NOACC elects new president

The Northwestern Ontario Associated Chambers of Commerce held their annual general meeting at La Place Rendez-Vous last weekend, where they elected a new president and passed a number of resolutions relating to the forestry industry.
Kelli Gothard-McKinnon of the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce was named president, and Tannis Drysdale of the Fort Frances Chamber of Commerce will sit on the executive as past president.
Drysdale’s role as past president will be to resolve questions regarding the constitution and to chair next year’s nomination committee.
She will also assist the new president in her duties, if necessary.
Development of the forest industry and diversification of the local economies were main concerns at the meeting.
“At some of the communities we represent at NOACC, both the saw mills and the paper mills went down,” Drysdale said.
“We [Fort Frances] have the only pulp and paper mill that didn’t go down, or that didn’t go down to half shifts.”
As a result, NOACC passed two resolutions.
“One was for a socio-economic study related to understanding the effect that reducing fiber supply has on the overall profitability of the industry and the effect that has on communities,” Drysdale said.
The second was related to making the forestry industry a cabinet priority in Ontario.
“This is a very negative cycle that we’re going through right now. We need to look 15 to 20 years ahead and say ‘What can we do to diversify our economies so we don’t hit this cycle again in 15 years?’” Drysdale said.
Other resolutions passed involved forest cluster development, “which is value-adding the forestry industry we currently have, and value-adding it with technical expertise,” she said.
“That’s really where the emphasis of the resolutions were.”