MANITOULIN – The townships of Assiginack, Killarney and Tehkummah have named Islander Shelba Millette as their new shared economic development officer (EDO), taking advantage of a three-year funding agreement from FedNor to cover most of the officer’s wages.
“Thanks to the funding support of FedNor and our partners, the Municipality of Killarney and the Township of Tehkummah, Shelba Millette has begun her tenure as (EDO) for the communities of Assiginack, Killarney and Tehkummah,” read a press release from the Township of Assiginack, the municipality that is holding the FedNor grant and will add Ms. Millette to its employee roster.
The Expositor tried several times to arrange an interview with Ms. Millette; she later provided a statement about her thoughts on joining the new municipal role.
“I am thrilled to be able to work closely with each community involved in order to boost positive collaborated economic growth within this unique District of Manitoulin tri-partnership,” she stated in an email.
As per the funding agreement announced May 31, 2020, Assiginack is designated as Ms. Millette’s sole employer, though she will divide her time equally between that township, Tehkummah and Killarney.
Readers of The Expositor may recognize Ms. Millette as the director of tourism at Destination Manitoulin Island.
“(Ms. Millette) has had many years of experience working with Destination Manitoulin Island) and is a recognized advocate for economic possibilities on the Manitoulin,” stated the Assiginack press release.
Ms. Millette explained that tourism is an important part of the economic development priorities of all three communities, so preserving strong connections with that industry and its constituent businesses will be key to the prosperity of the townships.
“Enhancing and increasing year-round sustainable tourism related developments—assets, products and revenues—is a priority,” she said. “I look forward to all the good things to come in 2021.”
These communities in eastern Manitoulin are the final areas on Manitoulin to hire an EDO. Some hopeful priorities in Assiginack include the S.S. Norisle and Burns Wharf Theatre, as well as business attraction and retention to build a vibrant Main Street.
Anyone wishing to contact Ms. Millette can reach her through the Township of Assiginack.