Town to buy former library

Duane Hicks

Moving forward with the process to find a new use for the old Fort Frances Public Library, the town officially will buy the property tonight for $1.
Council is expected to pass a bylaw at its regular meeting to seal the deal with library board.
Mayor Roy Avis said some parties have shown interest in the building.
“At present, council is reviewing what we’re actually going to do with the building,” he noted.
“We haven’t really made that decision yet, and if we go forward with disposing of it, it will be disposed of in the manner that all properties are disposed of—it will be advertised,” the mayor added.
“But yes, we have had parties show an interest and have already written us letters.”
Mayor Avis said council likely will have made a decision as to what to do with the property by February.
Whatever decision is made, he assured it would be in the best interest of the Town of Fort Frances.
The deal to sell the property was part of the memorandum of understanding reached by the town and library board back on Oct. 12, in which the library board agreed to transfer the title of the former library property to the town for $1.
Chair Joyce Cunningham explained the library board has owned the old library building since the 1960s, when the town sold it to them for $1 (this was to make the library board eligible to apply for certain grants).
Under the Library Act, library boards do have the power to buy and sell property, with the approval of council.
Now that the new library has been built and is open, the board did not want to have to be responsible for two buildings.
“We wanted to sell it back to council,” noted Cunningham. “They were quite agreeable to do that, and so we came to the agreement that it would be sold back to them.
“We did that for a number of reasons,” she added. “First of all, we believe it should be in the jurisdiction of the town to make the decision about that building, and they can do so in the best interest of all of the citizens of the community.
“And the library board very definitely did not want to be responsible for looking after two pieces of property, nor the maintenance, insurance, etc. for two pieces of property,” Cunningham stressed.
“So, this is the most efficient manner to do this—to simply to sell it back to them for $1.”
Cunningham reiterated town council is in “the best position to decide on the best use of that building and what should be done with it.”
The public portion of tonight’s meeting is scheduled to start at 6:10 p.m. The committee of the whole will meet in-camera first starting at 5 p.m.
Other business at tonight’s meeting will include:
•a presentation by the winner of the Local Government Week essay contest (Robert Moore Grade 5 student Daymond Morrisseau);
•BDO Canada’s presentation of the auditor’s report for the year ending Dec. 31, 2009;
•a letter from John Steinke regarding handicapped parking spaces at the arena;
•a request from Lynn Moffatt, executive director of the Alzheimer Society of Kenora-Rainy River Districts, to proclaim January, 2011 as “Alzheimer Awareness Month” in the Town of Fort Frances;
•a break-open ticket licence application from La Verendrye General Hospital Auxiliary at Bonnie Blue from Jan. 15, 2011-July 14, 2011;
•a request from Larry Patrick re: the monkey bars at F.H. Huffman School;
•a bylaw to impose certain user fees;
•a bylaw to authorize a lease financing agreement for two treadmills at the Memorial Sports Centre;
•a bylaw to amend Bylaw No. 16/06 (the water management system bylaw);
•semi-annual test results for lead in the water distribution system;
•a report on 2011 parks and cemetery flowers;
•execution of an amended municipal hazardous or special waste services agreement with Stewardship Ontario;
•an amended geospatial data exchange agreement with Ontario (MNR);
•up-to-date winter control operations policy and revisions to the traffic control bylaw;
•amended terms of reference for the Traffic Safety Advisory Committee;
•revisions to the 2001 Operations and Facilities Division (Public Works Department) user fees and charges;
•a capital expenditure (Civic Centre HVAC system);
•a report on uncollected accounts receivable;
•a minutes of settlement request for reconsideration;
•an update on investments policy 1.15;
•a report on the Fort Frances Public Library Technology Centre reserve fund;
•a travel and per diem expense claim for Mayor Avis for attending Association of Municipalities of Ontario heads of council training;
•janitorial tender #10-CS-15; and
•a report on a sustainability co-ordinator internship.