Group Seeks Support in Bid

to Buy Island Attraction
Neil Zacharjewicz

NEMI – The Escarpment Biosphere Foundation is seeking to purchase a 300 acre site which encompasses the Cup and Saucer Trail. In a letter to Ken Ferguson, Mayor of North Eastern Manitoulin and the Islands (NEMI), dated December 19, Foundation representative Ernie Baltz accepted an invitation from the mayor to attend a meeting of council to conduct a presentation covering the organization and its objectives.

�We�re hoping to have the council endorse our efforts to purchase the 300 acre site that encompasses the Cup and Saucer Trail,� Baltz stated. The property first came to the attention of the foundation when it became listed for sale with J.A. Rolston Ltd., noted Foundation Chair Bob Barnett. The site is an important part of the Niagara Escarpment, which piqued the group�s interest.

According to Barnett, the foundation, which received corporate status in May of 1997, is mandated to create nature reserves for the preservation of the Niagara Escarpment. The Cup and Saucer, he noted, is an important part of the escarpment because it includes many endangered species. Presently, the foundation has one reserve in place and is working on several others. The Niagara Escarpment itself is hard to define, he pointed out, as it has many secondary escarpments and outlying portions. There are no detailed maps which clearly define the escarpment, though he indicated the foundation has been working with the Ministry of Natural resources to identify where it lies.

Barnett said the foundation is approaching the municipality because it believes council�s support would be desirable in any application for government funding which may be necessary for the project. The foundation also hopes to ensure its plans are consistent with the plans of the municipality. Having visited the Island in November to meet with environmentalist Judith Jones, the foundation has become familiar with the site itself.

Barnett noted Jones� support is also key, as her understanding of the life sciences in the area of the Cup and Saucer would be quite valuable. �We are hoping to get more research done on that area, and other areas of Manitoulin, so we will be a little bit more knowledgeable about which areas are most important, and hopefully (Jones) will be able to help us with it,� Barnett said. As of press time, the Manitoulin Recorder could not reach Dennis Corbiere, owner of the property. The Escarpment Biosphere Foundation is scheduled to meet with council at its meeting on January 19.

Business Beat
Rita Gordon

Three weeks left and the month of January will be over. Business people are now scrambling to get things in order for their year end and are preparing for the upcoming one. January always marks the beginning of new optimism! The Gore Bay Fish Hatchery is spearheading a membership drive to raise money for their hatchery which raises salmon and trout fingerlings. It is hoped that business will recognize how important the fishing industry and recreation is to the Island�s tourism and economic base. Silver, gold and platinum memberships are available and can be purchased by individuals, business, clubs and groups.

The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs office in Gore Bay has information available on various agricultural courses being offered during 1999 to residents of Manitoulin Island and the North Shore. Congratulations to Kelly O�Hare of the Anchor Inn in Little Current who won a trip from one of her restaurant suppliers to the Bahamas. What a way to start the New Year! Congratulations, Kelly!

Jean and John McLennan, previous owners of the Mindemoya Motel, have retired. In recognition of their service to the community, the Mindemoya Business Association presented them with a lifetime membership to their association, as well as dinner for two at the School House Restaurant in Providence Bay. This same group meets the third Wednesday of each month in the Mindemoya Hospital boardroom. Jacques Grenier of the Ministry of Transportation �Adopt a Highway Programme� will be guest speaker this month. Shaping up the 1999 executive is President Al McClure of Expertronics, Treasurer Bruce Mercer of Triple A Financial Services, and Secretary Marion Seabrook of Hawberry Habit.

Congratulations to Frank Reynolds for winning the Melvin Jones Fellowship Award. This award is the most prestigious award one can get as a member of the Lions organization. Many of us on the Island appreciate your efforts, Frank!

Rita Gordon�s business column appears Wednesdays in The Manitoulin Recorder. If you have business news of interest to Manitoulin Island and area, write her c/o Gordon�s Park, Hwy. 6, Tehkummah, Ontario P0P 2C0, fax her at (705) 859-2470, or email at [email protected].

Chi-Cheemaun Ferry Rates Increased
Tom Sasvari

MANITOULIN – Passengers using the Chi-Cheemaun ferry service between South Baymouth and Tobermory will be faced with an increase in fares this year. Susan Schrempf, head of marketing for the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission explained, �the rates are set for this year with an increase of two percent across the board. This is compared to a zero percent increase we have had over the past four years.� Schrempf pointed out ONTC had talked to tourism and business representatives on Manitoulin Island and the Grey-Bruce Peninsula previously. �Everyone felt this would not be a significant increase and could easily be absorbed.�

Rick Rusk, president of the Manitoulin Tourism Association, said, �I think they were reluctant to increase the fares but it was necessary to keep up with costs in operating the ferry. No, this increase won�t be bad at all. It was probably expected after they have held the line on rates for the past few years.� �A modest increase could be expected although it isn�t desirable,� said Rusk.

