Present: Don Carter, Whitestone; Jessica Busch, WORC; Chantal Perron MacIntosh, WORC; John Santarossa, EDO Magnetawan; Merv Mulligan, McMurrich/Monteith; Dave Stewart, Almaguin Highlands Inc.; Jeff Johnston, KPABA; Carly Hughes, Business Centre of Nipissing/Parry Sound; Rosalind Hall, Burk’s Falls/Armour/Ryerson; Dave Gray, CDO Burk’s Falls/Armour/Ryerson; Laura McNeice, EDO CAEDA; Carole Mantha, MNDM; Karen Insley Stewart, Almaguin Highlands Inc.; Shelly Willis, EDO Powassan.
Don reported that the community is coming together to offer events and activities for many local, seasonal residents as well as tourists. The township is widening trails in preparation for the upcoming snowmobile season. The legion continues to run euchre, cribbage, darts, meat draw and soon will have its Veterans Appreciation Day and Fireman’s Memorial Ceremony. The library has talked to the local school for further program development – they are currently exploring the possibility of New Horizons for Seniors funding to purchase I-Pads, they are also planning further fundraising events. The Lions are working towards partnering with the Recreation Committee to enhance it’s Youth Group initiatives. The Economic Development Committee is giving final approval on the Municipality promotional film segments for introduction to area groups and organizations. The Company Softwind Enterprises is coming back to life in the area, they have partnered with a Toronto company which produces fast frozen, fresh food meals (no preservatives) for online ordering and delivering up to Dunchurch where patrons can pick up their order at the local legion which is providing a freezer depot for short term storage. Currently, Softwinds is increasing awareness of it’s presence and servicing, with information and sampling sessions with Whitestone and McKellar area seniors – they will be able to do this with any interested groups in other Almaguin communities as well. If anyone would like further information, please contact Don Carter.
Dave Gray/CDO Burk’s Falls, Armour, Ryerson
Dave has been working with Explorer’s Edge over the summer looking at ways of boosting tourism in the area. Dave said a big thanks to Laura for assisting with the first annual “Stone Skipping Competition” which was launched in August and ran for three weeks. The competition entailed capturing a photo or video of skipping stones across a lake within the Almaguin Highlands, with a prize package worth $500. This cost free competition went very well and there are plans to broaden the reach next year – this was a great way to gather footage of lakes in the area at no cost. The next upcoming initiative will be the Sweather Weather Tour set for October 4th, 5th, & 6th. Dave and Kate Monk will be at the Almaguin Highlands Information Centre on Friday October 4th and Saturday October 5th handing out Sweater Weather Tour packages with information on walking trails, artists’ studio, ATVing, etc… Business owners are encouraged to participate by submitting additions for the Tour packages that could include maps, discounts, local info or special offers. On Saturday there will also be local artists displaying at the Almaguin Highlands Information Centre. Dave mentioned an article in the Toronto Sun in which the Almaguin Highlands was included regarding things to do and places to see – it was a great win for the area to be included. At the end of June, Dave met with Virginia Hastings from Starshine Video Productions and discussed the possibility of doing some video vignettes of the area aimed at boosting tourism. Virginia created a quote for the production of nine vignettes which would run approximately $27,000. Funding could potentially be utilized for this purpose – RED possibly?
Rosalind Hall/Burk’s Falls, Armour, Ryerson
Rosalind began by discussing the urgent need for highway signage upon entering the Almaguin Highlands to help create awareness with tourists knowing exactly where they are. She encouraged that the AHED committee could be the ideal forum for spear heading this initiative. Jeff Johnston suggested that the Chamber of Commerce could be the lead applicant. Dave Stewart offered that Almaguin Highlands Inc. would be willing to be the lead applicant in this project. Rosalind suggested that AHED needs a strategic plan as a “road map” for moving ahead. A strategic plan was done back in 2002/03 – Jessica will look into getting copies for the AHED committee for the next meeting.
A motion was made to review the Strategic Plan of AHED at the next meeting.
Moved by: Rosalind Hall; Seconded by: Dave Gray All in favour.
Shelly Willis/EDO Powassan
Shelly discussed the Labour Day Rodeo and the Fall Fair which were held on the same weekend this year. Both events were very successful. There will be an Economic Development Day on September 26th at the Trout Creek Arena. The day’s speakers will outline the demographic and social trends that will lead to residential and commercial growth along the Hwy 11 corridor south of North Bay.
John Santarossa/EDO Magnetawan
John reported that 4 new businesses opened in the first 6 months of the year. Magnetawan is currently looking at affordable housing and have completed an energy audit. An Asset Inventory, Market Study and Gap Analysis is also underway. The website and business directory have been updated. There will be a Small Business Information Day held on Tuesday October 22nd (during Small Business Week), from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Magnetawan Community Centre – the event is free and everyone is welcome. John mentioned an article on AHED was published in the North Bay Nugget 2013 Economic Outlook on July 27, 2013.
John will soon be working on a preliminary budget for 2014 and suggested that all area Councils put aside $500 - $1000 to leverage funding for collective initiatives (i.e. highway signage).
A motion was made to take this request to the Municipal Meeting to be held on Friday September 27, 2013.
Moved by: John Santarossa; Seconded by: Karen Insley Stewart. All in favour.
John discussed film & video attraction and promoting the area to producers to film in the Almaguin Highlands. There will be a public forum to address the possibility of some school closures in the area held on September 26th at the Magnetawan Public School from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Karen Insley Stewart/Almaguin Highlands Ontario Inc.
