Senior centre asking for help

Staff

The Fort Frances Senior Centre is asking town council to support, in principle, helping it acquire a larger facility that would meet current and future programming needs.
In a letter to council, Diane Maxey, chair of the Fort Frances Senior Centre Board of Management, explained that activity there has increased over the past few years.
In addition to card-playing and pool, it now offers exercise programs, line dancing, Bingo and a special lunch program one day a week.
The centre also is being used more frequently by the public for community events.
“As our population continues to age, there is going to be more demand for a variety of activities,” Maxey wrote.
“We would like to expand our programming, especially for small group activities such as book club, crafts, and discussion groups,” she added.
“However, the design of the current building is not conducive to additional activities as there is only one large space and no additional smaller rooms.”
Parking also is a problem, especially when the centre offers special events such as the seniors’ fair or the senior games.
“We have investigated the cost of adding on to the building but it might be more efficient to erect a new building or to relocate to a different facility, which could offer not only the space needed for programming but additional parking space, as well,” Maxey reasoned.
Council referred Maxey’s letter to the Community Services executive committee for its recommendation.
Also at last night’s meeting, council narrowly voted in favour of a new four percent municipal accommodation tax (MAT), effective Jan. 1, 2019.
This will be applied on all accommodation that is less than 30 days in the Town of Fort Frances, including hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, resorts, outposts, AirBNBs, and tent and trailer sites.
The town will establish a $10,000 fund to help operators change their systems to collect the tax.
The tax is estimated to reap $300,000 a year in revenue, which will be split 50/50 between local tourism marketing and development.
While council supported the new tax in principle, some members felt the affected businesses didn’t get enough input.
“I’m not sure that I’m in favour of voting on this and moving ahead until I know for sure that every single one of those people impacted by this has had the opportunity to speak,” Coun. June Caul said during a lengthy discussion about the tax.
Representatives of La Place Rendez-Vous and The Sleepy Owl (formerly the Makabi Inn) were on hand, who expressed concerns about the lack of input and the implementation timeline.