District-wide strategic plan moving forward

Heather Latter

Rainy River Coun. Gordon Armstrong presented members of the Rainy River District Municipal Association with the idea for a district-wide strategic plan, entitled “The Way of the Future,” during its annual meeting Saturday at the Devlin Hall.
“A plan today is a commitment to a more progressive and acceptable tomorrow,” he stressed during the business portion of the meeting.
He cited a decline in industry in the area as the reason a strategic plan is necessary.
“It’s estimated 90 percent of students leave and don’t come back,” Coun. Armstrong stressed, saying a strategic plan will inspire us today and ensure a brighter future for future generations.
“We need to plan and collaborate, and that means co-operation,” he remarked. “We need new solutions for old problems.”
Coun. Armstrong said the goals for the strategic plan include being a united district, listening to and being inspired by others, having a spirit of co-operation, having a commitment to success, and having a vision for the future.
He noted several meetings regarding the district strategic plan already have taken place with various volunteer groups, the Rainy River Future Development Corp., and other organizations.
Some of the suggestions of areas where the district needs help is doctor recruitment, industry, health issues, transportation issues, tourism, and agriculture.
“We do have tough times ahead of us but if we all work together, I think we can overcome tough times,” Coun. Armstrong urged.
“And we have to realize we have resources in the area, some unutilized.”
In order to move ahead, Coun. Armstrong said they need a round-table discussion with local chiefs and municipal leaders to lay a foundation of co-operation, and that an outside consultant might need to come in to provide assistance.
In addition, a Memorandum of Understanding would be needed to move forward.
The RRDMA supported by way of a resolution, endorsing the Memorandum of Understanding with the Chiefs’ Secretariat.
“The world is run by those who show up, so let’s all show up,” implored Coun. Armstrong, reciting the words of Kenora Mayor Dave Canfield.
Also at Saturday’s meeting, Rainy River Mayor Deb Ewald was acclaimed as president of the RRDMA again for 2012 while La Vallee Reeve Ross Donaldson was elected over Fort Frances Coun. Sharon Tibbs to remain as vice-president.
George Heyens was appointed to the Rainy River Valley Agricultural Society board while James Gibson will remain the representative for the Rainy River District Veterinary Services Committee.
Meanwhile, appointments made to the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association saw Fort Frances Coun. Andrew Hallikas remain as vice-president on the executive.
Rainy River Coun. Gordon Armstrong and Emo Coun. Gary Judson (elected), along with Veldron Vogan (staff), will continue to sit on the NOMA board.
These appointments require confirmation at NOMA’s annual meeting.
Other business at Saturday’s meeting saw district leaders:
•approve the treasurer’s report for 2011;
•approve the apportionment levy of $5,440.68 to NOMA;
•pass a resolution submitted by the Town of Atikokan petitioning the provincial government to upload the full cost of court security and prisoner transport immediately in 2012 for all municipalities with populations of 10,000 or less;
•pass a resolution submitted by the Town of Atikokan petitioning the provincial government to create a special fund to assist small remote communities with staff training costs;
•pass a resolution submitted by the Township of Emo encouraging the termination of the use of single-use plastic shopping bags; and
•defeat a resolution submitted by the Township of Atikokan petitioning the provincial government to increase the HST for the province of Ontario by one percent to be used to fund Ontario municipal infrastructure costs on a per capita basis.