Council shoots down Mountie banner Ends up choosing waterfront scene

The Mountie: symbol of Canada, a piece of our history, an inspiration for a cartoon character. And Monday night, a bone of contention for town council.
In a 3-2 vote, council nixed a recommendation from the Economic Development Advisory Committee that the town choose the image of a Mountie as its banner for the “gateway” project at the international bridge.
“How does that [the Mountie image] represent Fort Frances, other than the street [behind the Mountie in the graphic]?” Coun. Neil Kabel asked at Monday night’s council meeting.
“We’ve got a wonderful waterfront. Why wouldn’t we put that on a banner, rather than an RCMP that we don’t even have here any more,” he noted, adding a picture of the downtown area would be another suitable choice.
Coun. Struchan Gilson noted the EDAC looked over 18 different images and spent a lot of time trying to determine which ones would be best suited to represent Fort Frances on a banner.
He said the committee finally decided on the Mountie, as it was colourful, and stood out as being different than any of the other banners chosen by other communities.
Fort Frances CAO Mark McCaig noted some images looked better on a piece of paper than a large banner, and this had to be a factor when deciding on a banner.
“This is the same thing that went on with the [Economic Development Advisory] committee,” exclaimed Coun. Gilson, referring to the clashing of opinions.
Mayor Dan Onichuk said some decision had to be made soon, noting the images for the banners were supposed to have been chosen early this summer, and the banners already made and hanging at the border.
At this rate, they won’t be in place until November.
Council took a vote on the Mountie image and rejected it by a 3-2 margin, with Mayor Onichuk and Couns. Kabel and Rick Wiedenhoeft against it while Couns. Gilson and Roy Avis were in favour of it.
Coun. Tannis Drysdale had to declare a conflict of interest because she was involved as a consultant in the “gateway” project.
Due to the urgency in deciding what to do about the banner, council also agreed to further discuss the 18 possible images behind closed doors following its regular meeting.
Clerk Glenn Treftlin reported Tuesday morning that council informally voted in favour of a scene showing off the waterfront here. This would be referred back to EDAC, which, in turn, will see the image be put on a banner.
Also at last night’s meeting, council:
•passed a bylaw to assume, stop up, and close the lane abutting the west side of 1022 Third St. E.;
•referred a request from John Ossachuk regarding the construction of a portable storage building on property next to 928 Shevlin Ave. to the Planning and Development executive committee for a recommendation;
•referred a request from Pastor Stephen J. Laing for consideration of alternate options regarding a site plan agreement for a new church to the Administration and Finance and Operations and Facilities executive committees for a recommendation, with input from the Planning and Development executive committee;
•approved a recommendation from the Economic Development Advisory Committee that the Rainy River Future Development Corp. investigate updating websites for the purposes of marketing Fort Frances;
•agreed to proclaim Oct. 27 as “Child Care Worker and Early Childhood Educator Appreciation Day” as per the joint request from the Canadian Union of Public Employees and the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care; and
•agreed to a request from Family and Children’s Services to proclaim October as “Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Month.”

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