The City of Sault Ste. Marie is investigating the possibility of a deal with Garden River First Nation, offering firefighting assistance in exchange for uninhibited access to eastbound snowmobile trails.
At a meeting Monday night, City Council voted to seek ideas on how to negotiate an agreement that is mutually beneficial to both the City and the Garden River band.
One aspect of the agreement would be a mutual aid firefighting agreement under which respective fire departments would assist the other at times of excessive demand.
Chief administrative officer Joe Fratesi said any such agreement would involve forgiving $80,000 owed to the City by Garden River First Nation under a previous firefighting arrangement that he says was unilaterally ended by the band when it established its own fire department eight or ten years ago.
A report is expected to be ready for the next meeting of City Council.
In an unrelated matter, council angered a number of families on Wallace Terrace by rezoning a vacant residential lot owned by Mario and Frank Naccarato at 633 Wallace Terrace, allowing a taxi stand on the site.
"This is going to cause us a lot of problems," said Angelo Mattalo, who said he built in the neighborhood in 1959 because of its "park-like setting."
Mattalo confirmed, however, that his next-door neighbour is a bar. Also in the neighbourhood are Algoma Steel, Algoma Tubular and Manzo Park.
Mayor John Rowswell told a number of ratepayers attending from the neighbourhood that the decision could be appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board.
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