Minutes of meeting

Thursday, October 15, 2009 10:00 – 12 noon

South River Town Office


Present:  Merv Mulligan, McMurrich/Monteith; Gilbert Lane, Ryerson; Jessica Busch, FedNor Intern WORC; Jeff Johnston, Kearney; Jennifer Van Amelsfoort, Kearney; Morley Moore, Whitestone; Kay Tod, Magnetawan Business Association; Chetna Sharma, MNDMF; Mark Urbanski, Magnetawan; Frank Tod, Magnetawan; Stephen Boyle, Chisolm; Andre Rieser, Ontario’s Near North Travel Association  Regrets:  Catherine Mayne, NECO; Bonnie Tucker, Near North Travel Assoication

  1. Welcome
  2. Call to order  Merv Mulligan, Chair 10:02
  3. Declaration of Pecuniary Interest  N/A
  4. Guest Speaker:  Andre Rieser, Near North Travel Association

Andre talked about the Near North Travel Association to the audience.  The association was formed in 1974 and it covers from Novar – Temagami and from Mattawa – Warren.  The Near North Trails Association’s board consists of representatives from each region as well as from each sector (i.e. trails, etc.).  They are partnered with the 5 sister regions (Sunset, North of Superior, Wilderness region, Algoma, and Rainbow), as well as The Near North Trails Association, Near North Skidoo Association, the North Bay Nugget and Discovery Trails.  They secured the funding for several summer student employment opportunities assisting at the information centers in Burk’s Falls, South River and the Almaguin Highlands Information Center located on Highway 11.  They have created a web portal for Northern Ontario which includes sections on things to do, places to go, traveller resources, and a forum to share your northern experience.  The URL is www.northernontario.travel  Andre also shared Ontario’s Near North website which can be found at www.ontariosnearnorth.ca  The Near North Travel Association is working on a new business and marketing plan for anticipated changing times.  They are moving more to the web and less in print.  They are working on a new interactive website which would assist people passing through as well as people coming to stay.  He would like to be able to link all the municipalities to the website.  They are waiting for funding to proceed.  Due to the economy, Andre reported that most resorts in the area are down 30-40% this past summer in occupancy.  Andre also reported that there was an announcement made stating that $40 million dollars was going to be allocated from the new HST integrated tax into 11 tourist regions, however details remain to be confirmed.  The General Transition Rules for the new HST tax came out yesterday and Andre Near North is trying to organize an information session in our area, however at this time he does not yet have a date set.  There was a Tourism Summit on October 1 which was attended by Michael Kurts, Assistant Deputy Minister Policy and Development Division to further discuss this.  Kay Tod brought up the fact that the Almaguin Highlands needs to be branded and identifiable on maps online, which Andre said he would look into, as well as the project of an FM radio station for the area to promote events in the area.  Overall, Andre wanted to ensure that everyone was aware that the Near North Travel Association’s biggest goal is to promote tourism in our area.  Andre found the meeting very beneficial and is going to suggest to his executives that a representative for the Near North Travel Association be a regular attendee at AHED meetings.

  1. Adoption of Minutes of September 2009

Amendments:  7.18 “The Build Canada Fund will be used” changed to:

                             “The Build Canada Fund will be considered”

          The Ministry of Northern Development and Mines is now:

          The Ministry of Northern Development and Mines and Forestry


Moved by:  Stephen Boyle  Second by:  Morley Moore

  1. AHED Business:


  1. Reports from Community and Resource Partners

7.1     Ministry of Northern Development and Mines and Forestry   Sharma

There is a Tourism Investment Workshop taking place in North Bay at the Clarion Resort on November 4, 2009 by the Economic Developers Council of Ontario (EDCO).  There will be a $50 fee but it includes all the hands-on tools and resources needed.  This workshop will assist in improving potential and how to bring investors into tourism.  There will be another Tourism Investment Workshop held in Bracebridge on December 9, 2009.  If you would like to attend please go to www.edco.on.ca and register.  Any program information needed can be found at www.nohfc.com

Forestry has now also been added on to the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines, the details of what this change will encompass are yet to be determined and further updates will be presented at the next meeting.

          7.2     NECO                                                                                 Mayne

          7.3     FedNOR                                                                    Begin

          7.4     Blue Sky                                                                    Buell

          7.5     WORC/South River                                                           Scott

Brenda was unable to attend this meeting however the FedNOR intern was there.  WORC is continuing along with the Carpool Almaguin Project.  Jessica passed around the ad in this week’s Almaguin News which included a write up on What’s New at WORC as well as information on Carpool Almaguin.  Progress is continuing on establishing the call center, acquiring signs for parking areas.  Letters are being printed to be distributed to all major businesses in North Bay, Huntsville, and Parry Sound, all municipalities and towns within the Almaguin Highlands, as well as all of the Social Services in the area.

