Present: Jessica Busch, WORC; Chantal Perron MacIntosh, WORC; Carly Hughes, Business Centre of Nipissing/Parry Sound; Shelley Willis, EDO Powassan; Cyndi Culbert, Great North Arrow; Steve Munro, Westwind Forestry; Merv Mulligan, McMurrich/Monteith; John Santarossa, EDO Magnetawan; Dave Gray, CDO Burk’s Fall/Armour/Ryerson; Rosalind Hall, Ryerson Township; Carole Mantha, MDNM; Laura McNeice, CAEDA; Jeff Johnston, USCO; David Stewart, Almaguin Highlands Inc.; Karen Insley Stewart, Almaguin Highlands Inc.
Business Arising (AHED Business): A big thank you to John Santarossa and the Municipality of Magnetawan for hosting this AHED meeting.
A brief discussion regarding Showcase Almaguin took place. Overall the day was successful with positive feedback and reviews. A few suggestions for the organizing committee for future events included eliminating government speakers in order to focus more on the business presentations; holding draws at the end of the day in order to entice participants to stay all day; perhaps change the day of the event to a Monday or Friday; survey businesses prior to event to see what works best for them; round tables vs. long tables to promote networking; a special afternoon key note speaker that will draw a large crowd. There were also suggestions that a representative from AHED could attend local Municipal Council Meetings to present AHED and Showcase Almaguin.
Cyndi Culbert of the Great North Arrow offered to share space for an AHED update monthly in her newspaper. Jessica indicated that she could put together a brief highlight of the meeting for inclusion upon committee approval. Other suggestions included running a monthly notice stating when the AHED meetings take place.
John Santarossa/EDO Magnetawan
John indicated that items, as outlined in the January 2014 minutes, are still a work in progress.
Dave Gray/CDO Burk’s Falls, Armour, Ryerson
Dave reported that the 3rd Friday Coffee House is taking place on Friday March 21st – these events take place every month with no cover charge and about 7-8 local acts, arrive early as seats go fast. There will be an Adult Baseball Tournament hosted by the Armour Ryerson Burk’s Falls and Emsdale Agricultural Societies held on April 12th/13th – teams will cost $300.00 and must have at least 3 ladies on each team. You can register your team by calling Dawn at 705-224-3657 All proceeds will go to support both Agricultural Society Fairs. There will be a fundraiser held on Friday March 28th with an “Evening of Music” at Land of Lakes School Theatre at 7 p.m. The fundraiser is to support the purchase of a bus for seniors transportation. There will be many local bands and artists as well as a donation box, silent auction and 50/50 draw. There will be a fundraiser “The Hits of 1984” on April 5th from 7-9p.m. at the Dream Centre in Burk’s Falls to support the rehabilitation of the Burk’s Falls Towne Cinema and the purchase of a Digital Projector. Advance tickets are available at Burk’s Falls Kwik Way – Adults $15; Kids under 12 $5.
This summer consider hiring a student and participate in the Summer Jobs Service initiative. This initiative will provide a $2.00 per hour wage subsidy up to a maximum of 560 hours per position. Subsidized placements must not begin before April 1, 2014 and must not extend past September 30, 2014. There is no minimum number of weeks. Students must be between the ages of 15 and 30 upon commencement of employment. Application forms can be found on the Ministry of Northern Development & Mines website: http://ontario.ca/northernsummerjobs
Please submit your application before April 30, 2014.
