Fort Frances council sees new Recreation Master Plan

By Louis Bergeron
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Public facilities in Fort Frances are being improved as part of the town’s new Recreation Master Plan. There is a focus on inclusivity, diversity, equality, and accessibility to allow everyone in the community to feel welcome to use the town’s recreation facilities.

“We have been working with ensuring that our facilities and our properties are in compliance with a AODA standards for accessibility and we have highlighted that there are some areas for improvement,” said Nathan Young, recreation and culture manager.

The town is moving forward with improvements outlined in the Recreation Master Plan. While the plan has not yet been made public, there are several projects in the works to improve accessibility throughout the municipality. The plan outlines multiple projects like the improvement of ramps, walkways and accessible parking to facilities in Fort Frances.

“During consultation it was consistently echoed that existing spaces should be optimized prior to considering the development of new facilities,’ said Cole Roddick, recreation planner for RJ Burnside. “A goal of the recreation master plan is to assess community and neighborhood strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to the delivery of parks, recreation, and cultural services”.

Consultations of the community indicated that “there’s a strong desire amongst public for community engagement and inclusivity in recreational and cultural opportunity, decision making, facility maintenance and partnerships,” said Roddick.

For those who find getting around to be more of a challenge, municipal facilities like the Seniors Centre are a blessing when it comes to finding a place to go during the day and meet people with similar interests. Seniors have a variety of activities planned, such as bingo, and the commissary offers low-cost food options during the day.

“I was just gonna go home, sit on a computer, play double down anyway,” said Ed Larocque, who plays bingo with Gloria Soderholm every week. “She text me and asked me if I wanted to play bingo, why not?”

The facility offers seniors a chance to get out of their homes and find somewhere to go out of the chills of winter and the heat waves of summer.

“Something to do, for the afternoon,” said Gloria.