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City waits for Transport Minister's response

Monday, March 03, 2014   by: Darren Taylor

The City of Sault Ste. Marie is still awaiting a response from federal Minister of Transport Lisa Raitt regarding recent developments concerning governance of the International Bridge.

City Council, at its regular meeting Monday, was informed that Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Joe Fratesi has sent a letter to Raitt, dated February 26, 2014, seeking assurances from the Minister that at least one member of the new Federal Bridge Corporation Board of Directors would be from Sault Ste. Marie.

Last fall, the federal government announced that under proposed legislation, operations and governance of the International Bridge connecting the twin Saults, along with border crossings at Sarnia, Cornwall and Thousand Islands would be overseen by a new Federal Bridge Corporation Board of Directors.

To ensure that Sault Ste. Marie’s voice would be heard on the new Board, the St. Marys Bridge Company (which owns the Canadian side of the International Bridge and its Bridge Plaza property) passed a resolution at its October 25, 2013 meeting expressing its hope that the new Federal Bridge Corporation Limited Board will include at least one Sault Ste. Marie resident.

At its November 5, 2013 meeting, City Council passed a resolution of its own in support of the St. Marys Bridge Company’s position and forwarded that resolution to Raitt November 12.

In a report to Council in November, Fratesi stated that the influence of Sault Ste. Marie members on the new Federal Bridge Corporation Board could be reduced as a result of the federal government’s proposed changes.

Fratesi’s February letter to Raitt states: “We have not yet heard a response to City Council’s resolution and are concerned that it may not have reached your desk as of this date.”

“We do understand that Board appointments are currently being considered and the purpose of this note is to reiterate the importance of a Sault Ste. Marie representative in the future management and operation of this very important piece of infrastructure for our community.”

Fratesi’s February 26 letter has asked Raitt for a favourable reply to the City’s November resolution.

Sault Ste. Marie MP Bryan Hayes told last fall that the amalgamation of the border crossings governance structure would not diminish the Sault’s influence in border crossing matters, and that the move would result in increased efficiency, enhance security and ensure a smooth flow of people, goods and services across the Canada-U.S. border.

Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
soowat 3/3/2014 10:34:02 PM Report

All of us are aware of the great influence that Bryan Hayes has with the federal government. Thus when he says that we have nothing to worry about we should just chill out and relax
I'm In 3/3/2014 10:43:17 PM Report

Oh yeah Hayes the PC Backbencher, Harper doesn't even know him and couldn't care less if he did.
harry dick 3/4/2014 1:05:32 AM Report

This new "FEDERAL BRIDGE CORPORATION BOARD OF DIRECTORS " unit being proposed is a 180 degree turn around from a few years ago when the Federal Government "gave" these bridges to the these cities to manage and raise capital to run them .The Federal Government didn't want anything to do with "funding" these bridges .Now all of a sudden The Federal Government wants to put together this "Federal Bridge Corporation" to oversee these bridges and possibly not have anyone from the affected cities on this committee . As earlier stated , this is a complete 180 degree about face from a few years ago. Why does The Federal Government now want "THE POWER" OVER THESE BRIDGES.
The Federal Government also gave smaller cities the task of running and funding their AIRPORTS along with the bridges. Do they want the say back for the airports too?
tba 3/4/2014 6:59:16 AM Report

Is Joe Fratesi grooming himself to be the next Mayor of Sault Ste. Marie? Why is HE sending letters to Cabinet Ministers? Shouldn't that be the Mayor's responsibility.It is political! Joe is not the elected representative of civic matters. His job is to manage and oversee the administration of our city council's policies,yet he seems to be speaking on matters the Mayor should be addressing!
It is time for "The Best Man For The Job"' to retire as C.A.O, and run again for Mayor! The COURT RULING, banning him from Public Office,has expired by Joe.....resign,and seek the Mayor's position legitamately, in the next municipal election!
crashed13 3/4/2014 10:50:27 AM Report

"Is Joe Fratesi grooming himself to be the next Mayor of Sault Ste. Marie?"

Are you new in town?
Joe Fratesi is the former mayor and current chief administrative officer of Sault Ste. Marie.
He makes more then the mayor and has a job for life without worries of reelections.
Kind of like a senator vs a Member of Parliament.
Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
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