Busy year at fire hall

Duane Hicks

2015 was a busy year for the Fort Frances Fire Department.
Fire Chief Frank Sheppard told council at its regular meeting Monday night that firefighters responded to a total of 559 calls for service last year—301 in the first half and 258 in the second half.
Not all of these calls were for fires.
For example, 100 were medical calls, 11 calls were for property fires/explosions, 18 were false alarms, 12 were rescue calls, and seven were responses to CO alarms.
Other calls ranged from controlled burns to public hazards.
Structural fires in the second half of 2015 equalled an approximate dollar loss of $380,000.
There were no fire deaths here by the end of 2015, noted Chief Sheppard, and only one significant structural fire.
Three fires were incendiary in nature, but an individual was caught and charges laid.
In other news, The Great Canadian Main Street (BIA) board of directors is standing by its financial commitment to the Rainy Lake Market Square project.
In a report from town treasurer Laurie Witherspoon, she confirmed the group of downtown businesses will honour its 2012 commitment of $180,000 towards the project.
This includes:
•$30,000 toward the 2015 demolition;
•$30,000 toward this year’s construction;
•a pledge of $100,000 toward the total project cost at a rate of $10,000/year from 2017-26;
•a 10-year, $10,000 pledge for advertising at a rate of $1,000/year; and
•a 10-year, $10,000 pledge for visual improvements (i.e., plants/planters, murals, banners, sculptures, artwork, etc.) at a rate of $1,000/year.
Town council agreed to the recommendation of the Administration and Finance executive committee, which approves the BIA financial commitment toward the Rainy Lake Hotel Market Square Project, and that an agreement with the BIA be brought forward.
Also at Monday night’s meeting, council:
•agreed to prepare an amending bylaw to reflect a loading/unloading zone in front of 515 Portage Ave. (Suds & Tubs);
•awarded the Sister Kennedy Centre and Children’s Complex janitorial RFP to RAS Maintenance Services, having the lowest bid price for each facility of the submitted proposals, and further that an appropriate bylaw be enacted;
•agreed to approve the submission of the Provincial Child Care Wage Enhancement Grant (deadline March 31).
•agreed to enter into a geospatial data licence agreement with GISbiz, and further that the fees be waived to GISbiz as this firm has been retained by FFPC to complete some advanced GIS work;
•agreed to authorize a donation of $100 to the Rainy River District Music Festival Association’s 76th Festival of the Performing Arts taking place in April;
•approved an expense claim for Fort Frances CAO Mark McCaig in the amount of $654.40 (this is for attendance at the OGRA/ROMA conference in Toronto on Feb. 21-24);
•approved OGRA/ROMA travel expense and per diem claims for Couns. Wendy Brunetta and Ken Perry in the total amounts of $876 and $1,007.45, respectively;
•approved OGRA/ROMA travel expense and per diem claims for Mayor Roy Avis in the total amount of $2,319.38;
•agreed to support the Heart of the Continent Partnership and approve associate partner dues in the amount of $150;
•agreed to receive the 93.1 The Border request for March Break safety tips advertising and that no further action be taken;
•agreed to invite Ian Phillips, Shaw Government Relations manager, to make a presentation at the March 14 council meeting re: Shaw’s Go WiFi opportunity;
•approved various in-kind request for the Boundary Waters Dragon Boat Festival (June 25);
•approved a TBT Engineering request for permission for an MTO contractor to encroach on Mill Road (Highway 11) within town limits to complete some asphalt resurfacing work; and
•approved a report to eventually introduce an appropriately-worded bylaw that will set a service level for the fire department.