Council approves boiler rezoning Also OKs 2% sewer, water rate increase

FORT FRANCES—With local mill management slated to meet with Abitibi-Consolidated’s board of directors Tuesday for funding approval of the proposed $84.3-million bio-mass boiler project, council on Friday approved applications to amend the town’s official plan and a zoning bylaw to permit such a facility to be built.
“I’m glad to see council passed the bylaws so that there’s no obstacles for Abitibi to jump over if we were to get that bio-mass boiler,” Mayor Roy Avis said after Friday’s special meeting, adding the town has had a “positive” working relationship with the company regarding this matter.
Specifically, the amendment to the official plan was to re-designate the subject lands—specifically property located south of Nelson Street between Victoria Avenue and Veteran Avenue—from “recreation area” and “living area” to “working area.”
The amendment to the zoning bylaw was to rezone those lands from “residential type three” and “open space” to “heavy industrial-exception one.”
Friday’s vote was a follow-up to a public meeting Thursday evening, at which time mill management made a presentation to council explaining the need for the proposed bio-mass boiler.
At that time, municipal planner Faye Flatt noted she had conducted a technical review of the applications and noted “there appears to be no issues of concern that have not been addressed and the applications can be supported.”
As well, no one from the public spoke against the amendments at that meeting.
Flatt explained last week that while the amendments have been approved by council, they now will be forwarded to various provincial ministries, such as Transportation, Environment, and Municipal Affairs and Housing, for input and final approval.
According to a timeline set out by Abitibi at its bio-mass boiler presentation, mill management is hoping to get this provincial approval by June.
Sewer, water
rate increase
Also at Friday’s special meeting, town council approved a two percent rate increase to sewer and water rates for 2007.
Operations and Facilities manager Doug Brown noted this translate to a jump of $14.16 for the average residential customer and $19.32 for flat rate commercial.
For metered commercial customers which use over 55 cubic metres a month, the new rate will mean an additional three cents per cubic metre of water used.
The rate increases are retroactive to Jan. 1, 2007, and customers should see their first bill this week for the months of January and February.