Present: Jessica Busch, WORC; Chantal Perron MacIntosh, WORC; Carly Hughes, Business Centre of Nipissing/Parry Sound; Shelley Willis, EDO Powassan; Stephanie Booth, Almaguin.com; Hazel Hornibrook, AHAC; Don Carter, Whitestone; Gerry Spooner, FedNor; Merv Mulligan, McMurrich/Monteith; Dave Gray, CDO Burk’s Fall/Armour/Ryerson; Carole Mantha, MDNM; David Stewart, Almaguin Highlands Inc.
Business Arising (AHED Business): A big thank you to Shelley Willis and the Municipality of Powassan for hosting this AHED meeting.
Discussion took place around the table regarding signage for the Almaguin Highlands. Jessica Busch asked Dave Stewart why resolutions had been sent out to the 16 municipalities in the Almaguin Highlands in regards to signage when no information has been brought to the AHED committee? In the minutes of the January meeting it was agreed that “A number of things must be considered (in regards to signage for the Almaguin Highlands), where will the signage go in regards to boundaries, MTO approval process and cost of signage – Dave Stewart will begin to look into cost and location and bring the information back to the next AHED meeting.” This information was again clarified at the March AHED meeting. The resolutions sent out to the Municipalities included information stating that the $412,000 project would be 95% funded by FedNor and requesting support in the amount of $1287.50 from each Municipality to make up the other 5%. Dave Stewart responded by stating that he was acting under the guidance of FedNor and that he had had numerous discussions with FedNor in regards to signage and grant availability. Gerry Spooner from FedNor was at the table and indicated that FedNor did not instruct Dave to approach the municipalities and absolutely did not state that FedNor could fund 95% of this project as FedNor does not fund 95% of any project. Gerry brought a media release with him which he emphasized was not correct as these numbers have never been brought to FedNor. Gerry indicated that there is a process that must be followed which starts with identifying a lead for the project and completing an application, organizing participation from other agencies along with a fair and open process. Jessica voiced concerns about Dave and Karen Stewart representing and acting on behalf of the AHED committee with no authority to do so. Hazel asked if permission was given from the AHED committee for Dave and Karen to approach municipalities to which the answer was no. Don Carter stated that the information gathering is seen with the best of intentions however the information should be shared with the group and not kept “confidential” by Dave and Karen Stewart. Dave Stewart indicated with potential funding partners sitting around the table, the information he had gathered should be kept confidential. Carole Mantha indicated as a funding agency, if MNDM’s programs could fit this project, why would the information be confidential? The discussion was tabled until the next meeting to be held in Kearney on May 15th. Jessica brought in a resolution and letter for consideration by the AHED committee as well. The resolution is to clarify that no enterprise shall be conducted under the name of AHED or with any suggestion that AHED has any association/involvement beyond a sharing of ideas and encouragement; the resolution is also in support of a letter to be sent out to all municipalities and organizations with which AHED has, has had, or may have. The letter clarifies who AHED is, what AHED represents and some past achievements of the group. This resolution and letter has been tabled until the next meeting as attendee numbers were quite low this meeting.
Don spoke on Cyndi Culbert attending the March AHED meeting – he indicated that he was thankful for her excellent report. Don also discussed the lack of an economic development officer in Whitestone due to the concern that the position will not be sustainable past funding opportunities.
Gerry had no report to share today.
Shelley Willis/EDO Powassan
Powassan is holding an Economic Development Day on Saturday May 3rd from 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. at the Trout Creek Community Centre – for more information, please contact Shelley Willis at email@example.com
The United Church is holding a concert fundraiser on May 2nd – tickets are available for $10/adults, $5/students with all proceeds helping to support community events. April 26th will be the annual Powassan Maple Syrup Festival – come out and enjoy a free family fun event.
Entrepreneurial Skills Training is complete with 35 women participating in the workshop and 26 completing the course successfully – EST will be offered again in September. Balanced Living will be offered again in May – for more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org The Almaguin Women’s Resource & Business Network meeting will be held this month at Lulu’s Restaurant in Callander – for more information or to register, please contact Chantal via email or phone (705-386-9672). Life Skills 101 being offered to high school students is half way through the course – topics included in this workshop are time management and goal setting, managing stress in a healthy way, managing a household budget, banking, developing communication skills, resume writing & job interview skills, college applications and finances, income tax. This new workshop has been received very well and will continue to be offered to high school students with the possibility of adapting a course for adults as well. WORC will be organizing and running a “Summer Clothing Exchange” in response to the overwhelming success of our “Warm Winter Clothing Exchange” – we will be collecting gently used clothing through the months of May and June with the exchange to begin the third week of June. WORC has recently attended a couple of very informative workshops hosted through VCARS. The first was in regards to veterans and services available to them through “Operation: Leave the streets behind”. The homeless veterans assistance fund is to provide emergency assistance; to those who are experiencing homelessness and those who are near homeless. Assistance cannot be continued over an extended period of time but may be offered more than once to an individual – for more information, see attached documents. The second workshop was in regards to Human Trafficking and what it looks like in our region. The workshop included a comprehensive package and tool kit for service providers working with trafficked persons. For more information – see attached documents.
