Casino among town requests

Duane Hicks

FORT FRANCES—With town council expected to attend the annual conference of the Ontario Good Roads Association/Rural Ontario Municipal Association on Feb. 27-March 2, local delegates are making their wish list of meetings they’d like to have with ministers while there.
One of the topics they want to bring up is having casinos here.
“I think with Ontario going into online gambling or online gaming, it’s taking more money out of the north, northern small communities,” Mayor Avis said at Monday’s budget meeting.
“I think that if they are going to do that, a better approach would be to give border communities a casino,” he argued.
“We’re one of the only border communities in Ontario that does not have a casino,” said Coun. Ken Perry, adding people go over the border to gamble in Minnesota and the only way to stop that is to have something here.
Fort Frances CAO Mark McCaig said he has contacted Northern Development, Mines and Forestry minister Michael Gravelle about the subject, who, in turn, has forwarded the town’s questions and requests to the Ministry of Finance.
“I think it might be advantageous and timely to have a discussion with the minister of finance,” McCaig added.
“You’re talking about something that does kind of lend itself to Fort Frances as a destination,” he stressed. “I think that would be a good delegation question.”
“I spoke to Mike Gravelle after you gentlemen went and talked to him at the last conference, and he said that . . . if we’re ever going to get anything in the way of a casino in Fort Frances, it’s during an election year,” Coun. Perry remarked.
The town also is requesting a meeting regarding assisted living here, which has become an increasingly-popular topic locally.
Coun. Perry noted Rainy River, Dryden, and Kenora recently got funding through the Northwest LIHN.
“Are we missing the boat?” he wondered. “Maybe the funding is there and we just haven’t rapped at the right door or kicked the right door open.”
Other delegation requests will include:
•the status of “Connecting Link” funding which the town hopes to get to reconstruct Scott Street from Reid Avenue to Colonization Road East;
•doctor recruitment;
•bridge lineups and the cost of policing them; and
•infrastructure funding to fix the town’s aging sewer and water system.
(Fort Frances Times)