Karen reported that they had a great summer. Almaguin Highlands Inc. teamed up with Wahta Springs to create an Almaguin Highlands Inc. logo on bottles of water. There was a fundraiser held at Bear Lake over the summer to raise money for restoration at St.Olaf’s Church – the event drew people from near and far and was very successful.
Merv Mulligan/McMurrich, Monteith
Merv reported that the Summer Spectacular was once again a great event – having a roofed space was definitely an asset. Two baseball tournaments were held over the summer as well with great success at both. The school house is being looked at for upgrades including windows, siding, insulation and better access in order to allow for the seniors to host more classes & events, week to week activities and yearly events. The library is currently exploring the purchase of e-readers. The NHL Players Association provided funding this year to equip children with hockey equipment – a BBQ event was held where kids could come and get properly sized and equipped. The Sprucedale Hotel had their annual Pig Roast and Motorcycle Fun Run this summer as well with over 100 motorcycles participating, the event proves to be a great draw – the Sprucedale Hotel has donated approximately $735 to the Recreation Committee from this event. Merv also mentioned a great article in “Go Riding” ATV Magazine on the Seguin Trail.
Dave Stewart/Almaguin Highlands Ontario Inc.
Dave reported on a couple of events held over the summer. The Paddle for Fairvern (Dave sits on the Board for Fairvern) was held in August and was a great success with Almaguin Highlands Ontario Inc. supplying the water for the paddle race with the Almaguin Highlands logo. Dave discussed that events such as these are needed – awareness is growing. Dave also reported on Park 2 Park, indicating that the new system of charging a nominal fee to be on the trails is working well with funds being up this year. Passes are offered for daily/weekly/monthly/yearly use with walkers being the exception.
Carly Hughes/Business Centre of Nipissing and Parry Sound
Carly reported that the Summer Company program was a huge success this year with revenue from the program over doubling since last year. Last year, with 15 students, revenue equalled $64,751 – this year, with 19 students, revenue equalled $157,845. Small Business Week takes place this year from October 21st – 27th and the Business Centre has three events planned. October 22nd, there will be a Small Business Information Day in Magnetawan at the Community Centre. October 23rd there will be a Small Business Information Day in North Bay. October 24th there will be a workshop held at the Canadore College campus in Parry Sound with guest speaker Diane Davy on “Top Ten Tips Around Planning Your Creative Business and How To Apply Your Creative Skills to Your Marketing”. For more information on any of these events, please contact Carly. There is a new pilot program being launched for Aboriginal Youth, the program is pre-entrepreneurial training for ages 18 – 29 where participants will be able to develop a business plan in a supported setting through online learning and hands on workshops. Carly is still available for meetings at the Strong Township Office for business plan assistance – for upcoming dates, please contact Carly.
CAEDA is sending a letter to Doug Herbrand from the MTO requesting “share the road” type signs be placed along Hwy 124 from South River to Parry Sound, and currently particularly through the areas which are currently being paved with wide shoulders. CAEDA is also requesting km markings from one end to the other to help identify where services/things of interest are located. Others are encouraged to write letters as well, they can be sent to: Mr. Doug Herbrand, Ministry of Transportation, 447 McKeown Ave. Suite 301, North Bay ON, P1B 9S9.
CAEDA launched the new branding and logo in June which was well received. There is currently an RFP out for the construction of billboards for Hwy 11 North, South and Hwy 124. Currently the group is also editing a promotional video for the area focusing on people and business. Over the summer, 4 km of trails were developed – Dave Gray inquired as to whether or not the trails had been GPS mapped yet – Dave has been GPS mapping a lot of the area trails with an app called MotionXGPS, any unmapped trails, let him know about. CAEDA is revamping their website – more updates to come.
The Women’s Centre is very busy as Fall programs begin. Entrepreneurial Skills Training is again being offered in three locations – Burk’s Falls, South River and Powassan, with 24 women registered in the course this round. The course will be run again in January – any women interested should contact the Women’s Own Resource Centre to sign up early. The September Resource & Business Network meeting will be held on Wednesday September 25th from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Doug’s Kitchen in Callander – guest speaker LeeAnne Lefebvre will be speaking on “Making the Most of First Impressions”. Balanced Living is a two part workshop that examines the five assets for sustainable living and identifies steps toward building a balanced, healthy lifestyle – this workshop will be offered at the Women’s Own Resource Centre in October, for more information, please call 705-386-9672 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Women’s Own Resource Centre is currently creating a ten week program to offer to youth in response to requests at the Centre for “Life Skills” programming. This 10 week course will cover such topics as time management & goal setting, budgeting, balancing a bank book, developing communication skills in an online world, resume & job interviews, college applications and finances. WORC has approached the high school with a proposal however the program could also be run directly out of the Women’s Own Resource Centre – for more information please call Jessica at 705-386-9672
Carole discussed a couple of programs. Celebrate Ontario is officially launched – deadline for submitting applications is November 12th. Webex training sessions will be offered in the coming weeks. Rural Economic Development Program has been re-launched. The RED program is a 4.5 million (over 3 years) program dedicated to enhance and stimulate economic development in rural communities. There are 2 streams, a planning stream, which would include things like strategic plans, BR&E initiatives, Community Improvement plans. The second stream is the Implementation stream, requires evidence based planning, no cap on applications, no stacking with other provincial funding. The RED program could potentially entertain an application for the marketing video segments but someone from AHED would have to take the lead in submitting an application. This would be true also for the NOHFC Regional Economic Partnership Opportunities program that was discussed a few months ago.
Jeff briefly discussed the Kearney Regatta saying that it was a big hit this year. Anything to be included in the October edition of the KPABA newsletter, Jeff reminded everyone to please send it in by September 27th at the latest. Info can be sent directly to Jeff.
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