Minutes of meeting

Thursday, September 15th, 2011 10:00 a.m. – 12 noon

Perry Township Offices, Emsdale



Call to order ~ Merv Mulligan, Chair at 10:03

Declaration of Pecuniary Interest

Keynote Presentation: 

Kate Monk, Communications Coordinator, Explorers’ Edge ~ on the branding of our regions’ Tourism Organization( RTO 12)

& David Stewart as board member with RTO 12


- Purpose of new brand is to create an overarching brand that builds on the existing strong brand

-based on research in spring 2011 of southern Ontario residents who have travelled and paid for accommodation in last 12 months & what they’re looking for (summaries page 5 of pdf)

-7% of travellers were familiar with Almaguin Highlands as a tourism area (compared with 25% Muskoka, 22% Parry Sound and Georgian Bay and 23% Algonquin Park)  -that we’re recognized at all is a growth compared to past & pre-RTO 12, other previously unknown

- Algonquin & Muskoka scored comparatively with Toronto, New York & Niagara in terms of being considered as future destination / were also recognized names

-survey summary for sub regions (what we are as Almaguin Highlands in RTO 12)  are included with notes the presentation was based on via pdf to be attached / on rto 12.com-documents

-Who is new target audience: -like nature and outdoor adventure and also luxury and comfort ie Relaxing experiences (more on slide)– this is an opportunity for us

“We are for adventurers who love the outdoors and enjoy creature comforts” = key messaging

Naming criteria – partly based on it being an umbrella name diverse members can gather with – it was tested on Focus Groups

-Opportunity with the new brand; reposition region to attract new visitors, expand perceived product offering, increase revenues for stakeholders and uniquely position the region in an increasingly competitive marketplace

Logo – has different applications across multi-media, slightly different styles –dissemination has begun

- tagline “Naturally Adventurous” has been added  -approached as exploring something new, so could be used for culinary trails, studio tours…

- Strategy for dissemination:  -take this to new places, new marketplaces to build familiarity for all sub regions, offer experiences, link those coming for something known with those they don’t know about on the same trip


-tying in portals / tourism businesses across the region    - use Ont. Tourism $ for community economic development

-RTO 12 seeking members for Marketing Committee , don’t have a member representing Almaguin Oct 24th = next meeting  

– contracts &: pdf’s coming up: need photographer, videographer, google adworker, digital ads & overall marketing strategy

- suggestion as bringing tourism businesses and municipal economic development committees of Almaguin with RTO 12 manager James Murphy on how to brand Almaguin and involve us effectively  in rebranding and use opportunities of Explorer’s Edge marketing    







 Adoption of Minutes of June 16, 2011 – motion: David Stewart, 2nd Steve Munro


AHED Business

?’s explored:

- How do we promote AHED membership?


Reports from Community and Resource Partners

  1. Women’s Own Resource Centre                                      Mitchell

WORC will continue to provide a Secretary for AHED and is working with same mission of providing resources, information, referrals and educational programs to support women of Almaguin achieve their economic goals.  New staff Kara Mitchell (Program Manager) and Patricia Griffiths (Program Assistant) started in summer 2011 are continuing quality programs, resource centre and courses.


Entrepreneurial Skills Training – Oct- Dec and Jan-March WORC offers free (Ontario Women’s Directorate supported) course , a 10 week series of 2 hr classes that help women start or improve a business or self-employment


Carpool Almaguin : a project spearheaded by WORC & supported by 11 Almaguin Municipalities has come to end of its start-up funding with FedNor –municipalities are keeping up parking lots, Pick Up Pal will maintain it as a group on their website   - $127 will be the cost  to renew the CarpoolAlmaguin.com landing page name , that is written on all signage installed this year, one that WORC can absorb –the project is one that while has been growing steadily in use, could use some further improvement in the next year, through projects involving further distribution and  bike racks for eg. and one that WORC will seek to partner on again  – stickers for the signs in multiple parking lots to cover the local phone # which is no longer running are getting posted on signs      


7.9         McMurrich/Monteith                                        Mulligan

Summer extravaganza went well, went ahead regardless of weather

Working on getting wireless signal to the South of the Township

Cell (3G) coverage now available in Bear Lake and Sprucedale & so ability for internet via hubs

Signage towards centres and businesses are current projects in the area


        7.12Westwind Forest Services                               Munro

Forest industry needing to rethink business plans these months – while the white pine market has been swinging, hardwood, pulp and firewood have been good.  Pellet manufacturing plant in Bracebridge is in planning stages, and could end up in a processing industry for that in this region.  Beech Bark disease is a concern caused by woolly aphids, no control known.  - Emerald ash borer is surrounding us and moving in, does not mean to go cut all ash, as other pests and problems will develop without the diversity – spread of  Asian Longhorn Beetle into the area  is another concern being monitored 

Forest industry & Westwind has been advocating  for change to procurement policy for firewood with provincial parks so that firewood is sourced locally vs. brought in (& infected) from other areas.  Provincial Parks this summer did blitz at gates to enforce rules re visitors not bringing in their own in. Westwind sell FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified wood, another value-added bonus to accessing markets.

-discussion followed re protecting forests from pests coming in on firewood from other regions and public education – Canadian Forest Inspection Agency = lead chris.near@ontario.ca Muskoka Parry Sound stewardship Network do public ed.  –attendees agreed it would be advantageous for regional groups, tourism industry reps and municipalities to team up to do consumer education around this 



7.14      Almaguin Highlands Inc.                                     Stewart

Busy developing events page for posting events for all communities, are linking this we Explorer’s Edge.If there’s an event listed it shows in surrounding areas and region as a total.  Still working on making sure that businesses are correctly placed on the map.   Using the internet listings and linking businesses in our region with it is important role, lower cost for more exposure

Heard that businesses have been making quota, getting by, not as bad as previous years

Advertising model changing, those using electronic are prospering.



7.20       Perry Township                                           Dunn/Love

Grand opening for Gazebo Sat. 17th to recognize donors, such as Trillium.  One idea for use of it is a farmer’s market, township is working on guidelines for renting the Gazebo

Want to get better information in the tourism

Have been approved funds for an intern to mostly work on tourism information (FedNor funding)  Hiring in next month, ads just released. CGIS capabilities have been developed for municipality, intern to develop these for tourism.   Wifi is available in the building. 

-discussion re. most up to date systems to use in connecting database of what tourism businesses in region have to offer with how travellers search for / find  -computer based kiosk


7.25       Discovery Routes                              Mitchell for McCourt

  - RTO 12 has done research re trails in region as document posted on website –committee is looking at spear heading / coordinating trail development and marketing –great workshop run in partnership with International Mountain Biking Association and South River’s Forgotten Trails and Northern Edge Algonquin is happening this weekend and training volunteers from both South River and Powassan areas as well as visitors from outside the area in sustainable trail building


Sundridge and South River by-pass will go through Monday
–data collection will end in early January


8.      Correspondence


9.             In-Camera


Adjournment/ Next meeting date:   Thurs. Oct. 20th,2011 - Location:  South River

Motion to adjourn: David Stewart  2nd:  Mary Anne Love

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