New sidewalks, trees among requests

Duane Hicks

A local resident would like to see improved sidewalks and highway crossings, as well as more trees, in Fort Frances.
Merv Ahrens made a presentation to council during its 2019 public budget meeting Monday evening, noting that although our town was designated by the World Health Organization as a “Safe Community,” and received the provincial “Age-Friendly Community” award, he believes “there is still plenty of work to be done.”
Ahrens said he would like to see “countdown” pedestrian lights at Central Avenue and Second Street East, as well as at Keating Avenue and King’s Highway.
He’d also like a continuous sidewalk along the north part of King’s Highway near the Husky station, noting there’s no sidewalk for about 100 metres on that side of the road.
As well, Ahrens wants to see a sidewalk on Keating Avenue near J.W. Walker.
“Presently, there is no sidewalk whatsoever,” he noted. “Elementary students using this route have to walk on the roadway and dodge cars and/or climb over snowbanks on their way to and from school.”
Ahrens also would like to see a crosswalk at Tim Hortons and chain-link safety fencing along the north edge of the Legion Park.
When it comes to trees, Ahrens would like to see council establish a budget for annual tree-planting to increase the town’s “green canopy” along streets, boulevards, and parks.
He also would love to see the town replace every dead/removed tree with a “wicketed” new one, and keep existing trees healthy by protecting them from vehicular traffic (i.e., using cabling, cribs, etc.)
And the town could provide guidance to home owners regarding the importance of tree planting and encourage planting on private property.
Fun in the Sun organizers, meanwhile, are asking for the town to again contribute $7,500 towards the annual Canada Day fireworks display here.
In a letter from Dave Coats, he noted that over the past several years, they have been able to increase the fireworks budget through the contributions of the Town of Fort Frances and many local sponsors.
“This increased budget has allowed us to put on fireworks displays that are the best the town has ever seen,” he wrote.
“To allow us to continue to put on top-quality displays to end one of the biggest public gatherings of the year, I would ask mayor and council to consider once again contributing $7,500 towards the purchase of fireworks products,” Coats added.
“We will also pursue additional funds through federal and provincial grants, local sponsors, and fundraising.”
And north-end resident Amy Marchuk asked council to consider upgrading Elizabeth Street West and York Avenue North (from Fifth Street West to Sixth Street West) “a high priority” in its 2019 roads budget.
Marchuk also had asked council for the same upgrades during the budget process last fall.
All three budget requests were referred to the 2019 budget process.