Laura McNeice/EDO CAEDA
Laura reported that Humaniqa (a Human Resources Tool) is now available on a 2 year subscription in Central and South Almaguin and can be accessed at the South River Library, the Sundridge Library, the Burk’s Falls Library and Employment North – the service can be accessed online or via phone. Dave Gray noted that Humaniqa offers an HR Health Check and workplan which is ideal for business application, they also provide employee handbooks. ACT 2014 will be taking place at Almaguin Highlands Secondary School on April 30th from 1 – 7pm. ACT 2014 is an Almaguin Careers and Trades Fair for students, parents and job seekers. There will be a Business Expo organized by CAEDA on May 9th/10th held at the South River Arena – there is still space left – for more information or to book a booth, please contact Laura at email@example.com
Sundridge will celebrate it’s 125th anniversary with a hockey tournament and dinner on March 22nd. SOFA Communications has been hired to create another video for CAEDA highlighting manufacturing opportunities – they will be incorporating the larger Almaguin area. Laura, along with Jessica and Chantal from the Women’s Own Resource Centre will be attending the Cottage Life Show in Toronto on March 28th/29th/30th representing Central Almaguin.
Jeff discussed how he has been involved with AHED for 11 years in many different faculties (as a council member, KPABA) and now Jeff has moved to a new career path – USCO (United Senior Citizen’s of Ontario). Jeff will be taking over the role of President of Zone 39 in May of this year at the Annual Meeting. A person is considered a senior and may join the group at the age of 55. USCO has a large focus on social inclusion and fundraising. Jeff emphasized that there are still a lot of things seniors need and says his focus will be on what can be done to help seniors. Jeff also discussed that he would like to step down as the Chair of the AHED committee – after group discussion, Jeff will Chair the AHED meeting in April at which point a new Chair will be appointed.
Jessica reported that the Entrepreneurial Skills Training Sessions have just wrapped up for the Spring with high participation levels this year – the course will be offered again in September. Life Skills 101 has launched in the High School, the program is a 10 week course aimed a high school students covering topics such as time management and goal setting, managing stress in a healthy way, income tax, banking, household budgets, college applications and OSAP and much more – 8 students are participating in the course (6 girls/2 boys). The Almaguin Women’s Resource & Business Network’s February meeting took place at Marc Anthony’s Restaurant in Sundridge with the topic of Setting Personal Goals and How to Achieve Them. March’s meeting will be held at Sherri’s Diner in South River with a topic of Financial Freedom. The Resource & Business Network meetings are held every month on the last Wednesday of the month. It is year end at the Women’s Own Resource Centre so things are very busy with reporting and wrapping up programs for the summer. There is potential for a couple of new initiatives to come out of WORC this summer, Jessica will keep the group informed.
Carly Hughes/Business Centre of Nipissing and Parry Sound
Carly reported that the Business Centre is very busy with year end. They currently have three job postings: A Business Programs Coordinator Intern, a Project Manager for High School Entrepreneurship Outreach, a Project Officer for Microlending for Women. All three have been attached to the minutes of this month’s meeting. The Business Centre is holding a dinner tonight (March 20th) to celebrate the Youth Entrepreneurship Program and its success. All 20 spots were filled this year. International Women’s Day Celebrations were held on March 4th in Parry Sound with 43 participants and March 6th in North Bay with 60 participants – both events were successful with positive feedback. An E-Business event was held on February 26th with 30 participants at the Knight’s Inn Conference & Event Centre in Parry Sound – Carly encouraged other groups to utilize the space which is newly available in Parry Sound. A Youth Job Strategy Forum was held on February 27th. The next Lunch & Learn in Parry Sound will feature “Advertising – Fundamentals & Rules” by Vertiz and will be held on Thursday March 27th from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. please contact Carly at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to register to attend. The Summer Company Program and the FedNor Business Plan Challenge are open once again this year. The Summer Company Program’s deadline for applications is May 23rd and there are 25 spots to fill. The FedNor Business Plan Challenge’s deadline for applications is Mid May and the Business Centre is accepting as many as possible.
Shelley Willis/EDO Powassan
Shelley reported that the annual Maple Syrup Tapping Celebration took place on March 9th at Matthews Sugar’s Bush in preparation for the upcoming Maple Syrup Festival. April 6th and 13th there are all you can eat pancake breakfasts taking place at the legion leading up to the Maple Syrup Festival which will take place on Saturday April 26th from 9 – 4 being free to attend for all ages. The new website for the Municipality has gone live, you can check it out at www.powassan.net There will be an Economic Development Day held on Saturday May 3rd at the Arena – Government representatives, Funding Agencies and Local Businesses are all invited and encouraged to attend.
