Town proceeding with trail study

The town’s plan to develop a trail network in Fort Frances took another step forward Monday night after council accepted a proposal for an active transportation plan from consultants Hilderman, Thomas, Frank and Cram.
A request for proposals to do a study was sent out to five qualified firms back in early October and closed on Oct. 31, with the town only receiving one proposal by the deadline.
The proposal from Hilderman, Thomas, Frank and Cram was to complete an active transportation plan at the cost of $20,000, including professional fees and disbursements.
The Trail Network Steering Committee met Nov. 9 to review the proposal and made a recommendation to council to approve it.
The cost of the study will be covered mainly by a “Communities in Action” grant for $16,000 the town has received from the Ministry of Health Promotions.
The $4,000 balance will be drawn from reserves.
An authorizing bylaw will be prepared to be voted on at a future council meeting.
In other news, Monday night’s meeting marked the last one for the current council and those who won’t be back shared some parting sentiments.
“I’d like to thank everyone for all the hard work that we’ve done over the last three years, and I’d like to give the outgoing councillors the opportunity to say a few words,” said Mayor Dan Onichuk.
Coun. Todd Hamilton said he’d like to thank the administrative and management staff, as well as his fellow councillors, adding, “it’s been a pleasure working with you.”
“I’ve enjoyed the last three years and I wish everybody the best of luck,” Coun. Hamilton continued. “I’m going to stay involved the best I can.
“Please give me a call if anything comes up I can help with, and I’d be happy to help out.”
“I’d just wish all the people of the Town of Fort Frances a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year,” said Coun. Neil Kabel.
“We got a lot accomplished over the last three years and I think we can say we’re handing the next council a better plate than we were delivered when we first took over [in 2003],” said Mayor Onichuk.
“We’re leaving it in a little better shape than when we took over,” he added.
“Again, I’d like to thank everybody. It’s been great working with everybody. Thank you very much.”
“On behalf of myself and I hope the other members of council and the workers of the Town of Fort Frances, I’d like to express thanks to Todd and Neil and yourself, Mayor Dan, for putting in three hard years,” said Coun. Rick Wiedenhoeft.
“It’s not always been easy, but I think you all worked hard for the Town of Fort Frances and it should recognized,” he added. “You did a lot for this town in three short years.”
The new council—featuring Coun. Roy Avis as mayor, incumbent councillors John Albanese, Tannis Drysdale, and Wiedenhoeft, former councillor Sharon Tibbs, and new councillors Andrew Hallikas and Paul Ryan—will be sworn-in this coming Monday (Dec. 4).
This new council will have two more regular meetings before the end of the year (Dec. 11 and Dec. 18).
Also at Monday evening’s meeting, council defeated a motion to reconsider the matter of waiving landfill tipping fees for Glenn Witherspoon.
Coun. Tannis Drysdale voted for it while the rest of council voted against it (with the exception of Coun. Roy Avis, who declared a conflict of interest and did not vote).
Council also approved a report authorizing the mayor and treasurer to sign a letter of agreement with the Ministry of Transportation for the provision of provincial gas tax funds for a specialized transportation program.
The town’s share is $81,265. Also Monday night, council:
•denied a request from Rainy River District 4-H Association for a discount to the Townshend Theatre fees;
•approved a report authorizing the mayor and CAO to sign a tiered response agreement with the Rainy River District Social Services Administration Board;
•approved a report authorizing the mayor and CAO to sign an amendment to the town’s “Best Start” contract with the Rainy River District Social Services Administration Board;
•authorized the contribution of $750 to assist with the costs of the town Christmas party for 2006, as approved by the Administration and Finance executive committee; and
•approved Mayor Onichuk’s September purchase card expenses in the amount of $696.49.