Council agrees to go ahead with design studio

Council agreed Monday night to try and get University of Manitoba architecture students to come here in the future and lend their skills to local development projects, such as those in the Downtown Core committee’s report.
A report from Planning and Development Superintendent Rick Hallam said the Planning and Development executive committee met and recommended council to go ahead with a proposal to employ U of M students to undertake a complete design study for the Town of Fort Frances.
By approving that report, council has directed administration to contact the U of M architectural department and request they consider Fort Frances for any future design studios.
Council also approved a maximum of $1,500 be provided from the economic development budget to assist and help defray the costs of the students coming here.
“It’s encouraging. I’m pleased Planning and Development approved it and council has approved it—those steps are behind us now,” said Susan Bodnarchuk, a Downtown Core committee member and “Re-Inventing Fort Frances” representative, who first pitched the idea to the Downtown Core committee back in June.
“I think it’s going to be an exciting exercise,” she added. “Our next step is to make application to the U of M architectural department and put forth our offer and our request and see what their response is.
“It will also give us a little time to explore ways of getting additional funding.
“It’s good we have the go-ahead. Now, we can get started at it,” noted Bodnarchuk.
Tying into the recent Downtown Core report, this initiative hopefully will see the town give U of M architecture students a chance to gain experience and help prepare for their careers while giving Fort Frances the opportunity to receive input and design layouts from future architects at a reasonable cost.
The role of the town would be to set up focus group meetings to enable the architecture students to meet with local stakeholders and groups to gather information.
The students would look for local ideas, opinions, and concerns, and gather historical records, photos, maps, cultural and census data, GIS data, and so on, upon which to base their designs.
They then would take what they gathered, spend some time putting together a report, and eventually turn their recommendations over to council.
These ideas probably would be presented to the public at an open house.
In recent years, the U of M has held similar design studios in Morden, Minnedosa, and Dauphin, Man.
Also at Monday night’s meeting, council:
•approved a $100 pledge to Ed Katona for the Terry Fox Run here;
•approved the write-off of four uncollectable accounts receivable in the amount of $1,735.49;
•approved purchase card expenses for Mayor Dan Onichuk is the amount of $349.42;
•approved travel expenses and per diem claims for Mayor Onichuk in the amount of $1,332.10 and reimbursement in the amount of $932.10;
•approved travel expenses and per diem claims for Coun. Todd Hamilton in the amount of $1,138.92;
•approved travel expenses for CAO Mark McCaig in the amount of $282; and
•received minutes of settlement for 1501 Mill Rd. and Fourth Street West (Plan SM167, Block D, Part Parcel 17378).
(Fort Frances Times)