Not much district support for airport

Heather Latter

Many of the municipalities in Rainy River District still are not supporting the idea of helping to foot the bill for operational costs of the Fort Frances Airport, Fort Frances CAO Mark McCaig noted.
McCaig provided a brief update regarding the regional airport concept during the business portion of the Rainy River District Municipal Association’s 21st-annual general meeting and conference Saturday in La Vallee.
“The municipalities did not have overwhelming support for the idea when brought forward last year,” he said, though adding the townships of Chapple and Emo have offered their support since then.
“However, we don’t expect them to go beyond what was originally suggested,” McCaig added.
McCaig also said local First Nations’ communities still are exploring the concept and are “leaving the door open to making payments.”
McCaig noted the airport is necessary to the district for travel needs, emergency needs, and economic development.
But with operational costs continuing to increase, the Fort Frances Airport currently is seeing an annual shortfall of $150,000-$200,000.
Also at Saturday’s meeting, Rainy River Mayor Deb Ewald was acclaimed as president of the RRDMA again for 2012 while La Vallee Reeve Ross Donaldson was elected over Fort Frances Coun. Sharon Tibbs to remain as vice-president.
George Heyens was appointed to the Rainy River Valley Agricultural Society board while James Gibson will remain the representative for the Rainy River District Veterinary Services Committee.
Meanwhile, appointments made to the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association saw Fort Frances Coun. Andrew Hallikas remain as vice-president on the executive.
Rainy River Coun. Gordon Armstrong and Emo Coun. Gary Judson (elected), along with Veldron Vogan (staff), will continue to sit on the NOMA board.
These appointments require confirmation at NOMA’s annual meeting.
Other business at Saturday’s meeting saw district leaders:
•approve the treasurer’s report for 2011;
•approve the apportionment levy of $5,440.68 to NOMA;
•pass a resolution submitted by the Town of Atikokan petitioning the provincial government to upload the full cost of court security and prisoner transport immediately in 2012 for all municipalities with populations of 10,000 or less;
•pass a resolution submitted by the Town of Atikokan petitioning the provincial government to create a special fund to assist small remote communities with staff training costs;
•pass a resolution submitted by the Township of Emo encouraging the termination of the use of single-use plastic shopping bags; and
•defeat a resolution submitted by the Township of Atikokan petitioning the provincial government to increase the HST for the province of Ontario by one percent to be used to fund Ontario municipal infrastructure costs on a per capita basis.