Jeff Steinke’s letter of last week was quite amusing. I realize his intent was to attract interest to the open house which outlined the “Lands for Life” process. And if it managed to do that, then I am very glad.
Yes, it is important for all citizens to voice their opinions on this issue. But I also hope that once they all got there, they were able to see for themselves that Mr. Steinke’s letter did nothing but afford him the opportunity to misinform the general public of what a typical “tourist industry,” “outfitter,” “air base,” and “outpost and private camp owner” really is, and also what “we” mean to this district and the whole region.
Last week, for instance, I placed orders for goods with Ernest Thompson Distributors, T.J. Kaemingh & Sons Ltd., Tompkin’s Hardware, Herb’s Small Engine Repair, Canadian Tire, Safeway, Diana’s Needle Art Embroidery, Brewer’s Retail, Beatrice Foods, Scott National, Baker Graphics, Jack Esselink Construction, Ross Donaldson Construction, Ackland’s, Fort Frances General Supply, Sears (Fort Frances), Emo Feed, Wally’s Marine (for propane), Superior Propane, Sunset Communications, and the Fort Frances Times for commercial printing.
Yes, it was a rather slow week, but I’m sure I wasn’t the only “outfitter” who contacted any, all, or more of these businesses.
In addition, I visited the Toronto Dominion Bank to pay my retail sales tax, mailed my remittance to the Receiver General for my employee deductions, took my dog to the NorWest Animal Clinic, registered my son with the Borderland Hockey School, bought several presents for my daughter’s graduation, had my hair cut, bought graduation dinner at the Rendez-Vous . . . every dime spent for all of this came from “tourist” dollars.
And this has been going on with my family for over 72 years when we first became involved in the “tourist industry.”
I’m not saying that there are not problems in this industry. There are good and bad operators, just as there are in every industry. But I must take exception to Mr. Steinke’s very bold colourization of “outfitters” as rich (first myth), greedy (second), or unconcerned with the future resource base (third).
And as far as his conclusion that the air base operators are sitting back and watching it all pour in, I had to chuckle. I’m sure any one of them would be happy to pass their insurance premiums (typically tens of thousands of dollars per airplane per year), their maintenance bills (strictly regulated by the Ministry of Transport), and their fuel bills (just to name a few things) on to him anytime he would like.
Yes, the quality of the outposts that they build is improving every year but a lot of that has to do with the fact the Ministry of Natural Resources has strict guidelines for this.
Also, does Mr. Steinke know that a bank will not loan any money on a land lease to build any of these buildings, and if in the future the Ministry of Natural Resources decides that the lease cannot be renewed due to the fact that a lake cannot withstand the pressure, that that cabin must be dismantled and the land put back to its original state–all at the cost of the “outfitter.”
However, I feel very badly that Mr. Steinke had not been able to book a trip at any of these outposts. I would like to invite him to give me a call. I have just the place for him. He will have to abide by my policy of conservation limits while he is staying there, and absolutely no fish taken home with him.
Sorry, it’s the rules! After all, I have children growing up whom I hope will be able to continue to make a living from this “tourist industry” you know!
Nestor Falls, Ont.