Meeting set for boiler rezoning Sewer, water rates to be set Friday

FORT FRANCES—While local mill management must wait until March 6 to meet with the Abitibi-Consolidated’s board of directors regarding final approval of funding for the proposed bio-mass boiler project here, they’re moving ahead with the process to get everything in place in anticipation of that consent.
A public meeting is slated for this Thursday (March 1) at 7 p.m. at the Civic Centre regarding Abitibi’s application to amend the town’s official plan and amend a zoning bylaw to “permit the development of the land for a bio-mass boiler facility with appurtenances associated therewith to facilitate and enhance the energy-generating component of the existing manufacturing facility.”
The purpose of the meeting, which is required under the Planning Act, is to explain why the amendments are required and what the effect will be, as well as get public input.
Specifically, the proposal is to amend the official plan to re-designate the subject lands, specifically property located south of Nelson Street between Victoria Avenue and Veteran Avenue, from “recreation area” and “living area” to “working area,” and to rezone those lands from “residential type three” and “open space” to “heavy industrial-exception one.”
In a memo to town council, municipal planner Faye Flatt wrote she has conducted a technical review of the applications and noted “there appears to be no issues of concern that have not been addressed and the applications can be supported.”
A pair of bylaws to amend the official plan and the respective zoning bylaw then will be voted on at a special council meeting Friday at noon.
Sewer, water rates
Also at Friday’s special meeting, town council will vote on a bylaw to establish the 2007 sewer and water rates.
The revised rates will mean an increase of two percent across the board.
Operations and Facilities manager Doug Brown was directed by council last month to calculate the impact of rate increases ranging from one-three percent.
He came back to council Feb. 12 with a report recommending two percent would be sufficient to cover operating costs while generating a little extra revenue (about $78,000) to put into reserves in anticipation of future repairs to Fort Frances’ aging infrastructure.
At that time, Brown noted the proposed increase would mean an extra $14.66 a year to the average residential customer and an extra $19.32 to flat rate commercial.
If council passes the bylaw Friday, the rate increases will be effective starting Jan. 1, 2007, where customers will see their first bill around the first week of March for the months of January and February.