Carly Hughes/Business Centre of Nipissing/Parry Sound
Carly reported that a new staff member (April) has been hired to manage the micro lending program for women. April is in the first stages of starting the program which will include a 12 week program for low income women starting a business, at the conclusion of the course, these women will be able to apply to funders. The next Lunch n’ Learn will take place on April 24th in Parry Sound and will feature Sandra L. Mews, B Comm CFP FDS on “Succession Planning – How to plan your business so you can exit in style” for more information please contact Carly. Culture Day will be taking place on April 24th at Discovery North Bay where you can learn how to get involved with Culture Days, promote yourself as an artist and engage your community. Carly reported that the Summer Company program has 27 students applying for 25 spots which should be easily filled this year. The Business Centre will be hiring a new intern shortly to assist with the growing work load.
Dave Gray/CDO Burk’s Falls/Armour/Ryerson
Dave discussed ACT 2014 which is taking place on April 30th from 1 – 7 p.m. at Almaguin Highlands Secondary School – if you would like to book a booth to recruit or discuss future job opportunities contact Brenda MacDonald at 705-384-1110 ext. 37. There will be a Business Festival in Burk’s Falls held on May 25th where the main street will be shut down for the event. The South Almaguin Visitor Guide will be partnering with the Almaguin Business Community to publish one Almaguin Highlands Visitor Guide – the deadline for inclusion is May 9th – you can contact Dave for more information - the guide will undoubtedly leave out areas and businesses as this will be coming together very quickly. Moving forward, it is hoped that this will become a Chamber of Commerce that will be self-sustaining.
Carole had no report to share today.
Dave Stewart/Almaguin Highlands Inc.
Dave reported that he and Karen had approached every municipality in the Almaguin Highlands with the signage project – he passed around a one page slide show which was presented at a Steering Committee meeting. Dave said that they (him and Karen) were guided by Funders on what they can say and that they will be able to secure 95% of the $412,000 needed by way of grants. Gerry Spooner reiterated that FedNor was never approached with these numbers.(Ammendment requested May 15, 2014 to place this item in Business Arising as this is not under company business)
Stephanie reported that the event calendar on Almaguin.com is filling up fast. Stephanie encouraged businesses and municipalities to input their own events and information on the website as she will be getting busy soon with her own business. Each weekend events are being posted through Facebook to promote the area. Stephanie pointed out that a lot of the area youth seem to be using the information on social media.
Hazel Hornibrook/Almaguin Highlands Arts Council
The AHAC is working on a new directory to be published this year. The directory, which is published every two years, will be approximately 36 pages and will promote artists in the Almaguin Highlands – should be available by July 1st. The Artscape Studio Gallery Tour will take place over two weekends this year – the first will take place over the August long weekend, the second taking place the last weekend in September in conjunction with “Sweater Weather”. Hazel also reported that there will be 20 local artists on display at the Alex Dufresne Gallery in Callander over July and August. The last weekend in October will be the annual Artscape Show & Sale – last year there were 56 artists who sold over $12,000 in artwork with all proceeds going directly to the artists. The Highland Players presents “Annie Get Your Gun” Thursday April 24th @ 7:30 p.m.; Friday April 25th @ 7:30 p.m.; Saturday April 26th @ 7:30 p.m.; Sunday April 27th @ 2:00 p.m. The show will be held at Land of Lakes Senior Public School in Burk’s Falls, tickets are available in Sundridge at Zak’s, South River at Kwik Way, Magnetawan at Summer’s Attic, Burk’s Falls at the Heritage House.
The Easter Egg Hunt took place on April 12th at the Community Centre with a large number of children in attendance for the event. The Fireman’s Association is holding a spaghetti supper on Saturday April 19th. The covered rink still has ice in good shape for playing. The E-Reader course that took place at the library was well attended however a more basic course is needed. Uses for the old school house are still being considered.
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