Manitoulin Tourism Association presentation
Manitoulin Tourism Association (MTA) President Ron Berti and manager Shelba Millette attended April’s council meeting as part of an Island-wide tour to present MTA’s new marketing strategy. Mr. Berti talked about travelling through Europe with Debajehmujig Theatre Group members and realizing that while everyone knew where the Great Lakes were, they generally hadn’t heard of Manitoulin Island. “But it’s easy to locate Manitoulin when you see the lakes,” he said, unveiling new promotional materials that highlight the Great Lakes. The look is timeless and lush with deep green and jewel tones, and all marketing materials will maintain the same look and feel.
“The reason we’re doing this,” Mr. Berti said, “changing direction, is to address a larger change towards cultural tourism. Cultural tourism can mean many things, but related to Manitoulin we have two different cultures here. Culture is the way we live our lives. The Island is full of people with knowledge and skills from the past—we really haven’t changed that fast, so we still have access to all that knowledge and people are travelling to find that.” Mr. Berti explained the MTA strategy as to better define the Island through promotion of four cultural regions. “This is just a framework,” he said. “The regions need to be filled in with their history and character. We need to think about where that story is going to be told. We need to bring stories back to give character to the regions.” The strategy assumes that travellers will spend more time visiting the four regions, or returning to visit regions they have missed.
Mr. Berti also emphasized the inclusiveness of this new strategy. “We’re working on new membership packages, new outreach packages,” he said. “We’re open to reinterpreting membership categories to include churches, halls, cemeteries.”
Funding opportunities for South Baymouth marina and harbour
Fran Nadon from FedNor and Esther Sapdzinski from the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines (MNDM) attended Tehkummah’s April council meeting to provide information about funding opportunities with their respective agencies. Reeve Gary Brown introduced the guests. “We’ve had many concerns as most townships do after they’ve completed their asset management plans. Let’s start with the harbour project.”
Ms. Nadon explained, “What we don’t do is invest dollars for core maintenance and municipal infrastructure. We’ll look at a broader development plan. The completed project should increase the overall use of the marina. So how can you take what you’re going to invest and use that?”
“The municipality needs to be responsible for 10 to 12 percent of the cost,” Ms. Spadzinski said. “The project would be limited by municipal resources.” The project could occur across multiple years, she explained. “If you look at multiple years, and can spend $20,000 per year, you could leverage $200,000 per year with that.”
“Waterfront development has been consistently funded by FedNor,” said Ms. Nadon. “You have to come to that conclusion as a community, but there is opportunity.”
The application is a two-stage process, but it does take some time. A time frame of three or four months is a fast time frame. Stage 1 of the process establishes eligibility but “waterfront development is pretty much a shoo-in,” said Ms. Spadzinski.
The programs work well together, they said. FedNor can provide advances and NOHFC pays on costs incurred.
“Our other issues are a shortfall for the Government Road bridge and infrastructure,” Mr. Brown said. “We have seven bridges, trucks to upgrade.”
“That’s the reality across Canada,” said Ms. Nadon.
Neither guest anticipated any announcement for new capital funding any time soon.
Tehkummah Triangle Seniors
The Tehkummah Triangle Seniors received some grant money to assist with insulation, doors, and the floor of the community hall.
Dick Bowerman, Hank Hyyatianen and Lori Thompson were added as Little Schoolhouse and Museum board members.
Asset Management Issues
Council will take time to think about earlier discussions with FedNor and MNDM representatives regarding potential marina project funding before looking at an application. Councillors Eric Russell and Paul Bowerman were concerned about costs for the Government Road bridge project and whether it should be a priority. Costs have already been incurred for an environmental assessment and legal fees. There will be another meeting on the bridge project when all financial information is available.
Seized Property Management Directorate refused meeting
Danielle Pilon, case officer with the Seized Property Management Directorate, refused a meeting with council as the issue is still under court review. She would be “uncomfortable” with a meeting at this time, she said. The Directorate was appointed to control the property that contains the Michael’s Bay cemetery.
Canada Post Response to Petition
A petition signed by 151 residents protesting the reduction in hours at the post offices in Tehkummah and South Baymouth received a response from Canada Post Corporation’s Dale Ratelle, Local Area Superintendent, Sault Ste. Marie. Mr. Ratelle wrote, “A careful review of our operations confirmed that very few people use the Tehkummah Post Office on Saturday, and we are modifying our retail network across the country—in rural and urban areas alike—to reflect current traffic volumes.”
“We have a mandate to provide affordable and universal postal service to all Canadians while remaining financially self-sustaining. As an organization that operates solely on the revenue generated by the sale of our products and services, we need to look at our costs. We need to make smart choices to maintain local service without becoming a burden on taxpayers.”
Councillor Paul Bowerman expressed concern about changes in summer usage with the influx of seasonal residents. “There is no comparison,” he said.
Council moved to “participate in the process to preserve our Tehkummah and South Baymouth Post Offices should they be affected by Canada Post proposed reduction of hours per week.”
Fire Chief’s Report
There were no fire calls in March. There were two practices with an average attendance of 13 members. Training is moving along nicely, with 12 members signed off on the forcible entry module and 13 members on the size up module. SPI Health and Safety began the fire extinguisher inspection for the township, but due to weather and road conditions the inspector arrived too late in the day to complete all of the necessary buildings. He will return at a later date. Several units were taken to Sudbury to be hydro tested, one required recharging, and several more units will need to be replaced. Several members attended a Manitoulin Fire Fighters Association meeting in Gore Bay and signed up to be called if there is a need for an Honour Guard service on the Island. Fire Chief Jeff Wilson addressed council’s concern about parking in front of fire hydrants in South Baymouth. He suggested residents be given pamphlets they could place on offending vehicles as a way to educate people about parking in front of hydrants.
Council passed a resolution to have signage installed on the fire hydrants at issue.
4th Annual Manitoulin Passage Ride
Council approved a request for support for the 4th annual Manitoulin Passage Ride.
Georgian Bay Cycling Route
Council moved to provide support to the Georgian Bay Cycling Route for the addition of the 10th Sideroad and the Government Road as part of this trail route.
Manitoulin Injury Prevention Coalition
Council approved a $150 donation towards towels to be distributed to township children who attend swimming lessons in Tehkummah.
District Services Board
Council agreed that affordable housing and the lack of a national housing strategy are of concern and provided a resolution of support for the Manitoulin-Sudbury District Services Board (DSB) in writing to the Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Employment and Social Development, “to stress that it is imperative the federal government come back to the table and sit down with provincial/territorial housing ministers to work on a long-term plan that addresses the need for housing across the country.”
A copy of the resolution and accompanying letter will also be shared with the Honourable Linda Jeffrey, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Michael Mantha, MPP Algoma-Manitoulin, Carol Hughes, MP Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapusking, Federation of Canadian Municipalities, Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities, Northern Ontario Service Deliverers Association, Ontario Municipal Social Services Association and DSB member municipalities.