Town asked to submit road project plan

Duane Hicks

The Town of Fort Frances will continue to try and get funding under the provincial “Connecting Link” program after the Ministry of Transportation asked the town to submit a five-year plan for road projects it would like to see done.
“Although we have not received any ‘Connecting Link’ funding for the past couple years, the province tells us that the program is not dead, only that it is under review,” Coun. Ken Perry noted at last night’s meeting.
“As such, they are still seeking a five-year plan for such projects so that we may proceed when, and if, the grants are ever allowed to us,” he added.
Council approved a road improvement plan last night which includes the following projects:
•the reconstruction of Scott Street (from just east of Reid Avenue to Colonization Road East), a project initially tendered by the town back in January, 2009;
•asphalt patching on the west lane of Colonization Road East from Second Street to Fifth Street;
•asphalt patching on the west lane of Mill Road from the Eighth Street intersection to the School Road intersection; and
•asphalt patching on King’s Highway from just east of the Wright Avenue intersection to 100 metres east of the York Avenue intersection.
Operations and Facilities manager Doug Brown noted the reconstruction of Scott Street is a project the town applied for last year but did not get any funding for.
“We compete against other ‘Connecting Link’ roads that go through municipalities in Ontario,” he explained. “I think there were 16 communities.
“There was $16 million divvied up last year. We never got one penny,” Brown noted.
Last night’s council meeting also included a public meeting regarding the town’s 2011 budget.
La Place Rendez-Vous owner Paul Noonan, representing more than 20 local businesses, asked that council reconsider its approach to resolving the equity issue between commercial and residential sewer and water rates, and slow increases to rates to more directly align with a corresponding decrease in commercial tax rates;
Coun. Sharon Tibbs, meanwhile, asked for a railing for the stairs leading to the seats at the Ice For Kids Arena.
Coun. Tibbs also made several budget requests on behalf of Mayor Roy Avis, who was out of town yesterday.
The list of requests included gravel for certain roads, improved maintenance of some town facilities, and limiting user fee and sewer and water rates to not exceed increases to the cost of living.
Local resident Stan Hoard asked for the town to repair local roads, specifically the stretch of Colonization Road East near the water treatment plant and parts of Second Street East, to name two.
And Coun. John Albanese asked that the interior of the Sorting Gap Marina building be renovated.
Also at last night’s meeting, council:
•authorized an amendment to a rural economic development fund agreement, namely a contract extension to July 31, 2010;
•approved minutes of settlement for 1029 Colonization Rd. W., 1206 Old Shambles Rd., and 288 Scott St.;
•approved a report recommending the town renew its insurance with Aon Reed Stenhouse for the term Nov. 1, 2010-Oct. 31, 2011;
•approved an expense reimbursement for Coun. Andrew Hallikas in the amount of $52.26 (for a luncheon meeting with the two third-year medical students staying in Fort Frances);
•approved per diem claims for Couns. Perry and Tibbs both in the amount of $60 (for attendance at the Rainy River District Municipal Association meeting in Emo on Sept. 14);
•approved a travel expense and per diem claim for Coun. Rick Wiedenhoeft in the amount of $1,096.54 (for attendance at the Ontario Association of Police Services Boards conference held in Terrace Bay);
•heard a verbal update on Operations and Facilities division activities; and
•heard a verbal report on Local Government Week (Oct. 17-23) from clerk Glenn Treftlin, who asked administration and council when they would be available to participate in this educational program.