Present: Jessica Busch, WORC; John Santarossa, CAEDA; David Stewart, Almaguin Highlands Inc.; Ron Begin, FedNor; Carol Armstrong, McMurrich/Monteith; Courtney Rizzo, CDO Kearney/Magnetawan/McMurrich Monteith/Perry; KPMM; Dave Gray, CDO Burk’s Falls/Armour/Ryerson; Emily Ryan, IION; Sonia Kaminski, Westwind Forestry; Kimberley Bester, Powassan; Henning Golle, Business Centre of Nipissing/Parry Sound.
Thank you to the Village of South River for hosting this month’s AHED meeting.
4.1 Showcase Almaguin Update –
Showcase Almaguin Update: The theme for this year’s Showcase Almaguin will be “Growing Almaguin” focusing on good news stories happening around the region. Speakers have been confirmed, they include: Highlander Brew Co.; Roman Marchi from Near North Enviro-Education Centre; Powassan Festival Committees; Andrew Farnsworth presenting on Recreation on the Magnetawan River; Dave Wright presenting on Cycling Almaguin; Dave Gray presenting on the Villages of Almaguin regional branding; the BR&E Launch. Booths that have confirmed a space include: CAEDA; BACED; KPMM; MNDM; IION; 211; Labour Market Group; The Business Centre; Chamber of Commerce; HR North; Multicultural Centre; Westwind Forestry Stewardship. The budget for the event will be approximately $3,000. Marketing will include a half page advertisement in the Almaguin News along with a digital takeover campaign, but will mostly focus on utilizing Social Media and existing email networks. The event will run from 10:00 – 3:00 however the Business Support Booths will be asked to stay until 5:00 to allow opportunities for participants to network and those who were unable to attend the day, to pick up some information. Folders are currently being created by Aben Graphics in Huntsville with images gathered from local photographers.
John has been busy updating local business listings and working with local businesses in the area. There has been a big push for the Cycling Almaguin initiative – John has been encouraging local business to get involved by registering their business on ontariobybike.ca
John attended a BR&E retreat on May 10th and a Labour Market Forum on May 18th. There will be a FICE exchange with Mattawa in August – there are a lot of similar issues and concerns so the exchange should prove to be quite informative – findings will be reported in September.
Dave Gray/CDO Burk’s Falls, Armour, Ryerson
Dave encouraged local municipalities to support the cycling initiative in the region. Dave also reported that the RED program is currently on hold and the funds potentially being integrated to the Jobs and Prosperity Fund. Dave has formulated a letter to be sent to Minister Gravelle outlining some considerations for rural communities – please see letter attached. If any interested/potentially affected parties would like, they could send something along as well.
Dave Stewart/Almaguin Highlands Inc.
Park 2 Park is gearing up for their new season with trail pass sales being up and trail monitors out. There are a large amount of trails to upkeep with washouts, bridge repairs and general maintenance. Park 2 Park is looking into licensing for ATV’s and such. Dave discussed local online webcam portals and how they are very popular for tourists and visitors to the area – “Track My Plow” seems to be a very popular website as well. Dave reported that his website is now a mobile ready site. Dave also encouraged that businesses really need to place themselves on Google maps with their address and information. Dave discussed advertising for their AGM indicating that $750 was spend on print advertising which was not effective at all – more efforts will be focused on digital advertising. The Paddle for Fairvern fundraiser is fast approaching – sponsorship packages are available – for more information, please contact Dave.
Ron reported business as usual – FedNor is looking at good investment projects in the region. Ron also discussed the Canada 150 Funding that is currently available for Community Development projects – FedNor will cover 50% of costs up to $100,000 per project – small projects are also being considered. For more information, please contact Ron.
Carol Armstrong/McMurrich Monteith
Carol is pleased to join the group today, she is here to listen to Community Updates.
Courtney Rizzo/CDO Kearney, Perry, Magnetawan, McMurrich Monteith
Courtney discussed the Cycling Almaguin Initiative being spearheaded by Dave Wright. There are five parts to this initiative including Signage, GPS Routes, Bike Racks, Businesses registering on Ontariobybike.ca and a website. A ‘Shop Local’ pilot program has just been launched – you will find the brochure attached to this month’s minutes – there is also a Facebook Group launched for the initiative.
