No rock should be left unturned

Where will the opportunities for economic development come?
The fastest-selling electronic gadgets this past Christmas were the “Kindle” and the “Sony Reader.” They are flat-screen, tablet-sized electronic devices capable of storing tens of thousands of books.
For people who are visually handicapped, the electronic books allow you to increase the type size to make them easy to read. For voracious readers, a quick refill of books is only a download away.
The “Kindle” can connect automatically anywhere in the States to the “Amazon” bookstore. The “Sony Reader” can be connected using a computer and the Internet.
Other tablets are expected on the market in the next several months.
A new edition hardcover book through Kindle is less than $10. Subscriptions to newspapers and magazines also are available, including the Globe and Mail, New York Times, Time, and The Atlantic.
I really like the feel of a book in my hands. And I often like to read over a paragraph more than once to enjoy how the author has combined sounds and emotions to create a wonderful picture.
Both the “Kindle” and the “Sony Reader” let me do that. Both even have the feel of a book. You even turn the pages by rubbing your thumb across the bottom of the screen.
But this technology is not a friend of either the paper mills that produce the paper that books are printed on or the printers who print and bind those books for sales in stores. It even is hard on the publishing companies because it may make them less profitable.
The proliferation of these types of gadgets will only increase. And the acceptance by the public will be even more widespread.
It brings me back to the topic. If paper mills and paper usage is going to continue to decline, where are the possibilities for development in the future?
South of the border, in northern Minnesota, the environmental impact study for plasma gasification for a biomass energy project has nearly finished. The Minnesota peat has shown the highest hydrocarbon yields in the U.S.
The project could be underway in the next few years.
This project has opportunities for businesses on both sides of the border. Should municipalities on the Canadian side evaluate what resources they might have available for the plant? Should businesses be examining what services they might possess in the construction of the plant?
Travelling on Lake of the Woods and Rainy Lake, I have marvelled at the money that is being spent every year on new cabins and lake homes. It makes my head spin.
Lake of the Woods Township and Sioux Narrows-Nestor Falls have annexed large sections of Lake of the Woods into their communities and receive a significant amount of revenue from those lake homeowners.
Should Fort Frances annex part of Rainy Lake into the municipality for tax purposes?
Rainy Lake remains a great unknown lake home in Canada. The values of lake property have held constant for several years. The upgrading of lake properties on Rainy Lake continues unabated as contractors are employed almost year-round in building and remodelling.
It is a small industry in itself.
If the Rainy Lake area was annexed, would it be possible to open up more mainland property for future cottage development and thus create more jobs in construction and remodelling on Rainy Lake?
Other towns in Northwestern Ontario have petitioned the province to open up more property on lakes as part of their economic development.
Are there areas where corporations like the Fort Frances Power Corp. could create energy to feed into the system? Are there partnerships with First Nations that can create alternative power sources?
As citizens of the district, we should leave no rock unturned to find business opportunities for the area should the paper mill cease to operate.

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