Minutes of meeting

Thursday, November 19, 2009 10:00 – 12 noon

South River Town Office


Present:  Merv Mulligan, McMurrich/Monteith; Gilbert Lane, Ryerson; Jessica Busch, FedNor Intern WORC; Brenda Scott, Village of South River, WORC; Morley Moore, Whitestone; Chetna Sharma, MNDMF; Stephen Boyle, Chisolm; Jim Coleman, South River; Les Mahon, CAEDA; Mary Anne Love, Perry; John Dunn, Perry; Ron Begin, FedNor  Regrets: 

  1. Welcome
  2. Call to order:  Merv Mulligan, Chair 10:04
  3. Declaration of Pecuniary Interest:  Jessica Busch
  4. Guest Speaker: Greg Mason and Laura Fullerton – Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve.

In 2004 the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated Eastern Georgian Bay as a World Biosphere Reserve being the largest freshwater archipelagos in the world.  A biosphere brings people together who care about preserving ecology while sustaining economic development.  The overall goal of the Biosphere Reserve is to promote people and nature living in balance.  The Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve stretches from Port Severn to the French River including 347,000 hectares of shoreline ecosystems and is home to over 1000 plants, 148 habitats, 170 species of birds, 44 species of mammals and 34 species of reptiles.  Each Biosphere Reserve is intended to fulfill three basic functions.  A conservation function to preserve landscapes, ecosystems, species and genetic variation.  A development function which fosters economic and human development, which is socio-culturally and ecologically sustainable.  A logistic function which provides support for research, monitoring, education and information exchange related to local, national and global issues of conservation and development.

The Biosphere Action Group was formed in 2008 with a group of local volunteers.  This group provides residents with hands on skills for the development of environmentally friendly lifestyle choices through free workshops.  In 2009, focusing on food as a theme, BAG carried out six different “Grow Your Own Grub” workshops focusing on growing seedlings, raising chickens, herb growing, composting, container growing and beekeeping.  The number of local residents in attendance (over 30) showed these workshops have generated enormous interest in the community.  The Biosphere Action Group is working to produce a local foods directory that encourages the connection between local consumers and local food producersThey held the Festival of Food where residents had the chance to learn about local foods, gain new skills and form connections.  The McKellar Bus Tour was also run by BAG in which residents were able to tour the area and meet local food growers and learn about local food production.  This past summer a community garden was created with produce going to Harvest Share and this year the garden will be doubled in size with funding from a grant.  Activities coming up include a March break cooking and gardening program for kids called “Kids Can Grow”.  A mentoring program is also planned for the future.  The Group is always looking for volunteers and people to get involved, for more information you can check out their website at www.gbbr.ca

  1. Adoption of Minutes of October 15, 2009

Moved by:  Morley Moore  Second by:  John Dunn

  1. AHED Business:


  1. Reports from Community and Resource Partners

6.1     Ministry of Northern Development and Mines and Forestry   Sharma

There will be an information session held regarding the new HST blended tax and how this will affect businesses in the area, in North Bay at the Best Western on February 25, more information to come.

          6.2     NECO                                                                                 Mayne

          6.3     FedNOR                                                                    Begin

Preparations for the G8 are progressing.  It has been announced that the G20 will not be held in the area though.  The Ontario Winter Games have been awarded to Muskoka.  The Olympic Torch will be passing through various communities.  It will be coming across from Parry Sound and passing through South River and North Bay on December 30.  The runners have been announced and you can check the website for all other details.  Ron reported that the intern for Nipissing from last year has now been hired as a full time Economic Development Officer/Planner/I.T. Specialist and is very happy to be staying in the area.  Funding for the Train Station is in place and they are just waiting on environmental assessments.

