Council supports improved signage

Town council agreed Monday night, at the request of the Economic Development Advisory Committee and Downtown Core Committee, to pay up to $3,500 for traffic signage to better direct tourists who come to Fort Frances.
Economic development officer Geoff Gillon was on hand for Monday night’s council meeting to make a presentation regarding Phase I of the signage plan.
“The reason we brought it to council is it’s something we’d like to get done in the near future,” said Gillon. “Basically, we’d like to make the downtown part of Fort Frances more user-friendly.”
He outlined a plan which includes:
•signage to indicate to tourists travelling on Second Street East, Scott Street, and Church Street which way to go to get to the waterfront, business district, and highway (this signage should be done in the style of the blue “La Verendrye Parkway” signs that were put up several years ago); and
•signage to designate public parking areas for tourists to encourage them to stop and stay here longer.
Two examples of the latter where signage is needed include the parking lot behind the post office and the one across from the Legion.
Gillon noted there are four signs in the Legion parking lot which state “No parking between 4-6 a.m.” but to the casual observer, they read simply “No parking.”
Since council approved the funding from the economic development budget Monday night, Phase I of the project should be completed in the next month or so.
The EDAC now will be looking to the town for direction on proceeding with the development of Phase II of the signage initiative, which will include, among others, a large “Welcome To Canada” sign at Canada Customs and a “business district” sign looking north on Mowat Avenue.
This phase should be completed within one year, noted Gillon, with the designs and funding in place by this fall and construction starting next spring.
Doug Brown, the town’s manager of Operations and Facilities, noted he recently learned Fort Frances is one of seven border communities in Ontario that should receive some federal and provincial dollars for signage and lights to direct traffic coming off the bridge.
But because the Ministry of Transportation and Transportation Canada weren’t supposed to meet until later this week, Brown didn’t have any more details regarding that funding at this time.
Mayor Dan Onichuk asked Brown whether giving funding to the signage initiative of which Gillon spoke would jeopardize getting further funding from the provincial or federal government, but he replied that it wouldn’t.