New plan targets local building lots

The shortage of building lots within our town has prompted your mayor and council to approve a Financial Incentive Plan for residential and commercial properties.
One aspect of this plan is to promote infilling on lots that already are serviced with sewer and water.
This plan also will provide financial assistance for the removal of existing structures and a tax incentive on new construction.
If you are planning a project in the near future, feel free to contact our Planning and Development department for more information on this program.
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This fall, council developed and adopted a new corporate strategic plan entitled “Our Vision . . . Our Future . . . Our Town.”
This important document identifies opportunities and challenges facing our community, and responds with a series of objectives and strategies to be addressed during the present council’s mandate.
These goals are grouped into the areas of economic development, essential services, quality of life, and corporate initiatives. These strategies have specific timelines and will be regularly reported on.
The document also identifies the services delivered by the town, and the intent is to structure the strategies to deliver these services in the most cost-effective manner.
This document is available at the Civic Centre or on the town’s website at www.fort-frances.com
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As of late, I’ve heard differing perceptions within the community regarding the town’s position on the location of the Ontario Tourist Information Centre (OTIC).
As you are aware, since the construction of the new Canada Customs facility, visitors exiting Customs are channelled east and beyond the entrance to the OTIC.
Since the completion of the Customs facility, visitors to the OTIC have decreased by roughly 50-60 percent. This is a significant statistic for the region as many opportunities to market tourism in our region have been lost.
This was identified as a potential problem to the provincial government during the planning stages of the Customs facility.
Your council’s stand, when bringing this issue to the provincial government, is that this is a problem shared by all of Northwestern Ontario—and should be addressed by the provincial government and not solely by the Town of Fort Frances.
Your council has met with the Ontario Realty Corp. and the Ministry of Tourism regarding this issue and discussed a variety of options. Most attention was focused on using the existing facility with new entrances and the participation of private-sector investors.
The town would offer assistance in facilitating the project, but has no intention of contributing funds. We do not have the financial resources to commit to this project.
We will, however, consult with regional municipalities regarding the OTIC and the effects on tourism.
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Finally, I would like to thank Glenn Treftlin for organizing Local Government Week. I had the opportunity to attend the Grade 5 classes at Robert Moore School and it was gratifying to see the interest in our community shown by the students.
The local public and separate school boards must be thanked for accommodating council and administration throughout the week.

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