Council hoping to work with mill owner on wood yard

Sam Odrowski

Town council is hoping to work with the Riversedge Development’s numbered company, that owns the idle Fort Frances mill, as they work out plans for the Shevlin Wood Yard.

Council hired HTFC Consulting out of Winnipeg in January to determine the best path going forward at the wood yard and hopes they can work with the numbered company as well

“I think it’s important that we work as partners in deciding what might go into that space, how can we make that space a good tourist attraction, and bring in some more businesses possibly,” Mayor Caul noted.

“We want to make it a much better area for people coming in from the United States into Fort Frances and make it more presentable, for a much better look and feel about hitting our town limits.”

Mayor Caul said that since the 90 day window to find a new mill operator closed at the start of the year, council has heard very little from its owner but once they begin requesting demolition permits, councils will know more about what they’re taking down.

Meanwhile, Rainy River First Nation partnered with Riversedge Developments in early August of last year to explore different opportunities at the mill site.

Chief Robin McGinnis said they’re still exploring the feasibility of a casino/hotel/event centre or cannabis growing operation that also cultivates vegetables, although other options are being explored as well.

He told the Times nothing is concrete yet but they are doing their due diligence to ensure the mill property is of the highest and best use for the community and district.

An initial economic study has been conducted to determine how much revenue can be generated from the region’s population.

No other studies have taken place yet, as plans for the mill’s future are still being determined.