The increase in fares will mean for example the standard one way fare will rise from $11.00 to $11.20, while the standard cost for a vehicle will go up from $24.00 to $24.50. Ridership on the Chi-Cheemaun increased by 15 percent during the 1997 season, said Schrempf. She pointed out the 1998 ferry schedule has been released indicating the new rates. This years schedule also highlights the 25th anniversary of the service, as well as its dinner cruise. The Chi-Cheemaun will begin its regular sailing schedule Friday, May 7 until October 17, the Sunday following Thanksgiving.

Council Responds to Lawsuits
Neil Zacharjewicz

MINDEMOYA – Councillor Mary Nelder still believes council should pursue mediation with Carter Bay developer Arend Van Vierzen. At the January 6 meeting of council, she raised the issue once again, only a short while after learning about legal action Van Vierzen intends to take against the municipality. Early last week Van Vierzen announced he was filing a total of four lawsuits over an interspersed period of time. These lawsuits are to be �the largest lawsuits ever filed against a municipality in Ontario.�

While council had learned of the legal action before the meeting, it was still not aware of what the action will entail, Nelder noted. Council had felt, at a meeting in December, that it was too early to enter into mediation until the issues could be determined, although Councillors Nelder and Sarah Bowerman had dissented that opinion. Nelder indicated at the timethat Clerk Maryanne McCutcheon had sought a legal opinion, and was advised it was too early to enter into mediation. However, Nelder maintained she still disagrees with the opinion.

In fact, she pointed to an article in the January issue of Municipal World magazine which addresses the issues of mediation. She noted the article suggests determining the issues is the first step in the mediation process. Nelder indicated a meeting with a mediator should be established. �I think there are issues which can be resolved when reasonable people sit down and talk reasonably about them,� she said. Reeve Perry Anglin agreed a meeting is desirable, and suggested council, the developer and lawyers for both parties should be present.

Councillor Bowerman expressed concern it does not appear Van Vierzen would be willing to meet with council. Councillor Ted Dryden pointed out there has to be more to Van Vierzen�s concerns than just the issue of council�s unwillingness to enter into mediation. Despite the developer�s comments, �Our Reeve did not want mediation, so be it,� Van Vierzen had admitted his attorneys had been examining the case for 12 weeks. Dryden said discussions of mediation did not begin until early December, roughly four to five weeks ago.

Y2K Questions and Answers

  • Q: Why is it called �Y2K�?
    A: It is a short-form of �Year 2000.� The �Y� means Year, and �K� is a shorthand form of �thousand� derived from the Latin term �Kilo.� Thus, 2K is 2000, and Y2K is Year 2000.
  • Q: It only afflicts old computers, right?
    A: Right. Assuming that you consider computers and software made in 1997 as �old.� Computers of all kinds were made and sold with Year 2000 problems as late as 1997. Old mainframes are most likely to be afflicted, but every PC is potentially suspect. Macintosh hardware is essentially immune, but that does not end the analysis. The Y2K problem occurs wherever software programming exists, and it exists in the various chips within your computer (most notably the BIOS), as well as within operating systems and applications. Thus, the software designed for your Mac may be afflicted with the bug.
  • Q: What can I do about my home system or my small business?
    A: Consumers and small businesses are in a difficult position. Unlike major corporations, you do not have the staff or resources to professionally attack and resolve the problem. Fortunately, guidance is available, and increasing daily. First, consider purchasing a book. The Y2K problem may be tedious to fix, but it is most definitely not a difficult problem to understand. Seek guidance from your local chamber of commerce or trade association. Your local government may have useful information. The basic response plan (from the homeowner to the Fortune 100) is : Inventory, Assess, Repair and Test. First inventory all of your hardware and software. Then assess its Y2K status by internet research (most software/hardware vendors are making this information available at their web sites, and web sites are beginning to aggregate this information for you). Repair (or replace) problem technology, then test it. For a basic PC, there are off-the-shelf software programs that will test your hardware and software. For the small business, it cannot be stressed enough that you must remember your �non-MIS� technology, such as your telephone and voice mail systems, medical and other computerized machinery, security systems and other automated management technologies.
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