The issue of homelessness in Fort Frances will be in front of council tonight.
One of two delegations scheduled for tonight’s regular Town Council Meeting, Jamie Petrin and Peggy Loyie of the Fort Frances Homelessness Committee will be making a presentation to members of council in regards to town representation on the committee.
The committee is responsible for a number of initiatives in the area, including the Out of the Cold Warming Shelter which was operating from the basement of St. John’s Anglican Church this past winter. Part of the presentation will be catching council up to speed on the committees various accomplishments and other activities since its inception in 2017.
“Additionally, we are seeking a member of council to attend our committee meetings in an advisory capacity as our group continues to press forward in addressing homelessness in our area,” Petrin, who serves as co-chair of the committee, wrote in the request to council.
“It is our hope that this partnership will allow our group to continue its work in coordinating services to provide support and solutions to individuals experiencing homelessness.”
At council’s meeting on May 11, the prospect of creating a town committee on homelessness was discussed, with Mayor June Caul asking members of council to think on the issues facing the homeless population in Fort Frances and ask friends and relatives from other communities how they took steps to address their own homelessness issue.
The other presentation being made to council tonight is from La Place Rendez-vous’ Sarah and Paul Noonan in regards to the concept plans for the Shevlin woodyard that were presented to council and the public in late may. In both of the concepts that were presented, which were in turn designed by HTFC Planning and Design, a portion of the land was suggested to be held for a conference centre/hotel space. Both the Noonans and Copper River Inn owner Bryce Campbell have raised concerns with the idea of adding another hotel space in Fort Frances, citing that their annual occupancy rates are not high enough to adequately support the new centre and the existing hotels in town.
In the presentation from HTFC Planning and Design, the consultants noted that the designs that were presented to the town were not necessarily how the final space would look, with any buildings or spaces included on the plan not guaranteed to be implemented.
Another item returning to council tonight is the issue of the Owandem and its storage. At council’s last meeting, they received a letter from the Friends of the Museum and the Museum Advisory Board, asking for the town to store the boat, as the owner of the yard where it is currently stored can no longer store it for free as it is impacting his business. The Friends of the Museum and Museum Advisory Board have stated that they hope to have the Owandem placed next to the Hallet on the riverfront in the future as a permanent display, but are asking the town to move and store the boat on town property until a permanent display area can be realized. In a report prepared for council by Aaron Bisson, the town’s Manager of Recreation and Culture, he recommended that the town move and store the Owandem at the public works yard located in the town’s north end.
Tonight’s regular council meeting will follow the committee of the whole meeting, which gets underway at 5:30 p.m. Go to the town’s website for a link to the Microsoft Teams meeting.
According to the agenda, the public portion of the meeting will be followed by one in-camera item regarding a proposed or pending acquisition or disposition of land by the municipality or local board: Expression of Interest.
Other business on the agenda tonight includes::
• approval of the updated Town Energy Conservation and Demand Management Plan
• a request from Makkinga Contractors to complete additional works
• a consideration to waive Event Rental Fees for the Rainy Lake Square for Local Restaurant and Bar Establishments
• Letter dated June 12, 202 from K. Trimble re: Resignation from Downtown BIA Board
• a by-law to authorize an extension to a license agreement with the Minister of Government and Consumer Services for purposes of leasing storage space at the airport garage
• a by-law to authorize the signing of a collective agreement with the Fort Frances Professional Firefighters Association
• a by-law to authorize the levying and collection of a special charge of taxes upon the Business Improvement Area as provided in the Municipal Act, 2001