WESTERN MANITOULIN—The Western Economic Development Economic Development Program is once again operating after a couple of years hiatus due to the pandemic. A new economic development officer has now been hired to move the project forward.
“This is the continuation of a project that started pre-COVID,” Mike Addison, general manager of Lacloche Manitoulin Business Assistance Corporation (LAMBAC) told The Expositor. “We are excited to announce that Annette Clarke has been hired and is taking on the position of EDO.” Ms. Clarke is the recently retired CAO of the Town of Gore Bay.
“Annette is excited about it as well,” said Mr. Addison. “Looking forward, she has some very good ideas, and with her experience and knowledge on funding programs and working with municipalities and First Nations, she will be a big asset. She knows all the players on Western Manitoulin and will be contacting all the municipalities and First Nations to find out if their interests have changed.”
“We are pleased that we were able to get an extension on the program funding from FedNor for the Western Manitoulin Economic Development position,” said Mr. Addison. “As you know, Brad Hawke, the previous economic development officer, had left the position for another job offer and then there were office closures due to COVID-19, so it prevented us from finding a replacement or continuing the program. Now that things are getting back to normal here at LAMBAC, we are moving forward with the project.”
Mr. Addison said that funding from FedNor has now been provided until the end of 2025. Among the partners in the program are all Island Western Manitoulin municipalities including Billings, Gore Bay, Gordon/Barrie Island, Burpee and Mills, Dawson and Robinson unorganized townships and Sheshegwaning First Nation. At this point, Zhiibaahaasing First Nation has not indicated the community will be part of the project.
In a letter to municipal and First Nation councils, Mr. Addison explained, “as of Monday, June 27, Annette Clarke will be starting as the new economic development officer for the project. Annette brings with her a lot of ideas and experience in economic development, project management, funding applications, municipal structure and event organization and she is looking forward to reaching out to all of you to get things moving. We will bring Annette up to speed with all of the activities that Brad had completed prior to his leaving so she can hit the road running.”