Town finds sponsor to build ‘big chair’

The “big chair” once again could be a familiar site at Pither’s Point Park next year as a benefactor from eastern Ontario has notified the town he wants to sponsor the project.
“We have a gentleman from Oshawa who’s willing to pay for a chair if it’s okay he puts a plaque in memory of his parents on it,” Coun. Neil Kabel told council at Monday night’s regular meeting.
The 77-year-old man in question is J.C. (Cal) Muckle, a former resident of Fort Frances. His parents ran a pavilion for 10 years at Pither’s Point many years ago.
Coun. Kabel, who spoke with Muckle over the phone Saturday, noted he agreed to pay the estimated $3,000 cost of building a chair as long as he could get a letter of release from any liability in case of an accident.
“His family says Fort Frances is one of the nicest places in Canada, and they’ve been all over Canada,” remarked Coun. Kabel.
Council applauded the offer.
“I’m very much in favour of this sort of thing,” said Coun. Kabel. “It’s another tourist attraction. Anything that might make people spend another hour here, or stay for another meal, is a good thing.”
CAO Bill Naturkach noted two local groups also have shown interest in the “big chair.”
Coun. Dave Bourgeault suggested that if the deal with Muckle could be confirmed, these other groups should be asked to lend their support to either a mermaid sculpture or new trees to be planted along the La Verendrye Parkway.
Council had agreed to start advertising for funding support for these three projects at its Nov. 27 meeting. Information packages have been sent out to all local service clubs.
Getting a new chair built at Pither’s Point has been the topic of several requests from the public in the past year, and the economic development advisory committee fully endorsed the town look into idea.
In related news, council opted Monday night to support the placement of a steel mermaid sculpture on La Verendrye Parkway in 2003 as opposed to a bass statue.
This recommendation came from the Community Services executive committee, which in a letter from Community Services manager George Bell, noted this decision “does not, in any way, limit the consideration of any additional statue on the waterfront pending the availability of financial resources and community support.”
This bass statue was suggested by Coun. Kabel on behalf of a citizen at council’s Nov. 12 meeting.
At its Nov. 27 meeting, council noted the bass idea just wasn’t original but at Coun. Kabel’s request, it was forwarded to both the Community Services executive committee and “Re-Inventing Fort Frances” for further consideration.
  The idea for the mermaid statue came out of the exhibit at the museum this past summer commemorating the Rainy Lake landmark’s 70th anniversary. It will cost about $8,000.