Meeting on old hotel slated

Duane Hicks

A public meeting to discuss a local committee’s recommendation regarding future use of the vacant Rainy Lake Hotel is scheduled for next Wednesday (April 18) at 7 p.m. at the Legion here.
A committee comprised of town staff, as well as representatives from the Rainy River Future Development Corp., Economic Development Advisory Committee, Fort Frances Chamber of Commerce, and BIA, have been meeting since November and doing consultations with stakeholders since February.
“This is a follow-up on presentations that have now been made to the Economic Development Advisory Committee, the Fort Frances Chamber of Commerce and the BIA, and a few other groups in the community,” said consultant Tannis Drysdale, who has been co-ordinating the committee.
“Then we decided we would culminate with a public meeting.
“And from those results, the committee that is investigating what to do with the Rainy Lake Hotel will make a recommendation to [town] council,” she added.
Drysdale said the committee has reviewed a number of factors, such as where the building is in terms of ownership, its structural condition, and potential uses for the property.
“Right now, the empty hotel in the core of our community is obviously not a good thing,” she admitted.
“So the committee’s goal was to find a solution to the problem that would not only mitigate the issues of having the hotel closed, but maybe use it as an opportunity to spur further economic development,” she reasoned.
“They reviewed a number of things, and we’ll talk about that at the community meeting—the steps that were taken, and then the analysis and the consensus of the committee.
“It’s still not the consensus of council, and it’s not the consensus of the community yet, but that’s why we’re getting more input,” Drysdale added.
She said the public meeting shouldn’t take more than an hour, depending on how long the question-and-answer period lasts.