By Jamie Mountain
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
LATCHFORD – The new year will bring with it some improvements for Latchford.
Mayor George Lefebvre noted that 2021 will see work get underway for the installation of the ultraviolet treatment facility for the town’s treated wastewater outflow.
He said that he anticipates “completing the transfer of land from Public Services and Procurement Canada to the town for development and sale of some land to adjacent property owners and increasing the availability of waterfront property for sale.”
Lefebvre also said that Latchford will be exploring opportunities for the planning and development of a 40-acre business/industrial property that it received the title to in October at the north end of town “and promote it to potential occupants.”
Lefebvre said that he had been advised “from various sources” that a major rebuild of the Sgt. Aubrey Cosens VC Memorial Bridge is expected to happen within the next two to five years.
“We hope to firm up the plans that the MTO has for the repairs of the … bridge and the timing of such,” he noted in an email interview.
“As any rebuild of a bridge will involve crossing Town of Latchford property, in particular the Veteran’s Park, and we all know what happened to that area the last time.”
In order to “provide better electronic communication for future meetings,” Lefebvre said the municipality would be utilizing some funding made available by the province for COVID-19 response.
The town also is anticipating receiving confirmation for the installation of natural gas services for Latchford in 2021, Lefebvre says, and planning for some of those services.
A natural gas pipeline runs a short distance away from Latchford, and the town has been striving to get a connection to the service to help residents move away from electric and wood heating.
Communities that applied are being considered under the Natural Gas Expansion Program.
Lefebvre conceded that confirmation of moving forward with the project likely didn’t happen because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We can put a lot of that onto COVID and the pressures it’s put on senior levels of government to respond to it,” he said.
“Things of that nature kind of got shoved to the side.”
The one other project that will be completed in the town in 2021 is the addition to the Latchford Fire Hall.
“The Latchford Volunteer Fire Department, under the guidance of Fire Chief Mike Beaupre, and aided by a number of non-member volunteers, have closed in the large two-bay addition to their fire hall and will be completing this significant effort in 2021,” Lefebvre noted.
“This has been realized and will be completed by the (department) at minimal cost to the municipality through their volunteer efforts in retrieving materials from the April 2019 train derailment in the north end of Latchford.”
Lefebvre said that following COVID-19 regulations “is a whole new world for all of us” and that residents of Latchford were adapting to and learning from the ever changing times as best they could.
He added that he was hopeful for a return to normalcy in the new year.
Jamie Mountain, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Temiskaming Speaker