Council votes to upgrade A/V system

FORT FRANCES—In an effort to better serve the television viewing public, town council agreed Monday night to upgrade the audio and video system at the Civic Centre for broadcasts on Shaw Cable (Channel 10).
The $6,000 upgrades not only will enhance the sound system in Council Chambers, but provide video and audio feed to the committee room downstairs.
While there have been ongoing public complaints regarding the audio quality during council meetings, the decision to run a video feed downstairs was prompted by council discussions to move the committee of the whole from Council Chambers to the room downstairs (formally known as the “committee room.”)
These meetings would continue to be broadcast on Channel 10 before each council meeting.
Council had used the room downstairs for committee of the whole meetings for many years, but the last council had opted to move those meetings upstairs to Council Chambers.
That way, both committee of the whole and regular council meetings would take place in the same room.
Coun. Rick Wiedenhoeft, who voted against the upgrades, noted that while he had no qualms during initial discussions about moving the committee of the whole meetings back downstairs, he didn’t know it would cost so much.
“$6,000 could be better spent on other things,” he said Monday night. “I think committee of the whole in these chambers works quite well.
“I don’t think $6,000 is necessary to spend for that subtle change.”
But Coun. Paul Ryan mentioned only $1,800 is being used for the video feed, with the other two-thirds of the expenditure going to audio upgrades—the latter being what the public most often has complained about.
“We should concentrate on improving the quality of the sound system,” echoed Coun. John Albanese.
Coun. Sharon Tibbs noted that, up until the last council, committee of the whole meetings always had been held in the room downstairs, and felt it to be a better location for the meetings “when all the discussion takes place.”
She added the arrangement of the committee room makes meetings there “feel like a group having a roundtable discussion.”
Council ended up voting in favour of the video and audio upgrades 4-1, with Couns. Ryan, Tibbs, Albanese, and Andrew Hallikas for it and Coun. Wiedenhoeft against (Coun. Tannis Drysdale did not vote as she was acting mayor).
Also at Monday night’s meeting, council:
•referred a financial request from the Fort Frances Aquanauts Swim Team regarding a reduction in pool rates to the Community Services executive committee for its recommendation;
•referred a financial request from Fort Frances High School to place an ad in the 2007 yearbook to the Administration and Finance executive committee for its recommendation;
•referred a financial request from Brown Cow Promotions to advertise in the Fort Frances and District Spring Visitors’ Guide to the Administration and Finance executive committee for its recommendation;
•referred a financial request from Crescive Corp. regarding a skills and trades expo here May 17 to the Administration and Finance executive committee for its recommendation; and
•approved a request from the Kidney Foundation of Canada to proclaim March as “Kidney Month” in the Town of Fort Frances.
(Fort Frances Daily Bulletin)