Town to look into property standards

Bringing the concerns of some local residents to council at Monday night’s regular meeting, Coun. Dave Bourgeault said the town must address tthe issue of derelict properties.
Coun. Bourgeault noted the properties in question were houses at 437 Third St. E. and 130 Fifth St. W., as well as the one he previously brought up at council’s Nov. 12 meeting—old Fort Frances High School.
“The issue is the houses are all boarded up. Children are breaking into them. This is a hazard—it’s dangerous,” he stressed. “How long do we leave it like this?
“When does the property standards bylaw come into play?” he asked.
Coun. Bourgeault said he’s received complaints from residents near the pair of vacant homes about the disrepair of the buildings and the unkempt lots reflecting poorly on their neighbourhoods.
He noted old Fort High is a fire hazard and has many of its windows are broken.
“How long do we leave them like this only to become more of an eyesore? There’s no taxation money coming in,” Coun. Bourgeault argued. “I would like to know what’s going to happen with all three of these buildings.”
Coun. Sharon Tibbs suggested the matter be referred to the Planning and Development executive to review the property standards bylaw to see if it applies to the vacant properties.
“I hope it [applies],” she remarked.
“I hope so, too,” added Coun. Bourgeault.
Meanwhile, CAO Bill Naturkach said he’s expecting to hear an update on the status of the old high school from the Rainy River District School Board in the near future.
Also at Monday night’s meeting, council:
•referred a request from the Northwestern Ontario Crime Stoppers for sponsorship support of the 2003 Ontario Association of Crime Stoppers training conference to the Administration and Finance executive committee;
•referred a request from resident Melvin Haukaas to rename certain streets within town to “Canada Street” to the La Verendrye Parkway and Centennial Celebration executive committees for recommendation;
•referred a request for continued financial and in-kind support from the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship to the Administration and Finance, Operations and Facilities, Community Services, and Planning and Development executive committees for recommendation;
•referred rezoning bylaw amendment applications for properties at 1305 Mill Rd. and 1250 King’s Highway to the Planning and Development executive committee for recommendation;
•authorized Engineering Northwest Ltd. to proceed with geo-technical field work at Lake Road and Oakwood Road in the amount of $6,570 (this survey is to address manholes which keep rising from the road);
•referred a draft bylaw and franchise agreement between the Corporation of the Town of Fort Frances and Union Gas Ltd. to the Operations and Facilities and Administration and Finance executive committees for recommendation; and
•referred a request for financial support from the Rainy River District Music Festival Association to the Administration and Finance executive committee for recommendation.