Liaison Committee Proposal
WEST BAY – The Manitoulin Municipal Association (MMA) has turned down a proposal for a District Social Services Administration Board (DSSAB) Liaison committee. �As you all know, the DSSAB board was formed and the MMA has always presented an Island wide perspective. We feel the Island should be represented by one collective voice,� said Delroy Prescott in making the presentation on the proposal put together by the Township of Billings. “This would be one way of ensuring good communications between the members of the committee from the Island and the member municipalities who don�t have representation on the DSSAB advisory committee.�
Prescott outlined the proposal which would be structured to include one representative from each member municipality. The rationale for striking a standing committee is to allow those councils that may wish to appoint someone other than their regular MMA delegate, thereby increasing the number of persons involved in MMA related issues which can only be a positive development. It was further explained in the proposal that the function of the committee is to provide a method of communication between all member municipalities and the three DSSAB representatives.
�It has been pointed out by reeve Perry Anglin, and others, that because we were forced to elect only three DSSAB members, it means that for most of our municipalities this will amount to taxation without a directly-elected representative,� said Prescott. �This proposal will go a long way to ensuring that all our members feel connected to the issues facing the DSSAB as they will be setting social service levels and affecting our tax rates. It should be stressed that this initiative in no way indicates a lack of confidence in those representatives selected to the DSSAB. Rather, it will provide a mechanism for these representatives to both provide and receive information on a regular, timely and Island wide basis.�
�I think it’s a good idea– there are going to be problems keeping everyone in touch with all the issues, and anything we can do to help collect an Island wide opinion and discussion will be good,� said Anglin. He pointed out that the only thing which will be difficult is getting the committee together so quickly to discuss the issues. He proposed two liaison committees be set up: one for central and eastern Manitoulin, and the second for western Manitoulin. Although it would be easier to get together with smaller areas included in two committees, Prescott said it might deter from having a total Island wide focus on issues, and instead there could be two different views raised.
It was pointed out by Dave Ham, a DSSAB committee member, that the group might have to meet four times a month, making it difficult to set up meetings of the Liaison group and keeping abreast of issues. Ken Ferguson, mayor of Northeastern Manitoulin and the Islands, suggested the formation of a DSSAB liaison committee. �I see it as a bit cumbersome. If the committee is to deal with business that comes out of the minutes of the DSSAB meetings, we won�t see this until after these meetings, and I wonder if the liaison committee will be effective.�
�We don�t quite know how this (DSSAB) animal works,� said Anglin. He used the example of accountability of the DSSAB board. “On one hand, it has been told they are accountable to municipalities, but on the other hand, we have also been told it is accountable to the province. One of the things I would like to see is a clear direction and legal advice on things as to the direction we go. But I agree we shouldn�t wait for minutes to go back to councils and then deal with issues. I would agree there should be at least some informal meetings held.�
Ruby Croft, Gore Bay mayor, said she would favour having a liaison committee if the DSSAB representatives are in agreement with it, and it is beneficial for communications to municipalities. However, Croft was opposed to having two separate Island committees formed. She also stated, �our representatives should represent the views of the majority of municipalities, and there should be some way to give direction or requests on issues to our committee members. Without that, we will lose touch with our board representatives.� It was suggested by MMA chair Jeff Hietkamp that even though the MMA meets every two months, if the DSSAB board representatives or MMA municipalities feel there should be something discussed during the interim the MMA members could get together for an unscheduled meeting.
Prescott indicated he would be comfortable with that proposal, although he thought perhaps the issues relating to DSSAB could be separate and enough for another committee. He said he would withdraw the proposal if the MMA members feel a separate group is not necessary. It was agreed on by MMA members that minutes and agendas of the DSSAB board meetings should be distributed to all Island municipalities. �We are building a brand-new corporation here, and the input of all Island municipalities is essential,� said Ham. The MMA members passed a motion to the effect that if a special meeting is required, it will be scheduled through the association to discuss DSSAB issues and concerns.
Marketing Strategy to Explore Tourism Potential
As local residents and tourists who visit can attest, the Manitoulin Island Lacloche area is a very popular tourist destination. Despite this, the generally unsaid feeling of most is the Island has until now only scratched the surface of its potential for drawing tourists.
A major step towards accomplishing this goal was taken last week, when a brainstorming and long-term planning meeting was put on by Lacloche Manitoulin Business Assistance Corporation and area Chambers of Commerce, and sponsored by FedNor. The common theme of the workshop was that there should be an organized way of amalgamating all the groups on the Island and their ideas. From the Chambers of Commerce to the Manitoulin Tourism Association, an overall strategy plan for Manitoulin-Lacloche needs to be developed, instead of just looking at individual communities.
