Community summit in the works for 2005

A day-long community summit is being planned for Jan. 13, 2005, with the focus to be on issues that will impact the district in the next five years, council learned at its regular meeting here Monday night.
“I think you’ll find the session on Jan. 13 to be quite informative, said community summit co-ordinator Jim Cumming to council that evening.
Cumming explained the event looks to draw together community leaders, whether they be mayor and reeves, chiefs, councils, business owners, professionals, or labour leaders, to take a look at commerce, industry, education, agriculture, tourism, and health in the future here, and determine how any negative effects can be minimized while optimizing any potential opportunities.
“I think it’s an excellent opportunity for the community,” said Coun. Tannis Drysdale, adding she’s been involved in regional summits in the past which were definitely worthwhile, resulting in initiatives like the Northern Medical School and Grow Bonds that have since become a reality.
“I think good things will come out of this,” she remarked.
Coun. Struchan Gilson agreed, noting no community exists in a bubble, and sharing common problems with the aim to find common solutions was a good focus for such a summit.
Michael Atkins, president of Laurentian Publishing, ITWorld and Northern Ontario Business will be the keynote speaker discussing challenges faced across Northern Ontario, while John Harrison, general manager of the Abitibi-Consolidated mill here. will speak of the issues facing the pulp and paper industry, and where he sees it being in five years.
John McTaggart will discuss the future of retailing in Canada, and the challenges of local businesses, while Kim Cornell will talk about the future of agriculture in the district.
Warren Hoshizaki, education director for the Rainy River District School Board, will discuss the issues facing education and the opportunities that may be afford students in the future, while 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.
And another presenter, yet-to-be-named, will discuss issues in the tourism sector.
“From the ideas presented, those in attendance will be broken out into groups to identify similar problems and opportunities faced by each sector,” said Cumming. “With that framework those in attendance will be challenged by the facilitator to formulate ideas and proposals to begin tackling the issues.”
A report of the issues and ideas generated will be distributed to all those in attendance after the summit.
Council agreed to have at least one delegate attend the summit, and referred a financial request of $1,500 to help put on the event to the Administration and Finance executive committee for recommendation.

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