Town not declaring emergency yet

The Town of Fort Frances Municipal Control Group was officially on standby as of 11 a.m. today after evaluating the impact of severe storms that have ravaged the area over the past few days.
“There is no emergency being declared at this time. But we’ll be meeting tomorrow morning and monitoring the weather, and see where to go from there,” Mayor Glenn Witherspoon said after this morning’s meeting.
The mayor said being on standby is important in preparation for any more rain and to aid other communities which may need the town’s assistance.
But it’s also a necessary move to make, the mayor said, if the town applies to the province for any relief funding to cover damage caused by the storms, such as after the storms that hit the district last July 31.
Operations and Facilities manager Pat Hickerson, noted the town’s sewer system and water treatment plant have been operating at full capacity, but are managing with the current lull in rain.
“We can only hope for relief with less water from the sky,” he added.
As of this morning, the Municipal Control Group revealed:
•the Memorial Sports Centre is being set up to receive any evacuees from neighbouring communities or town residents, if necessary;
•there is no potable water quality problems;
•the subway (underpass) is open;
•Fifth Street West is closed to road traffic;
•McIrvine Road is open to one lane of traffic; and
•the Victoria Avenue CNR crossing, which was temporarily opened yesterday, is now closed.
Motorists are advised to avoid any water problem areas.
Mayor Witherspoon also urged local residents with sump pumps to direct the flow into their yards, not back into the sewer system.
When dealing with flooded basements, use caution and shut electrical power off.
He also advised residents to hold off of any water use that would strain the sewer system, like washing clothes or using dishwashers.
For advice, and to report any unusual situations, call the Municipal Control Group at 274-9281 (day) or 274-9516 (anytime).
“People should be calling us. We’ll try to take care of them,” noted Mayor Witherspoon.
The decision to call this morning’s meeting of the Municipal Control Group was made at last night’s regular council meeting.
Also at last night’s meeting, council:
•received a quarterly activity report from Geoff Gillon, economic development officer, including an invoice for $16,863 for services due ;
•directed the Community Services and Administration and Finance executive committees to take another look at making repairs to the Lookout Tower at Pither’s Point;
•endorsed a Chamber of Commerce project to produce commemorative tokens for the town’s centennial in 2003 following a presentation by Tannis Drysdale, president of the Northwestern Ontario Associated Chambers of Commerce;
•withdrew a motion regarding a training opportunity on smoke-free bylaw enforcement from the Northwestern Health Unit;
•approved a request from Gordon Calder for a load of black earth for use at the Calder Plaque at Pither’s Point Park;
•referred a request for the return of the “Big Chair” to Pither’s Point to both the Economic Development and Operations and Facilities executive committees; and
•agreed to play the annual baseball game against International Falls council (but the date was changed from July 1 to July 2).