It was suggested that one of the main goals of a strategy plan should be expanding the tourist season beyond six weeks, with more promotion and marketing of such things as snowmobiling. There is no reason that Manitoulin should not be a very popular destination for visitors in the winter. Mainly through the hard work of the Manitoulin Snowdusters, the Island has the groomed trails and scenery that should draw everyone. This should be marketed more, as should ice-fishing, which is certainly a popular sport for those who live on the Island.
Extension of the tourism season also means the necessity to have the infrastructure and many more facilities, such as resorts, be open on a year-round basis. In the past there hasn�t been any reason for resorts to open beyond the normal summer season, but in the past few years and with the further promotion of Manitoulin-Lacloche being a four seasons destination this has to change. A complete calendar of events, developed for the entire area, is something definitely needed to entice visitors to the Island and encourage them to stay for longer periods of time.
The group also focused on poor signage as another problem area. We all know visitors to an area get frustrated when a lack of good signage makes it difficult to find their way around. Ecotourism, which is also a strong suit of the area, needs to be promoted and expanded. All these ideas and suggestions, coupled with a sense of teamwork among those who attended the meeting, appears to be pointing in the direction of bringing Manitoulin and Lacloche to its full potential as a world-renowned four-season tourist destination.
Jody Prato of the Schooner Restaurant called to let me know that White�s Shell in Manitowaning will be open Sundays from ten in the morning to three in the afternoon. This is exciting news for snowmobilers who have long been inconvenienced by not being able to get gas in Manitowaning or the area. Congratulations to White�s for responding to the demand.
Rainbow Gardens has been awarded the contract to supply flowers to the City of Sudbury. They will be planting the flower beds all around the municipality. Congratulations, George! Brookwood Brae has opened up its golf course for cross-country skiing and their licensed clubhouse for food and refreshments. They are open Saturdays and Sundays, and for more information call them at 377-4979 or click on their name, above, to visit their website.
Lutz Hermann has launched Northern Rainbow Colour Printing and Design in Gore Bay. He offers supreme quality colour printing and copying on site. Among other things, they can do tickets, invitations, custom designs and photo enlargements. The Chamber of Commerce is planning their fifth annual Manitoulin art tour scheduled for June 25, 26 and 27, 1999. They are looking for committee members, so if you are interested in participating, please call the office.
There was a good turnout from the business community at the regional marketing meeting held January 11th at the arena in Little Current. LAMBAC, along with the Espanola Chamber of Commerce and the Manitoulin Chamber of Commerce spearheaded the brain-storming session. Business people, individuals, volunteers and municipal leaders were able to network with the likes of John Murray from The Randolph Group, Mike Brophy from The Canadian Ecology Centre, Brad and Craig Miron from Rock Solid Business Solutions, Tim West from The Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs, Ian McMillan for tourism, and Doug Nadarozny on telecommunications. Mark Oldfield, organizer of The Great Manitoulin Star Party announced this year�s dates and showed a video of the event. An excellent lunch of soup and sandwiches was provided by the English Pantry.
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].
ONTARIO – Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) minister John Snobelen announced last week that the government intends to end the spring bear hunt in Ontario this spring, something many groups such as the International Fund for Animal Welfare and United Chiefs and Councils of Manitoulin have long urged to take place.
The government made the decision to end the spring bear hunt because Snobelen says it will not tolerate cubs being orphaned by hunters mistakenly shooting mother bears in the spring. �Many people have told us that the way the hunt is conducted and the inevitable loss of some cubs is unacceptable,� Snobelen said. �We have reviewed current practices and considered modifications; but none provide assurance that young bears and their mothers would be protected as they emerge from their dens in the spring. Stopping the hunt is the only protection for the animals.�
Snobelen was to meet with the Northern Ontario Tourist Outfitters Association to consider ways of assisting outfitters who have already invested resources in this year�s hunt. The hunt would have begun April 15 and run until June 15 in most of the province. The Minister has directed MNR staff to post a notice of intention on the Environment Bill of Rights registry. �We realize this action will create problems for some outfitters,� Snobelen said. �We will do whatever is reasonable to address the impact. We are also convinced that there are opportunities to broaden and strengthen economic development in the north through the further development of eco-tourism. We are looking at a number of options in that area.�
The plan to end the spring bear hunt will not reduce other hunting activities, including traditional deer, moose and fall bear. Ontario has one of the largest bear populations in North America, estimated at 75,000 to 100,000. �The government supports a broad range of fishing, hunting and conservation activities as part of the Ontario outdoors experience and heritage,� Snobeln said. �We continue to pursue ways to enhance fishing and hunting opportunities.�
LITTLE CURRENT – Brainstorming and long-term planning with a positive attitude were the order of the day when the LaCloche Manitoulin Business Assistance Corporation (LAMBAC) and area Chambers of Commerce held a FedNor sponsored Regional Marketing Plan Workshop at the Little Current Recreational Center from 10a.m. to 4:30pm on January 11, 1999. Over 150 local area businessmen and other interested parties were in attendance for the all day event, which had grown out of the Youth Intern Project sponsored by FedNor, LAMBAC and the Espanola and Manitoulin Chambers of Commerce.
