Agenda set for community summit

FORT FRANCES—District leaders and business people planning to attend “Community Summit II” have until Friday (March 2) to register.
Following up on the inaugural community summit held here back in January, 2005, this second one is slated for this coming Tuesday (March 6) at La Place Rendez-Vous—with the focus again being on various issues affecting Rainy River District.
The day’s program will begin at 8:30 a.m. with opening remarks by Times’ publisher Jim Cumming, who is organizing the summit along with Fort Frances Coun. Tannis Drysdale (with input from Mayor Roy Avis).
Keynote speaker Dr. Mark Partridge, an economics professor and the chair of rural-urban policy at Ohio State University, then is expected to take the stage at 8:45 a.m.
Dr. Partridge has made dozens of speeches and presentations on broad economic and demographic trends, as well as on public policy, and published more than 60 papers—ranking him among the top 1,000 economists in the world.
He’s also currently the lead investigator on an Infrastructure Canada grant to examine rural-urban interactions and the role of infrastructure.
Dr. Partridge’s talk will wrap up with a question-and-answer period at 9:30 a.m.
Then at 9:45 a.m., a Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union representative is expected to speak on the impact of the forestry crisis in Northern Ontario, with a Q&A to follow at 10:15.
After a 15-minute break starting at 10:30, Eric Busch, regional liaison for the Manitoba Food Charter, will speak on “Keeping Agricultural Economies Local” for about a half-hour.
Like the other speakers, Busch will be followed by a 15-minute question-and-answer period.
At 11:30 a.m., Gerry Cariou of the Ontario Sunset Country Tourist Association will step up to speak on trends and changes in tourism.
Lunch will be served around 12:20 p.m., after which time those attending the summit will have a break-out session where they’ll discuss questions posed by the summit moderator.
This will run from 1:15-1:45 p.m., after which time the break-out groups will report their responses to the questions.
This will be followed by a second break-out session from 2:10-2:40, a second set of reports stemming from that, and then a 3 p.m. break.
This will lead into a third break-out session, at which time the groups will develop recommendations to put forth to interested communities.
These recommendations then will be discussed amongst all the attendees, at which time a set of priorities will be determined.
Those interested in attending the day-long summit are encouraged to contact the Rainy River Future Development Corp. (274-3276) or the Fort Frances Chamber of Commerce (274-5773) to register.
The registration fee is $20, which includes lunch.
As of this morning, about 35 people had registered to attend.