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Mayor excited for Shevlin Wood Yard future

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The future of the town's Shelvin Wood Yard property along the waterfront is being decided and Mayor June Caul said she's looking forward to exploring opportunities.

“This is an exciting and important week for council and administration as we plan the future of the Shevlin Wood Yard,” she remarked at last night's council meeting.

“We need the public's opinions as to what you envision a newly developed area along our waterfront might look like.”

Mayor Caul said last week she spoke with two “local visionaries,” Travis Glowasky and Inga Friesen to hear their ideas regarding opportunities at not only the wood yard but shuttered mill site and Point Park.

They've been busy researching Bend, Oregon, which was once a former mill town of 8,000, also situation on a river like Fort Frances and shows a promising future for the local community.

“It will get you motivated and excited just like me and will entice you to rebrand our community for a bright future that will bring young people back to work and play and showcase a new and vibrant community that we call home,” Mayor Caul explained.

She stressed that all ideas are welcome and must be included in discussions about the future of the town.

“We have many local marketing professionals, business owners, and artists who should be included in our visions for the future of Fort Frances and how we move to change and develop our local brand and make Fort Frances a destination place,” she remarked.

“Using the vision of residents who are committed to this community and have a vested interest in seeing Fort Frances flourish are crucial.”

Mayor Caul said she challenges business owners, members of the municipal accommodation tax committee, BIA, Chamber of Commerce, Economic and Development Committee, First Nations neighbours and partners, all town committees and boards, service clubs, and every town resident to provide input on the Shelvin Wood Yard property.

Anyone interested in attending the first public input session regarding the Shevlin Wood Yard and Nursing Station (gateway to the Market Square) at La Place Rendez Vous this Wednesday 6:30-8:30 p.m. can RSVP to Cody Vangel by email cvangel@fortfrances.ca or call 807-274-5323 ext 1216 and express their interest.

Space is limited and if space is full, those with ideas can still call or email Vangel with their ideas and he will share them with HTFC Consulting, who has been hired to create redevelopment plans for both town properties.

There will be two more public consultations held in the next six to eight months.

Mayor Caul said while council will be present at the first public input session on Wednesday, they are there to solely hear ideas from the public, not express any of their own.

Meanwhile, former Fort Frances Mayor Dick Lyons passed away on Saturday and Mayor Caul offered her sincerest sympathies to his family at council's meeting last night.

“Dick passed away this past weekend after a long battle with dementia," she said. "Our thoughts and prayers are certainly with Carol [his wife] and her family.”

Also at last night's meeting, council:

• heard a presentation from Mandi Olson of the Binesiwag Center for Wellness on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls;

• heard a presentation from Tannis Drysdale of the Rainy River Future Development Corporation on 2019 Economic Development;

• heard a presentation from the town's chief building official, Cody Vangel on the re-development of Shevlin Wood Yard and the Gateway to Rainy Lake Square;

• had a public meeting re: Brewery Definitions and General Provisions;

• received a letter from various residents re: Transportation System;

• received an email from a Colonization Road West resident re: Pedestrian Safety on Colonization Road West;

• passed a bylaw to authorize a Data Sharing Agreement for purposes of utilization of the Town's geospatial data with HTFC Inc.;

• passed a by-law to authorize the signing of a Memorandum of Settlement;

• approved a report re: Accountability and Transparency Policy; and

• approved a report re: Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame Membership Request.

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