Council puts brakes on skate park application

Community Services manager George Bell on Monday night brought forward for council’s approval an application for Trillium funding for the proposed skate park here with the intention of sending it off with their blessing.
But instead, council asked him not to drop it in the mailbox quite yet. The reason for holding off was a question of liability and incidence of injury.
“I think we have to discuss things with the Kiwanis,” said Coun. Neil Kabel, who was acting as deputy mayor at Monday night’s meeting as Mayor Dan Onichuk is in Toronto, along with Coun. Tannis Drysdale, to attend the combined conference of the Rural Ontario Municipal Association and Ontario Good Roads Association.
“There are some liability concerns when it comes to a concrete skate park,” Coun. Kabel added, noting the pros and cons of a modular skate park, with ramps and rails as opposed to a large, concrete bowl.
He said the town should ask Bruce Armstrong of Gillons’ Insurance for his advice on the issue.
“I would like to meet with the Kiwanis and see what kind of park they want built,” said Coun. Roy Avis, adding council should hold off on approving the grant application for now.
“If there’s a concern I have, it’s liability,” echoed Coun. Rick Wiedenhoeft.
“If we’re going to meet with the Kiwanis, and make any changes, I would suggest we do it quickly if we’re going to be on-line for this summer,” stressed Bell.
The skate park committee will be invited to discuss the issue during a special committee of the whole meeting next Monday (March 1) at 4 p.m. at the Civic Centre.
The Trillium application is for up to $75,000, but Bell noted it’s unlikely the project would get that entire sum. The cost of the skate park is estimated at $300,000.
About $135,000 has been raised locally thus far.
Bell noted to councillors that town staff will be responsible for maintenance at the skate park, but that this will consist of small jobs like emptying garbage cans there.
He also stressed that a condition of the Trillium application is that the plans for the skate park—proposed to be built at Second Street East and Reid Avenue (adjacent to the Memorial Sports Centre)—must not result in any reduction to parking in that area.
Also at Monday night’s meeting, council:
•referred a request from the Rainy River Future Development Corp. for financial support in the amount of $8,215 to its “Gateway to Canada” project to the Administration and Finance executive committee for a recommendation;
•received a presentation by Jeff Trudeau of American Water Services Canada Corp. regarding the 2003 annual report for the Fort Frances waste water treatment plant (the report showed the plant was in full compliance with effluent limits);
•heard a presentation from tax collector Ed Katona regarding an assessment appeal at 1220 Strachan Place (this was to bring to the town’s attention that the taxpayer in question, Ed Kaun, and the Municipal Property Assessment Corp. had arrived at a negotiated assessment figure of $1,104,000, of which council approved);
•heard a verbal update from Coun. Struchan Gilson regarding a recent ride on patrol with Fort Frances OPP Cst. Greg Beazley;
•referred a letter from Dr. Tom Cousineau regarding parking concerns to the Planning and Development executive committee for a recommendation;
•approved a request from the Canadian Red Cross to proclaim March as “Red Cross Month” in the Town of Fort Frances;
•approved a request from the Kidney Foundation of Canada to proclaim March as “Kidney Month” in the Town of Fort Frances;
•referred a request from the Economic Development Advisory Committee for support of its resolution regarding the Realty Tax Increment Equivalent Grant to the Administration and Finance executive committee for a recommendation;
•referred a request for financial support from the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association for its annual general meeting April 28-May, 2004 to the Administration and Finance executive committee for a recommendation;
•agreed to support the Township of Alberton in its resolution regarding the construction for a federal standard abattoir in Rainy River District;
•passed a bylaw to approve an agreement with DataFix for web hosting services for the purposes of Municipal VoterView application for purposes of maintaining the voters’ list in preparation for the 2006 municipal election; and
•passed a bylaw to designate Mayor Dan Onichuk as the head of the municipality for the purposes of the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
(Fort Frances Daily Bulletin)