Council asked to back forestry committee

A national rep from the Communications Energy and Paperworkers union will speak to council tonight about the town’s support of an all-party committee to address the forestry crisis in Ontario.
CEP rep René Lindquist will be presenting council with a resolution to call on the province to strike such a committee of the Ontario legislature to immediately conduct hearings throughout the province, and specifically, impacted communities.
The draft resolution also notes such a committee be mandated to provide all stakeholders with an opportunity to make presentations.
The resolution, as written up by CEP, is based on the following grounds:
•The forest products industry is the second-largest contributor to Ontario’s balance of trade, recently directly employing 85,000—and many thousands more across the province in supply and service—and contributes $2.3 billion in taxes to all levels of government;
•The Ontario government’s own Ministers Council on Forest Sector Competitiveness recognized the impending crisis in the industry;
•Mill closures and reductions in operations have devastated the sustainability of economies in communities across northern and eastern Ontario, throwing thousands of forestry workers out of work, threatening the employment of teachers, nurses, retail, and civic workers, and driving real estate prices into the ground;
•Any solution to this crisis requires the input and involvement of all the stakeholders; and
•Ontario government all-party committees have served as a vehicle to solicit input and involve the public in finding solutions.
CEP is making similar appeals to municipal councils across Ontario.
Tonight’s council meeting, which was pushed back one day due to the Thanksgiving holiday, is scheduled to start at 6:40 p.m., with the committee of the whole meeting first at 5:30.
Other business at tonight’s meeting will include:
•a request from the Fort Frances Curling Club for a tax write-off;
•reports from the Planning and Development and Administration and Finance divisions regarding school crossing guards;
•a notification from the OPP regarding a new grow operation protocol agreement between police services and municipalities;
•a request from Citizenship and Immigration minister Monte Solberg to proclaim Oct. 16-22, 2006 as “Canada’s Citizenship Week” in the Town of Fort Frances;
•a request from McMillan Binch Mendelsohn regarding a public transport agreement between Rainycrest Home for the Aged and the Town of Fort Frances;
•a request from the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association Regional Recovery Committee for a joint application to the Northern Communities Investment Readiness Fund (NCIR);
•a bylaw to amend Bylaw 10/03 (the Traffic Control Bylaw) to revise parking restrictions on the 200 block of First St. East (switching it back to calendar parking);
•a bylaw to approve an agreement with the Corporation of the Township of Alberton for the provision of temporary Chief Building Official services; and
•a bylaw to authorize the signing of a memorandum of settlement with the Canadian Union of Public Employees Local #65.

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