Minutes of meeting

April 21, 2011, 10:00 – 12 noon

 Kearney Township Office


Present:  John-Paul Negrinotti, Nipissing; Tom Piper, Nipissing; Hazel Hornibrook, Almaguin Highlands Council for the Arts; Bill de Vries, Sundridge; Ron Begin, FedNor; Tara Hamilton, MNDMF; Peter Searle, Park 2 Park; Yvonne Aubichon, Clerk-Administrator, Kearney; Paul Tomlinson, Mayor, Kearney; Jim Coleman, Mayor, South River; Jeff Johnston, Kearney Perry Business Association; James Murphy, RTO12; Glynn Robinson, Mayor, McMurrich/Monteith; David Stewart, Almaguin Highlands Inc.; Karen Insley Stewart, Almaguin Highlands Inc.; Louise Wadsworth, Kearney; David Hunks, Kearney; Brenda Scott, WORC; Jessica Busch, iBrand Almaguin; Rosalind Hall, Councillor, Burk’s Falls  Regrets: Merv Mulligan, Kay Tod


  1. Welcome
  2. Call to order: Brenda Scott,  10:15
  3. Declaration of Pecuniary Interest: N/A

Guest Presentations:  James Murphy RTO12 – James is the new General Manager of RTO12.  The main goal of RTO12 is to double tourism receipts by 2020.  Currently RTO 12 is working on a number of projects including developing a destination plan, branding, and utilizing social media (creating conversations to get involved in i.e. trails, adventures, events).  The Annual General Meeting will be held on May 10th at the Waterloo Summit Centre for the Environment at 5:00 pm.  The proceeding will include light, locally sourced refreshments and food sampling followed by a presentation of the overall direction of the rto12 moving forward into 2011, by the chair Mr. John Sorensen.  The evening will conclude with the election of the 2011 Board of Directors.  Currently there are 15 Directors which represent areas across the region, the interim Board consists of 100% business owners.  James stressed that the information sent out by RTO12 must be passed on to businesses from their respective Municipalities, participation is key, we must work together in order to communicate effectively.  Jeff Johnston also stressed that emails must grab attention and that ultimately the information needs to get to everyone.  To be a voting member of RTO12 there is a $1 charge and you must be a registered business, however James stressed that other organizations can be involved too, no one who wants to be involved will be turned away.  James has a very positive outlook and stressed working in a team with focus on community and rural tourism experiences to draw more people to the area. 

  1. Adoption of Minutes of March 17, 2011.

Moved by : Jeff Johnston   Seconded by:  Rosalind Hall

  1.  AHED Business

The AHED Committee expresses a big Thank You to Kearney for hosting this month’s meeting.

  1. Reports from Community and Resource Partners

7.1  Minisry of Northern Development and Mines & Forestry                  Sharma/Hamilton

Tara Hamilton is here on behalf of Chetna Sharma.  MNDMF has two current programs including the Summer Job Service which provides a $2/hr subsidy for hiring students.  The Investment Readiness Program has some funding available to a maximum of 75% or $10,000.  Eligible applicants include Northern Ontario Municipalities, First Nations and Economic Development Corporations.

7.2  NECO                                                                                       Aspin Lecour

7.3  FedNOR                                                                                            Begin

In light of upcoming Federal Election Ron had no comments.

7.4  WORC                                                                                                Scott

Women’s Own Resource Centre is in transition.  Brenda will stay on until the end of May.  Brenda reported that the Carpool Almaguin project was a huge success with 67 drivers registered to the website, Brenda extended a Thank You to all who supported the project.  Stickers are being produced to cover the phone number on the existing signs as funding for the project is over and the phone line will be disconnected, however Brenda reports that the majority of people are utilizing the web system vs. the phone, very few calls have been received throughout the life of the project.  WORC will continue to provide meeting space for various organizations at no cost as they have in the past.  ROPE program will commence again in the Fall of 2011. 

7.5  Township of Chisolm                                                                    

7.6  Ryerson, Armour, Burk’s Falls                                                     Hall

Rosalind reported that they are currently working on getting healthcare back in our area.  There is currently a survey online at www.almaguin-health.org where people affected by the lack of healthcare can have a voice.  The survey is meant to determine what people in our community want in accessible healthcare and Rosalind stressed that people fill it out.  Rosalind also reported that they currently have a business plan in development for the Town.

7.7  Municipality of Whitestone                                                          

7.8  Powassan Economic Development Report                                      Gibson Olajos

7.9  McMurrich/Monteith                                                                       Mulligan

Glynn Robinson reported on behalf of Merv that they are currently working with Perry Township and the MTO on signage.  Glynn inquired whether there was money for signage available through RTO12, James responded that projects are looked at on an individual basis and that there could possibly be a cost share considered, however RTO12 is looking to focus more on social networking.

