We must invest in our district

At the community summit held in Fort Frances almost two years ago, Michael Atkins, in his keynote address, stated: “In Northern Ontario, our journey is to hunt and fish, to hike and boat, to cross-country ski and canoe, to swim and sail, and when not doing the above, we must create wealth so we can stay here.”
Michael has carried this message to business groups, colleges, universities, municipal councils, and chambers of commerce across Northern Ontario.
And with that message, he tells his audiences that the only people we can depend upon to improve the health and wealth of communities across the northern part of the province are the citizens who live and work in the towns and communities in the north.
The Townshend Theatre was built in Fort Frances because the people of the community saw a need, raised the money, and built the entertainment facility.
When minor hockey and figure skating clubs couldn’t find enough ice time for the youth of our community to practise and enjoy their sports, the community came together and raised enough funds to build the “Ice for Kids” arena—and join the old arena and swimming pool together under one roof.
When residents determined it was necessary to add additional medical services to the district for dialysis, chemotherapy, and surgery, it was the citizens of the district who pulled together to modernize medical facilities in the district.
Today, realizing the value of CT scans, again the district is pulling together to raise funds for that diagnostic piece of equipment.
The provincial ministry of health says we can have all the medical facilities and equipment that we can afford. Unfortunately, the Ministry of Health does not fund equipment.
It is up to the citizens of the district to look after themselves.
The west end of Rainy River District came to the rescue of beef-raising families and hunters as the meat they were going to use to feed themselves this winter was ordered to be destroyed.
Together, they rescued the meat and are working to create an interim solution to the lack of beef-killing facilities in the district.
If we are to wait for the provincial or federal government to come to our rescue to create new business and industry, we will wait forever. Just as you need some money to go to the bank and create a mortgage to build a house, you have to have resources and community support to attract government funds and support new or expanding enterprises.
To grasp our future, we have to join together and create the dream for the future and then place our resources and energy in those dreams. And we have to be prepared to invest in the district to grow our economy.

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