Cyndi Culbert/Great North Arrow
Cyndi is the owner/operator of the Great North Arrow Newspaper which publishes on a monthly basis out of Dunchurch. Cyndi discussed her excitement in partnering with the South Almaguin Visitors Guide which will be released this year. She reported on a video produced by the Whitestone Lake Public School Parents Association – “Living and Learning in a Small Town” the video can be found at http://vimeo.com/89195222 Cyndi reported that she will be launching a live talk show in partnership with Hunters Bay Radio (whom receive their FM license this April or May) called “Eyes on Almaguin”. The talk show will feature a 10 minute “What’s going on?” update followed by 20 minutes of interviews with local business owners and residents. Dunchurch will host the second annual Chili Cook Off this summer on August 9th with the Big Charity Chili Society. Last year there were 18 competitors, Cyndi encouraged Municipalities and Businesses to enter this year – tables are free.
Karen Insley Stewart/Almaguin Highlands Inc.
The Almaguin Highlands signage project is progressing well. David Stewart and Karen Insley Stewart are gathering several pieces of information, like signage policy, guidelines, possible overall costing and potential funding sources are being explored. Sharing this preliminary information with a group of Municipal Stakeholders will take place before the next AHED meeting. Contacts for this information are being pursued and discussed on an ongoing basis. Nothing is confirmed at this point. Karen indicated that some of this information will be kept confidential. There was discussion at the table regarding this project and Karen/Dave initiating this process. The committee agreed in January that Dave and Karen would explore where the signage would go in regards to boundaries, MTO approval process and cost of signage – it was agreed that this information would be gathered by Dave and Karen for bringing back to the AHED committee. There was some confusion as to Dave and Karen meeting with a group of Municipal Stakeholders as no information or presentation has been brought to AHED as of yet. Jeff voiced concerns about Almaguin Highlands Inc. representing AHED without AHED having any information regarding the project as Karen indicated that she did not want to reveal more information at this time until she could collect more info, Karen stated that Almaguin Highlands Inc. would not be involved. Jessica inquired as to whether this investigative process would be costing AHED money to which Karen replied no. Steve Munro assisted in clarification with stating that the AHED committee agreed in January that Dave and Karen would gather and collect all of the required information in moving forward on the signage project for the Almaguin Highlands in order to present the information to the AHED committee. (Ammendment requested May 15, 2014 to place this item in Business Arising as this is not under company business)
Dave Stewart/Almaguin Highlands Inc.
Dave inquired about the BEAM program (delivered by Blue Sky and the Muskoka Community Network) and how funding went up from $2,000 to $5,000 and covers up to 75% of eligible costs. Dave asked the group why he was not made aware and Karen asked why the information was not presented at an AHED meeting.
Steve Munro/Westwind Forestry
Steve reported that the Cambrian Group is beginning to move wood out of the region by rail soon. We have an abundance of high quality wood moving out of the area – a lot going to Temiskaming. With the price of natural gas going up the sale of firewood is rising. Steve indicated that they will be seeking a youth intern shortly. Westwind Forestry will have a booth at the upcoming ACT 2014 Career and Trade Show taking place at Almaguin Highlands Secondary School – they are currently short of truck drivers.
Merv reported that the ice is still in great shape on their outdoor rink and has definitely been an asset for the township. Winter Carnival took place over the Family Day Weekend and was very busy and was a success with many families coming out to take part in activities. There will be a public meeting on April 12th in regards of what to do with the old school house – potentials could include a upstairs memorabilia room, classroom for workshops? There will be an Easter Party held on April 12th at the Community Centre with the Easter Bunny making a surprise visit. The National Hockey Player’s donated equipment has been returned after the season, it has all been cleaned and stored for use next year. There is a learning session taking place at the library focused on how to use your e-reader and how to get books from the library loaded onto your e-reader.
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