Present: Todd Lucier, Almaguin Umbrella; Hazel Hornibrook, Almaguin Highlands Arts Council; Jim Altseimer, Granite Ridge Campground; Jeff Johnston, USCO; Kimberly Bester, Powassan; Carol Armstrong, McMurrich/Monteith; Chantal Perron MacIntosh, WORC; Jessica Busch, WORC.
Business Arising (AHED Business):
A big thank you goes out to Kimberly Bester and the Municipality of Powassan for hosting this month’s AHED meeting.
Jeff discussed the letters being written to Municipal Councils within the Almaguin Highlands. Jeff discussed the benefits of presenting AHED, in person to councils, rather than explaining through a letter. The letters will briefly outline AHED and its purpose but more importantly, request to present at a council meeting. During this presentation to council, the AHED representative would present (a presentation agreed upon by AHED committee), outlining who AHED is, some past achievements, moving forward with partnerships and networking, and asking each council to get involved by sending a representative to participate in the meetings held each month. It was also discussed at the table that perhaps different members of the AHED committee could present to the councils closest to them as it would be difficult and costly for one member to undertake all of the meetings. Jeff will forward the letter to Jessica (secretary for AHED), and Jessica will forward the letter for review to the AHED committee.
Todd Lucier/Umbrella Project
Todd reported that 2014 was the information/distribution phase of the project and in 2015 they will be moving into planning stages for the project. Todd discussed hosting groups at Northern Edge Algonquin showcasing how to create experiential tourism utilizing the resources and assets available in small communities – Todd brings these groups around the region highlighting the unique features and attractions that make the Almaguin Highlands special and how you can utilize them in fostering tourism – for example, Highlander Brew Co., Board’s Honey Farm and the Iron Skillet. The next phase of the project will begin with a meeting scheduled to take place on Thursday January 15th at the South River Council Chambers at 6:00 p.m. Those interested in the project and looking for more information should check out the website www.almaguinumbrella.com or contact Todd Lucier at firstname.lastname@example.org
Kimberly introduced herself to the group as the Deputy Clerk for the Municipality of Powassan. Kimberly has picked up Shelley’s projects after her contract completed. Kimberly reported that the new Industrial Park has two lots that will be for sale after one company backed out – the lots are available at a cost of $3,333.33/acre for light industrial. The Maple Syrup Festival will be held on Saturday April 25th, vendors are already beginning to register for the event. Kimberly also reported that the new council in Powassan is working together very well and discussions continue regarding an Economic Development Officer for the Municipality after Shelley’s departure.
The Almaguin Highlands Arts Council (AHAC) was formed to provide a platform on which to display talent, create awareness, and provide support for the many different artists, artisans, and creative professionals throughout the region. The mission of the arts council is to build and sustain a community of artists recognized for its excellence and innovation, and to provide support and leadership for all forms of the arts on behalf of the residents of the Almaguin Highlands. AHAC is inclusive of all forms of art but Hazel informed the AHED committee today that the Arts Council is looking to encompass more of the Literary Arts and Performing Arts in addition to their current membership. Hazel discussed three major projects for AHAC – There are two studio tours that take place over the summer (one in conjunction with the “Sweater Weather” weekend), and Art Show & Sale that takes place in October, and the bi-annual creation and distribution of the Almaguin Highlands Arts Directory which is a document that tends to stay on people’s tables all year round.
Carol Armstrong/McMurrich Monteith
Carol discussed the upcoming 46th Sprucedale Winter Carnival that will be taking place over February 13th – 15th, 2015. The theme this year is “Mexican Fiesta”. Many fun activities have been planned for the weekend including a variety night with a mexican theme dinner on Friday night, Saturday there will be a parade, pancake breakfast, dog sled presentation, Seniors penny & bake sale, kid’s and adult games outside the community center, a porta tank polar bear plunge challenge, bingo, Fire & Ice skating party and followed up by an Adult Valentine Dance with Sean Cotton performing. Sunday the Peter Hall Memorial Ice Fishing Tournament will be taking place from 12:00 noon to 4:00 p.m.
Jim Altseimer/Granite Ridge Campground
Jim came to the AHED meeting today to hear community reports around the table and what is going on in the various communities. Jim is open to partnering with business and organizations in the Almaguin Highlands.
Jeff reported that the Kearney Dog Sled Races will be held this year on February 6th, 7th and 8th. There will be a potluck dinner held on February 21st to celebrate Heritage Day and Volunteer Appreciation. The Town of Kearney is establishing an Economic Development Committee which Jeff hopes to secure a seat on. Jeff discussed the potential that the Ralph Bice Wilderness & Sustainability Centre has for the area as well – more information to come. The Strategic Plan done in 2008 is also currently being reviewed. There is a Seniors Zone Meeting to be held on January 22nd in Bracebridge – the executive meeting will be held in the morning with 22 club presidents and vice presidents discussing what they hope can be accomplished this year and objectives to follow up on. There will be a Fall Festival in September for Zone 29.
Jessica reported that they are moving into year end at WORC and the end of the current funding contract, they are awaiting word from the Ontario Women’s Directorate on continued funding. Entrepreneurial Skills Training has started in South River and will start soon in Burk’s Falls – there is still space at the Burk’s Falls location, for more information or to register please call 705-386-9672 or email email@example.com The Life Skills Course taught at Almaguin Highlands Secondary School has also come to an end – approximately 50 students took the course over the past couple of months through the careers/civics classes. Life Skills has been incorporated into WORC’s core programming with a course aimed at adults rolling out in the fall of 2015. The next Almaguin Women’s Resource & Business Meeting is set to take place on Wednesday January 28th with a topic of “Learning How To Say No” at Marc Anthony’s Restaurant in Sundridge. A Bookkeeping Workshop is also being offered through a client of WORC whom is utilizing the Board Room Space to offer the workshop to women in the Almaguin Highlands. The Annual Winter Clothing Exchange has come to an end at WORC however there are still a number of coats/mitts/scarves/hats available to those in need – stop by the Centre to browse through anytime. The WORC office is open Monday thru Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
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