Shaw to pull plug on live broadcasts Public urged to speak up

Fort Frances town council revealed last night that Shaw Cable 10 will not be broadcasting its meetings, along with other community programming here, as of Nov. 13.
Mayor Dan Onichuk read aloud a letter from Lyndon Hughes, community programmer for Shaw Cable 10, that had been sent to council relating the circumstances of what the mayor called “disturbing” news.
“As a part of our customer relations efforts, I am writing to you to inform you Shaw Cable Systems have made a decision to no longer support the mobile production truck here in Fort Frances,” Hughes wrote.
“They will be transporting it to Thunder Bay in a few weeks.”
Without it, Hughes added, he no longer will be able to broadcast council meetings, public school board meetings, high school sports, Border Figure Skating Club ice shows, events at the Townshend Theatre, high school graduations, “Quest for the Best,” or political debates prior to elections.
“In a discussion I had with a few individuals, one in particular, the feel from Shaw head office is that if residents of Fort Frances don’t cause a fuss, send letters, or sign petitions, then they don’t really want it,” remarked Mayor Onichuk.
“I think it would be a huge loss not to have that unit to broadcast on television those things with happen in our community,” he added.
“I think we have very good reporting from [the] newspaper and radio perspective, but being able to watch council and all the other particular events, I think it’s a great benefit to those at home who can’t attend a lot of things.
“I think when you go down to pay your cable bill that they should be told,” the mayor said. “If we want this community programming to continue in the future, we should raise our voices.”
“I think they’re required to do community programming under the CRTC regulations,” Community Services manager George Bell said.
“I talked to Lyndon about that. As long as they put a calendar on the TV, they’ve fulfilled the requirements,” replied Coun. Struchan Gilson.
Fort Frances CAO Mark McCaig stressed Shaw Cable should realize they’re a “welcome service to the town,” and have many subscribers who appreciate the community programming, including the live town council meetings.
He noted Fort Frances Power Corp. even has a deal with the cable company to let them use hydro poles to run cable at a reduced cost.
“The town has made accommodations [for the television coverage], at some expense to the municipality, in this very room,” added Clerk Glenn Treftlin, referring to the new sound system installed in Council Chambers last year.
Council agreed to draft a letter in support of continuing community programming here and sending it to Shaw Cable’s head office in Calgary.
The public is encouraged to let their feelings be known either by dropping off a letter at the Shaw Cable office here (1037 First St. E.) or sending an e-mail to
Also at last night’s meeting, council:
•referred a request from the Fort Frances High School cheerleaders regarding the waiving of rental fees at the East End Hall for their tea and bake sale fundraiser on Nov. 13 to the Community Services executive committee for a recommendation;
•supported a request from the Economic Development Advisory Committee to establish a new sub-committee for long-term planning of the downtown core;
•referred a request from the Township of Sioux Narrows-Nestor Falls for support of its resolution regarding Northwestern Health Unit levy increases to the Administration and Finance executive committee for a recommendation;
•referred a request from the Salvation Army regarding participation in the 2004 Christmas Kettle Appeal program to administrative assistant Loreen Holt to co-ordinate scheduling;
•referred a letter from John McTaggart, chair of the Police Services Board, regarding border traffic and related safety issues to the Traffic Safety Committee for a recommendation;
•passed a bylaw to authorize an encroachment agreement with Jeffrey S. Wright for 432 Scott St.;
•passed a bylaw to approve an agreement with Metro Materials Recycling Inc. as a destination for materials collected and to be recycled as part of the Fort Frances waste management program;
•passed a bylaw to execute an amendment to Subdivision Agreement A61951, as assigned to Dianne and Kenneth Faragher for 1022 Patcin Ave.; and
•referred a memorandum from municipal planner Faye Flatt regarding a request for an encroachment agreement for the Riverwalk Condominium to the Planning and Development executive committee for a recommendation.