Present: Tara Hamilton, MNDM; Jeff Johnston, KPABA (& AHED Chair); Ron Begin, FedNOR; Cole Dault, Perry Township; Jim Coleman, Village of South River & CAEDA; Kay Tod; Merv Mulligan, McMurrich/Monteith Township; Rosalind Hall, Ryerson; David Stewart, Almaguin Highlands Inc. & RTO12; Karen Insley Stewart, Almaguin Highlands Inc. & Healthy Almaguin; Jessica Busch, WORC
Regrets: Don Carter, Whitestone; Hazel Hornibrook, Almaguin Highlands Arts Council; Kate Monk, Explorer’s Edge; Tiffany Ramsay, Powassan.
Discussion regarding “Showcase Almaguin”. Jeff suggests approaching municipalities in order to present to councils re: Showcase- Support & Sponsorship. Following the next AHED meeting there will be a meeting regarding the upcoming Showcase Almaguin.
Public Transportation – Jeff attended a Community Collaborative Luncheon in Dunchurch which was very thought stimulating and encouraged others to get involved. Many organizations are working independantly on this issue, need to bring them together. Transportation is a very high priority in the area. Rosalind discussed how Community Collaborative research, planning and public education are gathering information regarding transportation and areas of availability (rail/trail/bus). The idea of organized transportation to larger city centres for rural residents was discussed however concern was voiced regarding drawing local shoppers from our area. Local business depends on local shoppers, how will this affect local business and economy? It was discussed that a lot of people who live in our rural towns and villages do travel daily for work. A service in the morning and evening may be viable for workers? Services would need to be organized within the Almaguin Highlands. Research was done, spearheaded by the Poverty Reduction Network, developing local solutions. Transportation is a key concern for this area. Karen Stewart voiced concerns about outsourcing research jobs that could be kept in the area. She stressed that hiring locally, promoting local business promotes local infrastructure. A suggestion was for all municipalites to complete their own asset mapping and gather raw data with information being shared among local businesses, concerns were voiced about costs.
Tara Hamilton/Ministry of Northern Development and Mines
Tara reported that Caroline did send her regrets however she is more than willing to be a conduit to Caroline. Tara will report on one program each month at the AHED table. The NOHFC program was reviewed with no changes forseen. There is a backlog of applications at the moment however a usual response time for applications is 6-8 weeks. Tara also offered her services to check out funding applications and make suggestions, she can also help with LIP applications which is still offered through NECO. Jeff expressed a sincere thank you from the AHED committee for remaining so involved.
Ron reported that there will be a job fair in relation to the new Graphite Mine at the Kearney Community Centre (May 1). 60 – 70 (skilled trades) will be hired. The event was broadly advertised. FedNor continues to work with the mayor to make the project a success.
Rosalind Hall/Ryerson, Armour, Burk’s Falls
Rosalind reported that the Armour, Ryerson & Burk’s Falls Museum will be opening on the May 2/4 weekend. She will be taking over running of the museum and is interested in viewing other successfully running models. Jim suggested the Callander museum and partnering with the Historical Committee. Rosalind discussed the hiring of students to run the museum in the summer. She is looking for all and any ideas on sustaining/improving the museum. August 11th is Heritage Day with last year being a great success.
Merv Mulligan/McMurrich Monteith
Merv reported that May is the Inaugural Walking Trail Committee meeting which will assess trails and signage with the Horticultural Club. There has been no word yet on their application for Seniors Affordable Housing. June 5th will be the Community Cleanup. Merv also expressed concern by the Northlanders demise. The matter will be brought up at a municipal meeting.
Jeff Johnston/ Kearney
Jeff reported that May is Lions Club Month. The Adopt-a-Highway will take place May 5, the 17th Annual Charlie/Sadie Fetterley Memorial 10k Walkathon will take place on May 12, and the Black Fly Sale is set to take place on Saturday May 19th.
Jim reported a new Superintendant at Mikisew Park, Nicole Dryer. The Friends of Mikisew are looking to offer more community events at the park. A computer link for community events to tie in with library resources has been suggested. A road closure has the potential to severely disrupt the snowmobile trail, they are hoping to straighten out or make accomodations before next season, could pose a severe economic impact. They are investigating the law that prohibits side by side ATV’s or double upping, inquiries have been made to the MTO as this makes many economic opportunities missed. For legislation to be changed, the MTO first has to address it followed up by addressing from the OPP. The fire departments in South River and Sundridge are working together to cover any shortages between villages. South River is taking care of the South Lane of the highway while Sundridge is taking care of the North Lane of the highway – concerns have been voiced over whether or not there are enough crossovers to allow quick and efficient access. They are waiting on confirmation of funding in order to create an economic plan and perhaps hire an intern. Jim reported that a couple Municipal highway signs have been installed and landscaping is presently being done.
Kay reported on the Trillium Conference and the subject of Community Gardens and it’s many benefits to communities in large. Kay also discussed the possibility of Parry Sound losing it’s Northern Status – she expressed that this is very concerning and MUST be addressed. What happens to service provided from Parry Sound – do they cease for us? Kay suggests that letters perhaps be sent out to seek support and ensure this does not happen. The Social and Economic Downfalls will be significant and Kay stressed that we stand to lose unless we fight.
David Stewart/Almaguin Highlands Inc.
Community events are posted on his website, he encouraged the group to let him know of any upcoming events and he will post them. Brainstorming how to get people to call in and post.
Jim Coleman/Village of South River
Jim reported that costs for police service in South River has gone up by $20,000 in the last year, thus bringing the total to over $250,000/year. The Village is exploring the cost of a Police Contract which will lock in the rate for a term of 5 years. The rise in cost is reportedly due to a rise in domestic disturbances, thus prompting the village to look into co-ordinating vacant office space for anger management classes. Jeff suggested contacting the crisis center in Sundridge and perhaps they could provide a counsellor. The Energy Committee is investigating ways of dealing with problems such as accumulation of garbage and possibility of using an incinerator which would also generate steam. Looking into solar development, needs more exploration, feasibility study, could potentially solve problems and maybe create jobs. The new water meters are not installed yet.
Cole Dault/Perry Township
The Fire Department in partnership with the Cottage Association is having an Earth Day Cleanup. The Township is waiting to hear news of the boundary signs from the M.T.O. The Gazebo at the new Almaguin Highlands Information Centre now has a policy which was adopted. All hardware is no installed at the Information Centre with Web Development underway. The official opening will be June 1st from 9:30 – 10:30 a.m. The Farmers Market is still accepting applicants for food vendors and entertainment, the Market will happen every Friday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. and will run from June 1st to September 28th. The treasurer has retired with David Hunks taking the role of Treasurer for the Township. The strategic plan for the Town has been completed and adopted by council.
David Stewart/RTO 12
A lot going on right now with research and tracking. The committee is always looking for more people. The AGM is coming up next month. The Explorer’s Edge Spring Program “Gas n’ Go” was a big success however a broader scope is needed to get the word out there.
Jeff Johnston/Kearney, Perry Business Association
Jeff reported that the group will be forming an economic development committee and they are hoping for representatives from all municipalities to take part. The group is actively pursuing members, volunteers and sponsors, as well as awaiting awaiting approval for the potential hiring of an intern.
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