Present: Jessica Busch, WORC; David Stewart, Almaguin Highlands Inc.; Carol Armstrong, McMurrich/Monteith; Rosalind Hall, Ryerson Township; Kimberly Bester, Powassan; Marilee Koenderink, Employment North; Karen Insley-Stewart, Almaguin Highlands Inc / Cottage Pain Clinic; Ron Begin, FedNor; Henning Golle, Business Centre of Nipissing/Parry Sound; Dave Gray, CDO Burk’s Falls/Armour/Ryerson.
Thank you to Employment North for hosting this month’s AHED meeting.
Rosalind Hall/Ryerson Township
Rosalind reported on the two museums being run by the Historical Society of Burk’s Falls/Armour/Ryerson – The Watt Farm and The Old School House. Solar East has given the Historical Society a 20 year lease to operate the Watt Farm as a museum. The Watt Farm will be open over the winter on Thursdays – Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and also includes space for artisans selling their products. Admission to the Watt Farm is a suggested donation of $2.
Carol Armstrong/McMurrich Monteith
Carol discussed that council is sad to report that the old school house (where the seniors run their thrift shop and community events) might have to be sold. There were suggestions around the table including having the senior’s group form an NPO or a committee of council. NETWORC is going well, they are currently looking for more members. Carol also reported that new signage went up yesterday for the area cemetaries.
Dave Stewart/Almaguin Highlands Inc.
Dave reported a good year with Park 2 Park. They are currently preparing to install new signage including history of the area and space for businesses to advertise. P2P is seeking out capital to improve trails in the area. Dave talked briefly about the Amazing Places Initiative designed to have tourist attractions be more visible in the area with information easily found.
Dave is very active in marketing the region – he reiterated that Facebook is an excellent platform for sharing events and promoting the region. Dave also mentioned Google Maps and the importance of getting local businesses on the map and ensuring their accuracy.
The Women’s Own Resource Centre’s programs are well underway with Entrepreneurial Skills Training taking place in Burk’s Falls and South River – there are ten women currently attending these classes. Life Skills was also launched this fall in South River – a ten week course that covers topics including: Asset Building; Self-Esteem and Confidence; Managing Stress; Time Management and Goal Setting; Household Budgeting; Banking and Personal Finances; Interpersonal Communication; Resume Development and Job Interviews. The Almaguin Women’s Resource & Business Network Meeting was held in Kudos last month with WORC presenting on “Hashtags Explained: How to use them in your social media marketing”. The October meeting will be held on Wednesday, October 28th at the Fox & Kyte in Burk’s Falls with a topic of “Improving Self-Esteem & Building Confidence”. The November meeting will be held on Wednesday, November 25th and will be our 3rd Annual Christmas Mini-Trade Show – in previous years, we have had 18-24 women attend and bring their products and/or services to sell and promote at a potluck style luncheon and network amongst local business women. This year will be very similar however the public will also be encouraged to stop in and browse. The Warm Winter Clothing Exchange will be launching within the next week or so – a flyer will be sent out encouraging people to donate warm clothing for women, children and men. The WORC office is open from Monday to Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and people are encouraged to drop by and take some, leave some or exchange some. Last year, WORC was able to help over 100 families get warm clothing for the winter season. Donations of all sorts are accepted year round as there is always an organization, agency or family that can benefit. For information about any of our programs, please feel free to contact Jessica or Chantal at 705-386-9672 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Henning Golle/The Business Centre of Nipissing/Parry Sound
Henning introduced himself to the group, he is the new Business Development Advisor with the Business Centre of Nipissing/Parry Sound – Henning is located at the Canadore Campus in Parry Sound. He reported that small business week is next week and discussed two events taking place – the first in Burk’s Falls will be taking place on October 22nd with the Business Centre presenting on Business Plan Development. There is another event taking place in Parry Sound. Henning also told the group that there are ongoing classes taking place currently through the Business Centre with new intakes taking place in January.
Ron has been away for a few months and the group was pleased to see him back at the table. Ron reported that everything is fairly quiet at the moment as we wait for the Federal Elections to take place. Ron did discuss the CIP 150 Program (Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program) which is a new funding opportunity to mark the celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary, the Government of Canada is investing in the rehabilitation or improvement, including expansion, of existing community infrastructure assets and facilities. Organizations that are eligible include Municipalities and First Nations, Not for Profit Organizations such as community, economic development and Aboriginal organizations, or industry and business associations. Eligible projects will be for the rehabilitation or improvement, including expansion, of existing infrastructure for public use – projects must fall within these categories to be eligible for funding: community centres; cultural centres; museums; libraries; parks; recreational facilities such as local arenas, gyms, swimming pools, and sports fields; cenotaphs; other existing community infrastructure that will have a public benefit. The amount of funding being requested under the Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program cannot exceed 50% of the total costs of a project. Ron suggested that because there was a total of only 5.2 million for all of Northern Ontario over the next 2 years – funding asks should be kept between $40,000 - $50,000 per project.
Ron indicated that there are currently no decisions being made on projects until the Federal Election has completed – he will keep us informed. Ron indicated that two area employers are seeking workers currently – both Lofthouse Brass in Burk’s Falls and Kent’s in Sundridge are seeking employees.
Karen Insley-Stewart/Almaguin Highlands Inc; Cottage Pain Clinic
Karen spoke briefly regarding the Cottage Pain Clinic – Karen indicated they received another referral and have recently had a report of a 53% reduction in pain after using this therapy. Karen shared with the group that it is a fairly expensive treatment however testing continues and Karen is optimistic about the future for this business.
Kim indicated that Fairview Industrial Park is nearing completion – the property should be ready by late November. There are approximately 12 acres available at a cost of $3,333/acre. Kim reported that the BR&E Launch that took place on Tuesday night was very well attended. The Maple Syrup Festival 2016 planning has begun with vendor registration set to take place in January – they are hoping to expand by 15+ vendors. 2017 will mark the 20th Anniversary for the Festival. The Voodoos still remain undefeated – season passes and flex packs are still available for purchase. Kim reported that Council is looking at seniors housing and investigating what kind of funding would be available.
Marilee Koenderink/Employment North
Marilee briefly mentioned that the Canada Ontario Job Grant is open – the Grant can provide up to $10,000 in funding for staff training – more information can be found online at http://www.tcu.gov.on.ca/eng/eopg/cojg/
Marilee also discussed support for Apprenticeships including signing bonuses, employer wage subsidy, support for equipment required and much more. There is also some funding available for Multi-Barrier Youth. For more information on programs, services and supports, please feel free to contact Employment North in Sundridge.
Dave Gray/CDO Burk’s Falls, Armour, Ryerson
There is a Business Support and Funding Forum set to run on Wednesday October 22nd at the Burk’s Falls Arena. A presentation on Business Planning is taking place at 3:30 p.m. with a Support Forum to follow from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. For more information, please contact Dave Gray at 705-571-1564 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Dave briefly spoke regarding the BR&E launch as well stating that volunteers will be needed throughout the Almaguin Highlands to help support the project – Dave indicated that perhaps it would be a good project to discuss through Showcase Almaguin 2016. Dave also briefly discussed the “Villages of Almaguin” concept – a concept that developed to eliminate confusing boundaries and create a consumer brand for the area – the SAHEDC will be moving forward with this concept in the near future, currently in infancy stages.
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