Fort Frances BIA steps in to help Market


It’s been a bumpy ride for merchants at the Rainy Lake Square, but the rest of the summer should be smooth sailing.

The Fort Frances Business Improvement Area (BIA) is footing the $1200 insurance bill, which will allow merchants to sell their wares free of charge at the Rainy Lake Square.

The offer of payment was officially accepted at last night’s town council meeting.

Fees for the use of the Rainy Lake Square on Market days reached a head earlier this spring, when regular vendors were informed that they would need a Fort Frances business licence plus a liability insurance plan worth $2 million, in addition to a contract with the town, in order to book a table at the Market on Thursdays.

Amid backlash from merchants, the Town and BIA worked to create a group licence, which would cover all of the Square’s merchants, and amended the insurance requirement to one blanket policy, at a cost of $1,200 to the Town. In an effort to recoup those costs, the Town had planned to impose a table rental fee on merchants. However, according to a spokesperson for the BIA, the group’s offer to pay the insurance would eliminate the need for the table fee, and make the square free of charge, as it has been in the past.

The BIA is an advisory committee, made up of every merchant or their representative, in the downtown core of Scott Street. They engage in beautification and community events, to promote Fort Frances’ retail sector. The Rainy Lake Square on Scott Street hosts a Market each Thursday, with an ever-changing selection of merchants selling local produce, meat, crafts, baking and candy and plays host to events, including live music and the Community Living Open Air Studio.