‘Community summit’ deadline coming up

The planning has come together for a day-long “community summit” here Jan. 13, where the focus will be on issues that will impact Rainy River District in the next five years.
Now it’s a matter of getting more registrants to sign up before the deadline this Friday (Jan. 7), organizer Jim Cumming said Tuesday.
“We’re still looking for registrations,” he noted. “I think it’s been a little slow because of the Christmas holidays. I’m in the process of contacting people right now.”
A group of 50-70 delegates would be an ideal number for the summit, Cumming said.
Cumming has contacted educators, health-care providers, the local BIA and Chamber of Commerce, area First Nations, municipal councils, union leaders, and more to participate.
As previously reported, the day-long event will take place next Thursday (Jan. 13) at La Place Rendez-Vous. It is designed to bring together community leaders to take a look at the future of commerce, industry, education, agriculture, tourism, and health care here.
It also hopes to determine how any negative effects can be minimized while optimizing any potential opportunities.
Numerous speakers have been lined up to cover the various sectors.
Michael Atkins, president of Laurentian Publishing, ITWorld, and Northern Ontario Business, will be the keynote speaker, discussing business challenges faced across Northern Ontario.
Warren Hoshizaki, education director for the Rainy River District School Board, will discuss the issues facing education and the opportunities that may be afforded students in the future.
John Harrison, general manager of the Abitibi-Consolidated mill here, will speak on the issues facing the pulp and paper industry, and where he sees it being in five years.
Richard Bruyere, executive director for the Fort Frances Chiefs Secretariat, will speak on issues of economic development and First Nations—and the role First Nations will play in the future economy and success of the district.
Kim Cornell will talk about the future of agriculture in the district while John McTaggart will discuss the future of retailing in Canada as well as the challenges facing local businesses.
Sandi Dickson of Canoe Canada Outfitters will speak on tourism in the future while Bob Jeffery, northern development advisor with the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines, will address the changing face of health in the region.
Participants will be able to ask questions of the various speakers after each of the presentations.
The speakers will run from 8:35 a.m. until around noon. Then after a lunch break, a facilitator will divide the participants into groups to identify common problems.
The groups then will identify the most pressing concerns to the community and report back.
The facilitator then will have the groups break and report back twice more—to identify and address future opportunities, and then to address how to minimize potential problems in the next five years.
Five key areas to be worked on by the community will be identified, and working groups created to address those five areas.
The summit will wrap up around 7:45 p.m. A report of the issues and ideas generated will be distributed to all those in attendance afterwards.
Those interested in participating in the summit can register by dropping off their form at the Fort Frances Chamber of Commerce (474 Scott St.) or faxing it to 274-8706.
If you haven’t gotten a form, you can pick one up at the Chamber office.
The registration fee is $20, with the deadline to sign up being this Friday (Jan. 7).