After an overview provided by Brophy and Murray, a panel discussion ensued with Brad & Craig Miron on marketing, Ian McMillan on Tourism, and Mike Brophy on Ecotourism. Tim West talked on the Snowdusters and local snowmobiling and finished off with Doug Nadorozny, who discussed the technological infrastructure of the island. The workshop conducted a general discussion and suggestion period.
Mark Oldfield gave a short talk on the innovative Manitoulin Star Party, an Ecotourism event at Carter�s Bay on the south shore of the Island– an ideal location to observe the night sky during the August meteor showers. This event featuring fairly low-impact Ecotourism had grown out of the unofficial “squatters� parties” Oldfield had been introduced to by Dan and Myrna Kluff before the current development began. Immediately following the presentation on the star parties concept, the workshop broke into groups to discuss and pinpoint main ideas and possible strategies for marketing on the island.
Using the focus groupings presented by Mr. Murray (Market Partnerships, Land & Water Based Tourism, Ecotourism, and Snowmobiling and Telecommunications) and following the general principles of focusing on the future and strategic planning, the many participants separated into the groups of their particular interest to discuss strategies. Following the group discussions, each group presented its consensus.
Phil Blake represented the Marketing Partnerships Study group, which decided that the main goal should be to expand the season beyond the current six weeks. He noted that the high summer season tends to stretch the Islands resources to the limit now. Concentration had to be given to accessibility and infrastructure, as well as education of local people that change can be good. Target markets were identified as seniors, retirees, empty nesters and a growing number of foreign tourists.
In addition to expanding the season, more attention has to be focused on the so-called drive-throughs, people who get on the island at one end and drive straight through to the other. Ways must be found, explained Blake, to entice people to stay that extra day, stop more on their way through and leave a few dollars behind. It was suggested that the current marketing groups should amalgamate and provide a more focused and co ordinated use of resources. A central reservation system for the Island was also put forward as a possible improvement to dealing with visitors.
Presentation of the Land- & Water-based tourism groups were given together, and had a number of similarities in the concerns and areas needing improvement. Poor signage was a constant theme from a number of the focus groups, but was particularly brought forward here. It was noted that the island signage was very poor, making it difficult for visitors to find their way around. The need for a consistent marketing image was also stressed, as well as an overall Area Plan. It was pointed out that more needs to be done to put together �packages,� noting that this is a particular weakness identified in Ontario generally, but particularly in the North. Better identification of the product being offered is required and it was felt that these needs could be best addressed through a consolidated group to co-ordinate marketing.
The consensus of the focus group dealing with Ecotourism was that it should be the overall philosophy of the island’s marketing plan. Ecotourism, it was felt, is the great strong suit of the Island, a consistent theme of many of the islands businesses. Ways need to be found to expand the season and promote the Island’s idyllic atmosphere. The group felt a “Friends of the Island” passport could be put in place, much the same as the “Friends of Misery Bay” association on the west end of the Island. Overall co-ordination was a central theme of this group, a theme which reoccurred time and again throughout the day and the discussions.
Snowmobiling was addressed by Kelly O�Hare, filling in for Tim West. The group noted that there is a great need for better communication and support for the snowmobile associations. With little or no funding, the associations are run and largely financed by the efforts of a number of overworked volunteers. The need for greater local business involvement and partnership was stressed as a key area to expand the season on the island. Local business does little to support the necessary infrastructure to improve the conditions that would attract more snowmobilers to Manitoulin. It was proposed that greater emphasis on maps with local businesses paying for advertising could be a source of funds to enhance the trails as could the sponsorship of signs. CKNR announced that they would be running trail information reports on pressure cracks and other hazards or trail conditions. Those with information to report are asked to contact Rita Gordon at (705) 859 – 2470.
NEMI Mayor Ken Fergusson fronted the final group to report, Telecommunications. The shortcomings and needs of the islands communication system prompted the suggestions that a group be set up to promote the improvement of the infrastructure and to ready the area to take immediate advantage of technology as it becomes available. It was noted that there is no easy way to discover what projects are currently being planned and which projects are already on line in the area, but that planning cannot wait for the technology to arrive. By then it is too late, he said. Organization must begin now in order to quickly take advantage of the possibilities of emerging technology.
Such new technologies may mean the availability of hand-held Global Satellite Positioning devices being supplied for nominal deposit to help people find their way around. Low power FM broadcasting was also discussed as a possible solution to informing people what is available on the island and even when they were approaching a site. Ray Pardiac offered the services of the Manitoulin Chamber and himself to help co-ordinate technology information. The results and comments of the focus groups will be taken back by the workshop organizers to be synthesized into the formal Marketing Strategy.
