Town to bring jail to province’s attention

With the Fort Frances Jail still slated to close in 2004, the town is making sure the Ministry of Public Safety and Security remains aware of it and agreed at Monday night’s council meeting to make a submission to the province.
“Our consultant [Sandy Baroudi and Gerry Pisarzowski of the Toronto-based Advisory Services//GPA] who proposed our report on the jail called us a couple weeks ago about it,” said CAO Bill Naturkach.
“We want to bring the issue to the table of the office of the new minister [Bob Runciman],” he added. “Rather than relying on them to know this about our jail.
“The bottom line is we don’t want to see our jail closed,” he added.
Naturkach noted the pending closure, of which the town has heard few to no updates on for most of the year, falls within the mandate of the Task Force on the Reform of Corrections in Ontario “to know our situation.”
The submission includes an overview of the current jail, and the rationale and specifications for a replacement facility.
This submission will be signed by Mayor Glenn Witherspoon and Valerie Pizey, chair of the Rainy River District Municipal Association.
Last month, Runciman said the task force was asking the public for written submissions.
“This government made a commitment to public safety and to be tough on crime in the throne speech last May, and we intend to be true to that promise,” Runciman said in press release.
“We want to get rid of operational headaches, and improve working conditions for front-line officers in Ontario’s corrections system,” he added.
The task force, announced Sept. 17, has a mandate to study ways to deliver a no-frills prison system that ensures public safety and holds offenders accountable.
It is looking only at the provincial system, not the federal one.
In addition to seeking written submissions from the public at large, the task force is meeting with key stakeholder groups and conducting a series of meetings in communities across Ontario.
The task force will report back to the minister with its recommendations in February.
In other business at Monday night’s meeting, council:
•approved the provision by the Town of Fort Frances of bridge financing for the proposed skate park being spearheaded by the local Kiwanis Club;
•heard a presentation from Mark McCaig, CEO and president of the Fort Frances Power Corp. regarding the recent provincial legislation for a price cap on hydro costs;
•referred the financial request from the Rainy River Valley Safety Coalition for a $.50 per capita grant to the 2003 budget process with a recommendation for approval;
•approved the signing of a maintenance agreement with MicroAge for the town’s computer system;
•authorized the distribution of an employee satisfaction survey to municipal employees;
•amended the Business Improvement Area bylaw due date, changing it to “the full amount of the levy shall become due and payable on Dec. 16, 2002”;
•authorized the traffic bylaw concerning U-turns be left status quo;
•authorized the appropriate bylaw revisions for calendar parking on the 500 block of Second Street East, with provision for the appropriate signage to allow for school children pick up/drop off on the north side and the 300 block of Nelson Street;
•denied a request from Joyce LaFreniere to move a stop sign on McIrvine Road (she will receive a letter explaining the town’s position);
•authorized a request from Abitibi-Consolidated to change a yield sign at the end of Victoria Avenue to a stop sign; and
•authorized the appropriate changes to the bylaw to remove the calendar parking restriction from the 700 block of Crowe Avenue.