Emily reported that they are currently waiting for funding from FedNor for the Step Forward Entrepreneurs Program and the Innovative Manufacturing & Facilitation Program – they are hoping to receive funding within the month. The Young Entrepreneurship Placement Program launched for the second year on May 2nd – they have 11 youths participating in the program from all over Ontario and 2 from Quebec. On June 16th IION will be hosting an Introduction to Innovation & Continuous Improvement Workshop – please see flyer attached for more info. There will also be a Youth Professional Development Day on June 17th.
Sonia Kaminski/Westwind Forestry Stewardship
Sonia was pleased to join the group today representing Westwind Forestry – she is a recently hired intern with the organization. Sonia discussed the 50 Million Tree Program – the goal is for 50 million trees to be planted by 2025 – they are currently at the 20 million mark. The program provides subsidies to landowners – there are currently five properties in the area accessing this program. The minimum size of land being planted on to be considered for this program is 1 hectare/2.5 acres which can hold roughly 1500 trees (white pine, red pine, spruce). If 4 hectares or more are planted there is also a managed forest tax incentive program that can reduce up to 75% of municipal taxes on that land. Site visits are currently being explored for next year. Sonia provided some handouts on invasive species in the area – for more information please check out the website that tracks invasive species. Sonia also informed the group that Giant Hogweed has been spotted in the area – please use extreme caution around these plants as they can cause severe chemical burns.
Kim reported that the 19th Powassan Maple Syrup Festival was very successful with excellent weather – numbers are difficult to track however they matched/surpassed visitor numbers from previous years. Planning for the 20th Annual Festival will begin in the Fall. Kim also discussed a couple of upcoming events in Powassan including a Canoe Race on June 5th and a Fishing Derby being held on June 10th.
Henning Golle/Business Centre of Nipissing/Parry Sound
Henning reported that they are currently working with 10 business through their Entrepreneurship program. The Micro-Lending program for women will be launched soon in North Bay and Parry Sound. Lunch & Learn’s will start again in September – topics could include taxes, insurance, marketing, etc.
Henning also updated the group with a report from the Labour Market Group – LMG’s Employment Conference was held recently and over 75 people attended, key economic trends and local employment service impacts were highlighted. This is the beginning of future conferences to bring awareness to employment concerns in the region. LMG took part in the Almaguin BR&E retreat to discuss possible outcomes and action strategies related to the responses – they will be leading the partnership strategies as they pertain to workforce development. LMG is a major sponsor of Showcase Almaguin and will have a tradeshow booth highlighting the EmployerOne Survey. LMG continues to produce monthly labour market publications for the Parry Sound region – their monthly Labour Focus offers local, provincial and national job related statistical information. The monthly Job Vacancy Study indicated that there were 136 vacancies posted within the Parry Sound district during the month of April – this is a significant (+9.7%) increase from the March total of 124 and significantly higher (+30.8%) than the previous 10-month average of 104 vacancies per month – the large increase is likely attributed to a large increase in summer based seasonal employment within the region. If you are not receiving these publications and would like to, please contact Stacie@thelabourmarketgroup.ca
Jessica reported that WORC will be seeking a new facilitator for the September launch of Entrepreneurial Skills Training – the course is going to be offered in a new location as well, more information to come. Life Skills Training will be offered over the summer starting on June 14th – for more information, please see attached flyer. The May R&B meeting will be held at Eagle Lake Golf Course with a topic of “Overcoming Negativity: Power of Positive Thinking”. The June R&B Meeting will be held at the Quiet Bay Lodge in Magnetawan with Madrie Secord presenting on Finances. The AGM for WORC will be held on Thursday June 23rd at the South River Seniors Centre from 7:00 – 8:00, all are welcome to attend, please RSVP to email@example.com For more information on any of the services and supports offered through WORC, please feel free to contact the office at 705-386-9672 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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