Council backing ‘One Call’

Duane Hicks

Town council is throwing its support behind the Ontario One Call Act, which, if passed, would establish a not-for-profit, single point-of-contact call centre for all underground utility location services in Ontario.
The Ontario One Call Act currently is before the provincial legislature, with the government seeking input from those with an interest in Ontario One Call, noted Luke Skaarup, local utility services and construction manager for Union Gas.
He approached council at last night’s regular meeting on behalf of the Ontario Regional Common Ground Alliance, a non-profit organization dedicated to shared responsibility in damage prevention and in the promotion of damage prevention best practices.
The town signed up with Ontario One Call last year, so Skaarup asked the town to provide its experiences and the benefits it may have realized from it.
Ontario One Call, which was established in 1996, enables property owners planning to dig only to have to make one phone call to obtain all contact information for all utilities located in the community.
All they will have to do is make one telephone call to 1-800-400-2255.
Skaarup said the act will make it mandatory for all 450 infrastructure owners in Ontario to share their information, so it will be easier for contractors and the public to look for information on utility locations prior to performing any
excavation work.
“I think it’s a good opportunity for public safety in the province of Ontario,” he reasoned.
“A step forward for something that’s going to help make it easier for the public and contractors to make sure that they get their locates and they can dig safely.
“That’s especially important in our area, given the infrastructure that’s in the ground,” Skaarup stressed.
“Seventy percent of the damages we have are because nobody calls in the first place.”
Coun. Ken Perry said he has used Ontario One Call many times and it works.
Operations and Facilities manager Doug Brown said the community has benefitted because they have one number to call before they dig.
And the town has benefitted because it can get fast, accurate information about who needs locates and where.
Council agreed to submit a letter relating its experiences with Ontario One Call.
Also at last night’s meeting, council:
•referred a donation request from the Fort Frances High School “chem-free” grad committee, re: the 2012 “chem-free” grad party on June 21, to the Administration and Finance executive committee for its recommendation;
•received a letter of resignation from Peggy Loyie from the Fort Frances Public Library Board, effective immediately;
•approved a request from the Rainy River District Victim Services Program to proclaim April 22-28 as “National Victims of Crime Awareness Week” in the Town of Fort Frances;
•passed a bylaw to approve a funding agreement with the provincial Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services under the Court Security Prisoner Transportation Program;
•passed a bylaw to authorize capping parameters for commercial, industrial, and multi-residential capped property classes, and to establish a minimum tax level for certain eligible properties; and
•received an invitation from the local Salvation Army to attend its annual volunteer appreciation dinner April 27.