Historic site study to be unveiled tonight

Jeff Frank, with consultants Hilderman Thomas Frank and Cram, will appear before council tonight to report on the findings of a heritage tourism study regarding the future of town landmarks.
“Basically, this is in response to the closing of the tower and the destruction of the fort,” said museum curator Pam Hawley, who assisted the consultants in putting together the study.
“We wanted to answer questions like ‘What do we do now? Do we want to maintain the sites? Where do these things fit into our heritage?’” she added, noting the report identifies strategies the town now can choose regarding future historic sites here.
Hawley said she and the consultants have been working on the study since late last year. And while already privy to the final copy, she declined to comment on any of the recommendations prior to council seeing it.
The heritage tourism study cost roughly $25,000, with the bill split between the province and the town. The town’s half came from museum reserves.
The Lookout Tower and Fort St.
Pierre had been closed to the public for almost two years after they were declared unsafe for people to visit.
While the tower still stands, the fort was levelled and burned last May after an engineering study the previous year determined its interior structures were beyond repair.
A follow-up report by engineers showed the cost of replacing the structurally-inadequate palisades would be too costly compared to the cost of demolition.
The Lookout Tower was declared off-limits in the spring of 2002 after it was identified that public access should be limited to its main floor until the stairs to the second level could be modified to comply with code limitations.
Roof repairs, and reconstruction of the stairs to be of a decreased slope and with higher guardrails, were two more of the engineers’ recommendations at that time.
As with the fort, those repairs were deemed too costly by the former council, which instead pushed for a study—the one being unveiled tonight—to to provide some future direction.
Tonight’s council meeting is slated to start at 6:35 p.m. The committee of the whole will meet first in-camera at 5:30 p.m., then open up to the public at 5:55 p.m.
Other business at tonight’s meeting will include:
•a presentation by Tim Woods regarding activities for “Gateway Outdoor Health and Fitness Week”—an event he’s proposing for either August, 2004 or 2005 in Fort Frances;
•a request for a break-open ticket licence application from the Fort Frances Aquanauts Swim Club at Rainy Lake Sports and Tackle from March 13-Sept. 12, 2004;
•a request from The Easter Seals Society to proclaim March as “Easter Seals Month” in Fort Frances;
•a request from Coun. Tannis Drysdale to proclaim Monday, March 8 as “International Women’s Day” in Fort Frances; and
•a request from the Township of Morley for support of its resolution to ask the Northwestern Health Unit not to spend any more money it receives from district municipalities towards appealing a ruling against its smoking ban.