First ASB planning meeting set

The Town of Fort Frances will meet with representatives from other district municipalities next month to discuss the viability of forming an Area Services Board (ASB).
CAO Bill Naturkach said at Monday night’s council meeting here that he’s arranged a meeting for a working group with the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines after Fort Frances, Rainy River, Lake of the Woods, Dawson, Chapple, Emo, and La Vallee all passed resolutions to explore an ASB—with Fort Frances as the host community—in recent months.
Business for the first meeting, which will be held March 12 at 6:30 p.m. in the committee room at the Civic Centre, will include an election of a chair and vice-chair, and the appointment of a secretary-treasurer.
Each municipality will have one representative, with Coun. Dave Bourgeault being chosen as the one for the Fort Frances because he already sits on the District Social Services Administrative Board (DSSAB).
Esther Taylor-Smith, ASB co-ordinator for the Northern Services Implementation Project, will be on hand to lend assistance.
While such issues won’t necessarily be resolved at the first meeting, key tasks of the ASB working group will be:
•to identify geographic boundaries for the new ASB;
•to determine the name of the proposed board;
•to gather information on the area (e.g., electors, population, existing service delivery systems, etc.);
•to determine the composition of the new ASB (number of board members and the municipality);
•to determine the names of proposed members for the unorganized territories;
•to specify services the board intends on providing;
•to develop a proposed timetable for implementation;
•to develop a budget and request for funding from the MNDM;
•to seek the formal support of communities through public information systems; and
•to make a formal submission to the MNDM.
Naturkach noted any discussion of an ASB so far has been preliminary and that this will be just the first of several meetings—the dates of which will be determined at this initial one.