RRFDC contract extended again

Council agreed Friday to extend the town’s current contract with the Rainy River Future Development Corp. because it still hasn’t decided whether to sign a new three-year deal with them.
The decision was made during a special committee of the whole meeting at the Civic Centre, when it was brought up that council previously had pledged to have an answer for the RRFDC by Feb. 29.
Mayor Dan Onichuk said this morning from Toronto, where he and Coun. Tannis Drysdale are attending the combined conference of the Rural Ontario Municipal Association and Ontario Good Roads Association, that such a confirmation just wasn’t feasible at this point in time.
“It’s somewhat intertwined with the budget process, and as you know, we’re still working through that,” he remarked, adding a decision should be expected next month, coinciding with the finalizing of the 2004 town budget.
Council received a report from the RRFDC on Dec. 15, at which time it indicated it would try and make a decision whether to sign a new deal by Feb. 29.
This deal could cost the town up to $112,500 a year.
At that time, RRFDC chair Telford Advent told council that if the town does not choose the RRFDC, it would have a very difficult time finding a suitable replacement for similar economic development services.
As well, any replacement likely would cost even more than the capped amount of $112,500 the RRFDC charges the town—given that it would mean hiring a consultant, secretarial staff, and setting up a new office at the very least.
Advent noted if the town decided not to go with the RRFDC, it likely would mean current projects would have to be scaled back and staff would have to be laid off.
Advent noted the RRFDC would continue to exist and serve the rest of the district, but that, by working on contravention of the policy “what’s good for Fort Frances is good for the district” and vice versa, both the town and neighbouring municipalities would suffer.
The RRFDC, which is partially funded by FedNor, must contact the federal government about its funding—and whether the town is on board—by the end of March.
The RRFDC’s contract with the town expired Nov. 30, but the previous “lame duck” council was unable to renew the agreement prior to the new council coming in.
Instead, council has since given the RRFDC contract extensions pending the decision on a longterm commitment.