Flower debate returns to Town


The question of what to do with town flowers could be put to bed at tonight’s council meeting.

Following a report that was received and sent back to committee by Fort Frances town council at their April 27 meeting, a new report from the Operations and Facilities Executive Committee will be received tonight recommending that Hammonds Greenhouse be compensated for the sunken cost of the flowers that had been ordered for both graveyards in town.

The original report noted that due to a reduced workforce in the Parks and Cemeteries department of the town, which is in turn due to the impact of COVID-19 measures, the planting of flowers in the cemeteries would need to be abandoned this year. The original report suggested that the flowers, which are tendered in the fall of the previous year for each subsequent planting season, be distributed to those who have purchased perpetual care agreements at the cemeteries, or even to the general public, free of charge.

However, following concerns expressed by several members of council about the feasibility of distributing flowers to the public, as well as the possible negative impact that free flowers could have on nurseries and greenhouses in the area, it was moved that the report be sent back for further consideration.

The new report now notes that in speaking with Hammonds Greenhouse, the business has indicated they are willing to scrap the flowers and would ask the town to reimburse them only for the sunken costs. The report notes that the cost to cover the scrapped flowers, as well as the planting of flowers “for the limited beds we are looking to plant” would come in at $17,727. The original total cost of the flowers for the town this summer was just under $22-thousand.

Also on tonight’s agenda, council will receive a report on supplying Riverview Cemetery with three new columbaria.

Following the closure of a Request for Proposal (RFP) in late March, three companies submitted proposals, with consideration being given to costs, installation and appearance. The new columbaria would be placed in line with the existing units at Riverview Cemetery and as such the request was made in the RFP to be able to match the style of the existing units. The report to council recommends that the project be awarded to Brunet Monuments out of Winnipeg, MB, at a cost of $194,977 plus applicable taxes. Travis Rob, Operations and Facilities Manager, notes in the report that the purchase of the columbaria will be funded through the Cemetery Care and Maintenance fund, and that the fund will be reimbursed and “well covered” through the sale of niches in the new columbaria.

Additionally, as each of the existing columbaria at Riverview commemorate historically significant individuals in the history of Fort Frances, with J.A. Mathieu and Sieur de la Verendrye memorialized on the two existing units, the report also proposes that the new columbaria feature Nancy Loutit Calder, Herbert Williams and Dr. David Croal McKenzie.

Another item on tonight’s agenda is the Award of Tender for a common Municipal Special or Hazardous Waste (MSHW) service provider to host a one-day household hazardous waste drop off event in conjunction with Dryden. Upon approval of the report, the Miller EnvironmeMoental Corporation out of Winnipeg would be tasked with holding a hazardous household waste disposal day on Saturday, Sept. 12, 2020 from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.

Tonight’s regular council meeting will follow the committee of the whole meeting, which gets underway at 5:30 p.m. Go to the town’s website for a link to the Microsoft Teams meeting.
According to the agenda, the public portion of the meeting will be followed by one in-camera item, which is regarding personal matters about an identifiable individual, including municipal or local board employees: Committee Matters.

Other business on the agenda tonight includes:

  • a report re: coverage for Informational Technology Support Services between the Fort Frances Public Library Technology Centre and the Town of Fort Frances for the 2020 operating year
  • a verbal update on Capital Projects
  • an update on COVID-19
  • a letter dated April 22, 2020 from A. Bedard re: Sunny Cove
  • a letter dated April 29, 2020 from Borderland Pride re: Celebrating Pride in the Time of COVID-19