          6.4     Blue Sky                                                                    Buell

          6.5     WORC/South River                                                            Scott

Brenda reported that the first round of workshops have been completed at WORC, she is looking into new sessions in Burk’s Falls to see if there is a high enough demand.  December is the anniversary of the Montreal Massacre, WORC will be hosting an open house on December 3 in honour of this.  Next year is WORC’s 10 year anniversary so many events will be planned throughout the year to celebrate this.  The ROPE workbook is now online and free to residents of the Almaguin Highlands.  Brenda also talked about potentially hosting a round table in the spring to discuss the effects and changes that the new HST tax will bring to small businesses in the area.  Carpool Almaguin is progressing with letters gone out to the municipalities, agencies, economic development officers and businesses.  The launch in the Almaguin News will be January 7 2010. 

          6.6     Ontario’s Near North                                              Lagace

          6.7     Township of Chisolm                                               Boyle

Interview will be taking place during the month of December to replace Barb and the first council meeting in January will declare the seat.  There will be an open house held for Barb at the Township office on November 23 from 4-7.  A card was passed around for everyone to sign thanking Barb for her years of service.

          6.8     Ryerson, Armour, Burk’s Falls                                         Lane

Working on a hospital meeting on November 26 but the outcome is still not certain.  The economic development committee is proposing projects to get involved but these are yet to be arranged.  A meeting is being proposed with businesses in February to brainstorm.

          6.9     Municipality of Whitestone                                               Moore

The main hall is being refurbished and additions to the building will be made in 2010.  They are still having setbacks regarding the trails and the MNR which they are currently trying to work out.  The town is on the verge of losing it’s post office so the township is renting a trailer at town hall for 6 months in order to make other arrangements.  An emergency trailer (8ft x 12ft) has been purchased and they will be having a meeting to determine how to best utilize it and where to set it up.  This emergency trailer holds cots, blankets, food, water and a generator.  In an emergency situation after 12 hours of no power it could potentially be opened and set up in the Main Hall.  Morley will share the information on how to purchase an emergency trailer with the other municipalities.

  1.           Powassan Economic Development Report                                 Cormier
  2.      McMurrich/Monteith                                                   Mulligan

Merv reported that they have applied for a low rental senior building which would house 12 units.  Work continues on the outdoor pavilion as well as the community center.   A new intern will hopefully be hired within the next 2-3 weeks.  There still seem to be some problems and delays regarding the MNR and moving along the Park to Park trail system.  The MNR has asked for a management plan on the Perry portion of the trail which Park to Park had hoped to manage under the existing management plan.Some portion of trail had bridge concerns and may have to be considered to be closed, however it is a very high use trail by snowmobilers and other trail users as it connects the corridors from east to west.  There is enough concern with this that a meeting should be held with the MNR and as a group, delegate the trails issues and concerns directly to the minister. Hopefully there will be no issues with the trail for the winter season.  Merv’s CD is out, it is called North to Ontario 2009.  

          6.12   Kearney Economic Development                                      Johnston

6.13 Central Almaguin Economic Development Association              Mahon

Les reported that their strategic plan has been completed and they will be hiring an EDO.  The regional director of the MTO will attend their next meeting.

6.14   Magnetawan Area Business Association                          Tod

The fundraiser held at Land of Lakes to support the Burk’s Falls Hospital was a success.

          7.15   Westwind Forest Services                                                 Munro

          7.16     Citizenship & Immigration(Culture Health Promotion)       Loiselle

          7.17   Almaguin Highlands Inc.                                                   Stewart

          7.18   Municipality of Magnetawan                                   Urbanski

          7.19   Nipissing                                                                   Negrinotti

          7.20   Almaguin Highlands Council for the Arts                         Sohm

          7.21   Village of South River                                              Dickerson

Jim reported that work on the Hydro Generating Plant is hoped to be completed in late December.  Various gardens will be dug around town.  They are also opening tenders for ground source heat to compare costs.

          7.22   Perry Township                                                       Dunn/Love

Construction on the new information center has been started and they are hoping to be moved in by late summer/fall of next year.  There was a public meeting held last week regarding the Park to Park trail system where concerns were voiced that the trail is vital to resorts and businesses in the area.


8.  Correspondence


9.  In – Camera


10.  Adjournment:  Motion:  Maryann Love  Second:  Brenda Scott

Next Meeting Date:  Thursday January 21, 2010

Location:  South River Village Office, 63 Marie Street, South River

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