Calving Tips – Prior to Calving – make sure the cow herd has proper nutrition, particularly in the final six weeks before calving. While a winter maintenance ration is fine early in the pregnancy, as calving time gets nearer one must pay attention to balance of energy, protein, and minerals in order to fine tune your own group of cows.
The overall winter ration should be formulated to maintain cows in proper condition. A body condition score of 2.5-3 is recommended at calving. There is a fine line between feeding cows enough to provide ample milk and feeding them so much they gain unnecessary weight. To protect the calf consider treating cows with a scour prevention vaccine. There are several products on the market that can reduce the risk of calves contracting scours caused by E-coli bacteria or rotavirus or coronavitus viruses. First-call heifers and cows that haven�t been vaccinated before should be given the first shot six weeks prior to calving, followed by a booster shot two weeks before calving. Cows that have had the vaccine before will need a booster shot 2-3 weeks before calving. Consult your local veterinarian for vaccination advice.
Courses! A Beef Herd Health Series begins February 11. Topics will include pre-calving preparation and feeding strategies and vaccination strategies. The first session is at the Spring Bay Hall, February 11, 7:00 – 10:00 p.m. Call the Agriculture Office to register. Crop summary: Reports include 1998 Forage Average Analysis, Variety Performance Trials, Cereal Corn Update and a Hemp Research Update. Call the office for a copy. A little reminder – we�re into 1999, so how about preparing your books from 1998?
CAPE VERDE ISLANDS – During a recent visit to the Cape Verde Islands off the coast of Africa, a friend spotted an interesting wreck in the harbour at Mindelo. It proved to be the remains of H.M.C.S. Manitoulin, a Western Isles Class, anti-submarine trawler built at Midland in 1942. Construction of this vessel began with the keel-laying ceremony on November 25, 1941. The ship was launched the following April 23 and commissioned September 28.
Despite the urgency of war, Canadian naval ships built on the Great Lakes were often sent to visit their namesake communities prior to departing for duty. Unfortunately, I have no concrete information to confirm this was the case of H.M.C.S. Manitoulin. Perhaps a reader will remember. The 49.99 metre long vessel arrived at Halifax on November 30, 1942, and, following attention to last-minute details, it was put to work defending our coast.
As one of the sixteen Western Isles Class trawlers built in Canada for the British Royal Navy, the Manitoulin was one of eight loaned to the Canadian Navy to assist our coastal convoys. It was first assigned to the Sydney Force and worked out of Porte-aux-Basques, Nfld., but after April 4, 1943, was based at Halifax. As the war was winding down, the ship went overseas and in June 1945 arrived at Plymouth, England, to spend the remaining days of the war with the Royal Navy. I assume that the hull joined many other redundant naval ships in a paid-off, decommissioned status until being sold to Norwegian interests in 1947.
The Manitoulin was rebuilt in 1948 as a cargo ship and resumed trading as RAN. It was equipped with two cargo holds and could handle up to 600 tons of freight. It became RAN B. in 1951 before returning to Canada. Blue Peter Steamships, an east coast firm, purchased the vessel late in 1951 and it crossed the Atlantic for a new career as the Blue Peter II. The ship was busy in coastal service carrying fish and freight around Labrador, Newfoundland and along the St. Lawrence.
The Blue Peter II was repowered in 1954 with a 1000 horsepower diesel engine and noted to be registered at 613 gross tons and 340 net tons. Although the ship now thrived in coastal trading, it did make one trip through the St. Lawrence Seaway in 1960 to visit her native Great Lakes. The vessel was renamed the Blue Bay in 1964 and, following a sale to R.J. Sumarah, became the Williams in 1965. Another deal found the ship sailing as the Queen Patricia and then as the Geaorges A. Rocja. Under the latter name, the owner was noted as Mme. Lecointre and it was placed under the flag of Panama.
Duties now moved away from Canadian waters. The vessel was believed to be operating out of Caribbean ports and provided refrigerated cargo service for several years. The specific date of the ship�s demise is not available but it is understood to have occurred in the early Eighties. It ran aground at Mindelo, Sao Vicente, Cape Verde Islands and was abandoned. It subsequently caught fire, perhaps the work of vandals, and the gutted remains are still there.
Lloyds Register, which monitors worldwide shipping, notes �continued existence in doubt� in 1985-86. But today, even the name is still readable and what is left of the old Manitoulin is shown in a photo taken October 10, 1998, by Captain Hubert Hall. At least one of the western Isles trawlers, the Collingwood-built Campobello, was lost during World War Two. Others such as Manitoulin survived to aid the peacetime reconstruction of the Allies and eventually found cargo carrying duties in various parts of the world. The recent discovery, however, closed the chapter on the area namesake.