7.10  Kearney Economic Develoment                                                Tomlinson/Hunks

Paul Tomlinson reported that they had a joint council meeting with Perry Township and it was a great success, he hopes to arrange other joint meetings as there is more power in numbers and communities can benefit from working together to accomplish goals.  Working with Discovery Routes there are 4 signs and a kiosk being produced for their trail system which will be installed for the summer season.  The MNR office will be opening for the season soon.  The public budget meeting will be held tonite.

7.11  Central Almaguin Economic Development Association                         Mahon

Bill de Vries and Jim Coleman reported for CAEDA.  The group, which includes five municipalities, meets monthly.  They are currently looking into signage with the new four lane highway set to be completed this fall.  The battle continues as to whether or not signage will be allowed on the new highway, Bill stressed that signage is extremely important for our area.  Jim reported that they are working on sitting down the Ministry Reps in order to determine the best locations for signage.

7.12  Magnetawan Area Business Association                                         Tod

7.13  Westwind Forest Services                                                Munro/Coleman

Jim Coleman spoke on behalf of Westwind reporting that the meeting with the operators regarding safety standards, sustainable forestry, etc. went well, all are licensed and ready to go.

7.14  Citizenship & Immigration (Culture Health Promotion)                            Loiselle

7.15  Almaguin Highlands Inc.                                                             Stewart

The mapping project continues. Dave encouraged every business should put themselves on the map.  Karen spoke regarding the importance of signage and branding, she stressed that more focus should be put on tech vs. signage in order to draw people into the region.  She also encouraged that we need to maintain our wilderness attractions. Karen Stewart contacted the Ontario Chamber of Commerce in order to discuss the possible forming of a Chamber within the Almaguin Highlands.  Karen reported that they are very eager to be involved and possibly attend a meeting.  Once a decision is made, the general manager may be contacted.  Brenda Scott reinforced the need to fill out the survey regarding interest in a Chamber by the end of April.

7.16  Municipality of Magnetawan                                                                Urbanski

7.17  Nipissing                                                                               Negrinotti

Tom Piper and John Paul Negrinotti reported that there are no towers in Nipissing and therefore they still do not have high speed internet, 2 potential towers are currently being discussed.  In their case, Tom stressed the importance of signage for the community businesses.

7.18  Almaguin Highlands Council for the Arts                                         Hornibrook

Hazel presented the vision, mission and objectives of AHAC.  They are a volunteer organization with a membership of around 50.  They continue to encourage tourism through arts, including visual arts, music, literary art, etc. They have an extensive list of accommodations in the Almaguin area, more than 500 names of artists, art group, galleries and studios and many museums. 

7.19  Village of South River                                                                            Coleman

Jim Coleman reported that there were 53 people in attendance at the Business Breakfast that was held.  Surveys were circulated in order to determine the interest in such meetings which concluded in most agreeing that meeting quarterly would be beneficial.  It was a great networking opportunity.  The Chamber of Commerce interest survey was also distributed at the meeting.  Dave St.Onge spoke regarding past formations of Chambers in the area and the possibility of a new Chamber forming.  Small Business Owners seemed to be interested in involving more tech in their business.  Todd Lucier offered to hold meetings where people can come and learn more about utilizing social media.  Jim also reported that the town is looking into making the website more user friendly.

7.20  Perry Township                                                                             Dunn/Love

John had to leave early, Brenda reported that he left in order to sign the contract with Trillium today for funding for the gazebo at the new Almaguin Highlands Information Centre.

7.21  OMAFRA                                                                               Dukhia

7.22  Region 12 RTO                                                                              Murphy

Dave passed around a Golf Muskoka magazine that was handed out in Toronto, it is full of information regarding attractions, golf, spas, and events in the region.  James gave a big Thank You for having him, he would like to return, and stressed the importance that with the new RTO12 you will get back what you put in.

7.23  Park 2 Park                                                                                     Searle

Peter Searle reported that they are hopefully forming a partnership with an ATV manufacturer that could potentially increase exposure and branding in the region.  They are currently working on two big projects.  The Carling stretch 10km of trail that connects Killbear to Algonquin Park has become overgrown and will be reclaimed and rebuilt.  Also, Perry Township with a 7km stretch of trails running from James Bay to Kearney is now in the final steps of completion.  Park 2 Park also wants to strengthen partnerships with the Municipalities in our region therefore they will be presenting to councils in the upcoming months.

7.24  Kearney, Perry Business Association                                                         Johnston

Jeff Johnston reported that the group has applied to become Incorporated.  They will be presenting to area councils in the upcoming weeks. 

7.25  Sundridge                                                                                      DeVries

Bill DeVries inquired about signage for the new Information Centre to which he was informed was currently in progress.

8.   Correspondence

9.  In – Camera

10.  Adjournment : 12:05

11.  Next Meeting Date:  Thursday, May 19.  10 am. Burk’s Falls Arena.


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