          7.6     Ontario’s Near North                                              Lagace

          7.7     Township of Chisolm                                              Boyle

The Mayor of Chisolm, Barbara Groves, has recently resigned due to health issues.  The Deputy Mayor, Heather Ward is also on a leave of absence due to health issues.  Councillor, Doug Penny is resigning as he is moving out of the area.  This leaves two opening at the Township Office so they are inviting application from the Township.  Interviews for Doug’s job take place on Tuesday, October 20, 2009.  The new bridge in Chisolm is opening.  Opening ceremonies take place on October 23, 2009 at 11:30a.m.  The AHED committee would like to send a card to Barbara thanking her for her years of service and dedication.  Moved by:  Gilbert Lane  Second by:  Morley Moore

          7.8     Ryerson, Armour, Burk’s Falls                                         Lane

Harvest Festival took place last weekend and was a success.  Approximately 2000 people attended and stayed for the weekend on Peter Camani’s property “Screaming Heads”.  It has been announced in Burk’s Falls that there will be no Snowmobile Races this year due to a lack of interested organizers.  Tim Hortons is now operating and doing very well.

          7.9     Municipality of Whitestone                                               Moore

The 5km stretch of Highway 520 is complete.  The 9 km Bunny Trail stretch has also been completed.  Resurfacing is going to wait until the spring however due to the wet weather.  They are still waiting for MNR approval in order to use the grant on Trails.  Morley explained that the Mayor is going to call the Ministry of Natural Resources to speed up the process.  Jennifer McCourt has been working on this project, all the trails are flagged, just waiting for MNR inspection approval.  A tender for a surveyor has gone out.  A public consultation is being organized with a date to be announced once details are determined.

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

The covered pavilion project is underway with the steel roof having been constructed.  They are still awaiting permits and approval from MNR for Park 2 Park trails.  There is a chance that another hi speed internet tower will be going up but details are still to be determined.  Bell and Rogers have cleared a site for the new cell tower to go in but construction has not yet started.  They have put out ads for a youth intern and will be doing interviews for that position.

          7.12   Kearney Economic Development                                      Johnston

Jeff introduced the new intern, Jennifer Van Amelsfoort, funded through the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund and the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines and Forestry.  Jennifer will be involved in the economic development activities in the area.

Kearney has received G8 funding to beautify the main street, construction is to be completed this fall.  Highway 518 through Kearney is part of a Build Canada Project which is underway now.  Jeff reported that he attended a meeting in Kearney on September 30 with the Ministry of Natural Resources, and the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines and Forestry (The Ministry of Tourism was also supposed to be there but was unable to attend) addressing the Ralph Bice Center project which has been in the works for about ten years.  Jeff also spoke highly of the new Natural Resources Minister, Donna Cannsfield, stating that she is very approachable, cooperative and a pleasure to work with.

7.13Central Almaguin Economic Development Association

7.14   Magnetawan Area Business Association                          Tod

There will be a bus trip on October 22, 2009 to meet Norm Miller in Toronto and present him with a petition to save the Burk’s Falls Health Center.  The petition carries approximately 9000 signatures.  The bus leaves at 5:30 a.m. and arrives approximately at 10 a.m.  The Ontario Healthcare Coalition is supporting this and will be paying for the bus trip there and back.  Please let Kay know if you would like to go as they need to know how many numbers they have in order to secure adequate transportation.  There is a press conference to take place at the Burk’s Falls Healthcare Center on October 24, 2009 followed by a fundraiser concert to take place at Land Of Lakes Senior Public School at 7:00.  October 27, 2009, Barry Monaghan, Interim CEO of Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare will be speaking about the hospital closure at the Burks Falls Arena at 5:30 pm as well for the public and all those that wish to attend. 

          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

New website was approved at council, the staff is now in the process of coordinating all of the not for profit agencies and municipalities to link on the site.  They are trying to gather as much local information as possible to add to the new website.  Stimulus funding is moving along possibly considering upgrades to the community center, new library/medical clinic, pay garage, etc…

          7.19   Nipissing                                                                   Negrinotti

          7.20   Almaguin Highlands Council for the Arts                                 Sohm

          7.21   Village of South River                                             Dickerson

          7.22   Perry Township                                                      Dunn/Love


8.  Correspondence


9.  In – Camera


10.  Adjournment:  Motion:  Stephen Boyle  Second:  Morley Moore

Next Meeting Date:  Thursday November 19, 2009, 10 am – 12 noon

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

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