More than 30 Chamber of Commerce members from across the region, as well as various dignitaries and guest speakers, are expected to descend on Fort Frances this week as the Northwestern Ontario Associated Chambers of Commerce holds its annual fall meeting here.
Hosted by the Fort Frances Chamber of Commerce, the theme will be “Celebrating 100 Years”—appropriate given the local Chamber turned one century old this year.
Local Chamber manager Anthony Mason said the conference has been a high priority for him since starting in his new position earlier this month.
“It’s ready to roll. We have all our ducks in a row,” he remarked. “I’ve had about two weeks to get it ready, and everything’s gone off without a hitch.”
The conference, being held at La Place Rendez-Vous, will kick off with registration and a mix-and-mingle tomorrow evening, with business getting underway Friday morning.
Following welcoming remarks from dignitaries, the membership will receive minutes and reports. Then they’ll review the NOACC strategic plan from 9-11 a.m.
David Lindsay, deputy minister for the Ministry of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry, will speak at 11 a.m., followed by Thunder Bay-Rainy River MP John Rafferty from 11:30 a.m.-noon.
Revenue minister John Wilkinson is expected to speak during lunch (noon-1:30 p.m.), followed by AbitibiBowater mill manager John Harrison, Ontario Prospector’s Association president Garry Clark, and Marg Scott, executive director of the North Superior Workforce Planning Board.
After breakfast on Saturday, NOACC policy advisor George Macey will talk about the policy review, after which time Geoff Gillon, regional economic development officer for the Rainy River Future Development Corp., will address the delegates.
He’ll be followed by Randy Hillier, PC critic for labour, northern development, mines, and forestry.
The conference will wrap up with Chamber member updates/discussions and any other remaining business, then adjourn by about noon on Saturday.
NOACC represents every active Chamber of Commerce from Marathon to the Manitoba border. Its membership includes more than 2,000 businesses and seven of the largest corporations in the Northwestern Ontario region.
NOACC is dedicated to continued economic growth and development in these communities, and is among the most influential advocates for business in the province.
It also is actively involved in the identification and resolutions of issues and concerns affecting the sustainable development of Northwestern Ontario.