Monday, December 23, 2013

More Local Control Over Development Requested From Government

Northwestern Ontario wants more say on it's future development.

That's the feeling of the president of the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association.

Dave Canfield says he'd like to see this region have more autonomy and less influence from Queen's Park.

Canfield says this region should have more control specifically over infrastructure and training as it pertains to industries such as mining and forestry.

A Legal Look At Winter Road Conditions

A legal opinion regarding roads during the winter.

Toronto lawyer Troy Lehman says both the Ministry of Transportation and municipalities have a legal duty to keep the roads under their jurisdiction in a reasonable state of repair.

Lehman says motorists involved in accidents, thinking of legal action, must first prove road conditions were to blame and also show that the government's responsible failed to take reasonable steps to prevent the hazardous condition.

Lehman says there have been successful cases which found governments weren't patrolling roads as they should.

Minnesota Highway Practices

MinDOT photo
With criticism continuing to pour in regarding northwestern Ontario winter highway maintenance, we decided to look south of the border.

Minnesota Department of Transportation's Pat Houston says using chemicals on their highways doesn't happen until the highways are all plowed thoroughly to the pavement.

Houston says the chemicals won't work in sub zero cold temperatures.

PSB Holds Elections

A local businessman is back as chair of the Fort Frances Police Services Board.

John McTaggart has been re-elected to the position he's held for several years.

Town councillor Rick Wiedenhoeft is the vice-chair

Charges Up In Fort Frances

A lot of paperwork for the OPP last month.

Police laid 97 charges in Fort Frances in November, double the number in the same period last year.

Police responded to a total of 280 calls, four less than the number in November 2012.

The total number of charges of one-thousand to date, is still about one hundred less less than last year.

Gas Pumping Again

A gas shortage in Thunder Bay's is expected to end soon, according to some of the city's station managers.

Although some stations are still without premium fuel, regular gasoline is in stock across the city.

Reindeer Run Tomorrow

One of the last fundraising runs of the year goes tomorrow in International Falls.

The 3rd annual Reindeer Run is a 5 K run/walk and a one K walk for children.

President of International Falls Partners in Education Jennifer Windell says it helps raise money for local schools.

This year, the proceeds will go toward purchasing art supplies for the classrooms.

You can register tomorrow at Falls Elementary School at 9 a.m. or today through the ISD 361 school district webpage.

Accidents Up In Rainy River District

The Rainy River district is seeing it's fair share of motor vehicle accidents.

Statistics released by the OPP for November show 63 accidents compared to 43 in October.

Road conditions were blamed for some of the accidents, but Police say others were the result of drivers following too closely, failing to yield the right of way or making improper lane changes.

MPP Wants Visit By Transportation Minister

Anger over the condition of area roads this winter is growing.

Kenora-Rainy River MPP Sarah Campbell is calling on Transportation Minister Glen Murray to honour a promise and check out the roads for himself.

Campbell says Iron Range Bus Lines refusal to travel Highway 502 should be raising alarm bells by the Ministry as well.

Illegal Smokes Found

A 40 year old Winnipeg man is facing charges after OPP found over one-hundred cartons of unmarked cigarettes in vehicle stopped for speeding in the Kenora area.

Police value the contraband at over $10 thousand dollars.

He's to appear in court in March.

UCare Commited To Koochiching County

UCare is outlining its commitment to Koochiching County.

Officials spoke with County commissioners last week following concerns with the non-profit health plan being named the sole provider of health care plan services for the area come January 1.

UCare's Stephanie Schwartz says they're interested in an open dialogue.

While some concerns had been expressed, UCare says its communication with providers indicates no major issues.

Consultations Begin On Pipeline Project

The formal gathering of public input has started into the proposed Energy East pipeline.

The Ontario Energy Board has launched a website as part of the consultation process into TransCanada's project to transport crude oil from Alberta to New Brunswick.

The Board says it will also visit a number of communities along the proposed route through Ontario early in the new year.