheduled for Tuesday, May 2 at noon, and Operations and Facilities Executive Committee and Economic Development Executive Committee, both scheduled for May 3, followed by a Special Council meeting, which will be held May 4.


May 4, 5:30 p.m. Council Chambers

This meeting can be attended in person or virtually

Microsoft Teams Meeting ID:

246 600 121 751

passcode: pFhXSv

or by phone 1-807-701-5975

ID:470 577 689#

According to the meeting agenda, the purpose of the Special Meeting is to discuss any revisions that may be required as part of a proposed update to the Town’s Official Plan, as documented in the Community Background Report. Any person may attend the Special Meeting of Council and make a verbal representation regarding revisions to the Town’s Official Plan. A presentation will be made by Gregory Bender, WSP Project Manager and Jill MacDonald, WSP Project Planner. They have been contracted by the Town to update the Town’s Official Plan – a provincially mandated process – to reflect the updated desires, values and needs of the community. The public is free to comment during the meeting. The presentation is available for viewing at fortfrances.civicweb.net/portal/, by following the link to the meeting agenda from the list on the right hand of the page.


May 2, noon at the Civic Centre

This meeting can be attended virtually or in person

Microsoft Teams Meeting ID: 287 114 799 516

Passcode: s9eE6m

or by phone 1-807-701-5988

ID: 173 270 415#

Video Surveillance Policy

Surveillance cameras are being installed throughout the downtown core, which compels the Town to create a “robust written policy with respect to its use of Video Surveillance Systems and Video Surveillance Records.” The report also advises that Council prepare a by-law authorizing the Mayor and Clerk to execute a Memorandum of Agreement, through the Crown and the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services to allow the Ontario Provincial Police to operate the cameras on behalf of the Town. The agreement is required to facilitate the Town’s obligations to increase OPP access to Video Surveillance Records as part of the Ontario CCTV Grant Program. Signage will also be installed throughout town to inform pedestrians that the cameras are in operation. For more information on the Town’s video surveillance program, which is known as the Safe Streets Program, visit www.fortfrances.ca/safestreets.

Employee Recognition

The committee will examine a draft Employee Appreciation/ Recognition and Expression of Care Policy, which aims to create a culture of meaningful employee engagement. A previous policy didn’t have formal recognition for employees with less than 25 years of service. A proposed re-vamp to the policy would allow for recognition in 5-year increments, as well as peer recognition, and awards for Leadership, Customer Service, Innovative Solutions, and Teamwork, among others.

Volunteer Recognition Policy

The committee will examine a proposed Volunteer Recognition Policy, which aims to celebrate and reward the work done by volunteers in Fort Frances. The proposed policy suggests an annual volunteer recognition event each spring, during which local volunteers can be celebrated, and the Citizen of the Year award will be presented. Awards would also be open for nomination to be presented to members of volunteer boards and committee members serving of Commissions and/or Advisory committees, appointed by council, and from volunteers with community groups throughout the community. The event would be funded through the Operations Budget.

Both of today’s meetings took place after our press deadline, but the following are some of the items up for debate


May 1 – 8:30 a.m.

No Mow May

On the agenda was an administrative report in support of Council adopting No Mow May. The suggestion was presented by Chelsea Creig, Executive Assistant for the Gizhewaadiziwin Health Access Centre. No Mow May is an international grass-roots movement (no pun intended) to encourage homeowners to leave their lawnmowers in the shed for May. That allows local bee populations to emerge from hibernation and gives early wildflowers, such as dandelions, time to bloom. These early flowers are a vital food source for bees, before most other food supplies are available. Town staff recommended that the Committee accept Creig’s presentation, and declare “No Mow May” in the town of Fort Frances. A similar presentation was made to council in 2020 by Dryden bee advocate Reagan Breeze. The Council of the time supported Breeze’s initiatives, and declared April and May Honey Bee Appreciation Months. By-law does not issue tickets for long grass during these months in support of this initiative; May is early in the growing season, so there is no strategic impact by supporting the initiative. Enactment of the proposal requires council approval.

Site Plan Control By-law

Also on the agenda was a proposed Site Plan Control By-Law. The proposed by-law governs how the town evaluates and controls certain landscape elements, such as parking areas, site grading, stormwater management, landscaping and others, in commercial and multi-residential developments. The by-law would encompass the entire town, and would give the Chief Building Official or Municipal Planner the authority to approve plans and drawings associated with Site Plan applications. The intent of the bylaw is “to mitigate the preparation of a partially exhaustive list of developments what will require a SPCA, which could result in additional time delays should a specific development application come forward that falls outside the scope of those indicated in a list.”

According to the report, “Authorizing the Chief Administrative Officer and the Municipal Clerk as signing authorities for Site Plan Control Agreements will reduce administrative turnaround times, mitigate perceived red tape, and expediate development.”

If approved for recommendation, the draft by-law will go before council at a later date.


May 1 2023 10:30 a.m.

Recreation Master Plan

The Community Services Executive Committee was scheduled to consider a proposal to rescope and re-post a Request for Proposals for the Town’s Recreation Master Plan.

A RFP was issued in March, seeking a consulting firm to complete a comprehensive Recreation Master Plan for the Town of Fort Frances. The Town received three submissions by the March 28 deadline. However, none of the submissions captured all of the desired outcomes, leading staff to recommend that the RFP not be granted at this time. Instead, they are requesting that council allow them to review, re-scope and re-post the RFP.

“This particular plan is critical to the future direction of recreation within the community, and it is incumbent upon us to ensure that we are as thorough as possible in our approach,” said the report.