Two walkways needed over tracks: NAG

The Northern Action Group (NAG) wants town council to request that CN build overhead two walkways over the railroad tracks here in order to provide pedestrians with a safe means to travel between the north and south ends of town.
“There are only two official crossing areas between Crowe Avenue and McIrvine Road—the underpass at Portage Avenue and the McIrvine Road crossing,” NAG advocate Allan T. Bedard wrote in a letter to be received by council at Monday night’s regular meeting (it also appeared in last Wednesday’s Times).
“This presents many citizens from the north end with a long walk if they wish to visit or shop in the west end of town or uptown, or to attend school,” he noted.
“This matter is further exacerbated by the fact we no longer have a bus service to assist them in their daily travels,” Bedard continued.
“We, therefore, request council seek and demand that CN officials construct an overhead secured walkway at two specific locations—the first one constructed midway between McIrvine Road and Portage Avenue, and the second overhead walkway at Armit Avenue.
“General public traffic and a large number of school children would benefit from such a move,” Bedard argued.
NAG also asked that the town send a message to CN officials, telling them that if “they are to continue charging individuals who trespass on CN property, they ought to secure this property in its entirety” with proper fencing and no trespassing signs.
“Without proper fencing or no trespass signs, they are, and continue to be, part of the problem that has existed for many years,” wrote Bedard.
“In hindsight, this problem was created by CN and the only answer is to recognize real issues involved with the long distance between crossings and act accordingly,” said Bedard.
“On a cold, rainy day, the desire to take a shortcut across these tracks to shorten the trip is amplified,” he stressed.
Council was to vote Monday night whether to support the request or give some other direction, such as refer it to an executive committee.
Monday night’s council meeting is slated to start at 6:35 p.m. It will be preceded by a committee of the whole meeting downstairs at 5 p.m., which is expected to go in-camera from 5:31-5:45.
It then will be open to the public again at 5:55 p.m., at which time the meeting will move into council chambers.
Other business at Monday night’s meetings included:
•a quarterly police services report from S/Sgt. Hugh Dennis;
•further discussion of a financial request form the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship;
•a recommendation from the Economic Development Advisory Committee (EDAC) regarding a municipal representative to the Regional Value-Added Forestry Initiative;
•EDAC recommendations regarding recognition of outstanding citizens;
•a request from the Salvation Army to proclaim May, 2005 as “The Salvation Army Red Shield Month” in the Town of Fort Frances;
•a financial request from EDAC regarding an advertisement in the new “MOM’s Way” brochure;
•a bylaw to authorize the construction of certain new replacement sidewalks;
•a request from Customs Excise Union regarding support for a Canadian border patrol; and
•further discussion of changing council meeting schedules so that the committee of the whole and council meet on separate evenings.