After calling the Council Meeting to Order, and the agenda approved, Council got down to business. Councillor Aquino advised his fellow members and the attending public that he would be attending a Rural Advisory Committee Meeting in Ottawa next week.
Aquino went on to say that, “as a member of the subcommittee on economic development, I have been asked to present a paper to the Minister of Finance, regarding barriers to economic diversification for single industry resource based towns in rural and remote areas of Canada. I’m going to be featuring Northern Ontario as an example. I’d like to thank the EDC (Economic Development Corporation), especially Maury O’Neill who provided very pertinent data for my presentation.”. Mayor Morrison for Council wished him well on this presentation.
Rod Morrison, Mayor, read portions of a letter from Maury O’Neill, CEO of the EDC. This letter stated that the EDC has received 70 nominations for “Business Excellence Awards”. The letter goes on to ask for support in promoting ticket sales for the Gala Dinner. The Gala Dinner will feature a roast beef dinner served at 6:00 p.m., April 7th at the Legion Hall. Tickets are available at the EDC, Township Offices, and the Northern Credit Union. Mayor Morrison explained that “if we can get this promoted to the business community, corporate community and community in general, it should be a very successful event, something we should all feel good about.”
Jim Aquino asked Council under the Strategic Community Services (Inquiries by Members) section, “to consider the problem that was made aware to the municipality in October regarding the provision of medical services to this community.” He explained that Councillor Rody had been approached to attend a meeting (in the absence of Councillors Lamon and Aquino to attend). When Councillor Aquino returned, a teleconference call was put together with the aid of the Clerk to all involved parties. At that time they discussed the plight that the medical staff had made them aware of, “that things are going to get worse before they get better, in the provision of medical services to this community and the surrounding area.” He went on, “Since then a meeting a month has been held (since October), and at the last meeting (February 15th), the concern of the committee was that there seems to be a difference of opinion as to who should be driving this initiative. Is this a municipality initiative or is it a hospital initiative? There seems to be some difference of opinion on members of Council as to who should be directing this initiative. I’d like to clear the air this evening and have some discussion on this issue. For the next meeting is going to be convened on the 24th of this month; and if no one steps up to the plate, this committee will fold. And, then we would be held in jeopardy as to the provision to the medical services today, and in the future. As you know, and the public knows, there is a shortage of doctors throughout Canada and by having this committee address this issue, we are not looking for (speaking as a member of this committee) any money from this municipality, or any other muncipality, we are concerned about a strategy. So that when we do have a recruitment initiative, to have medical professionals come to Wawa, that we do have a strategy to welcome them to town, to provide them with the initiatives to stay here, etc, etc. This can’t be done by the hospital, because it is not a provision for the Lady Dunn to take on, it is a initiative that this municipality along with other interested parties in the area. So with that preamble, I’d want to have some discussion as to where members of Council and Your Worship, feel this committee should be and how should it be directed.
A discussion ensured amongst members of Council, with the final outcome being that Chris Wray, CEO has been invited to attend the next meeting in order to provide some basic direction, as to how in incorporate, how to structure this committee, so that it can be brought forth to the membership, so that they can act accordingly and effectively.
Aquino brought forth several other matters before council, the extension of hours at the Michipicoten Memorial Community Centre for early morning exercisers, and the provision of signage in some fashion to inform travellers that Government Road doesn’t lead back to Highway 17N; and the ongoing problem of traffic/parents dropping off children at St. Joseph’s, École St. Joseph and Michipicoten High School.
The construction schedule for the Wawa Water Treatment Plant has been received, and construction will begin shortly.
In New Business, the Township of Michipicoten Municipal Council accepted the letter of Resignation from the fire department regarding Captain Andy Fairbrother. Andy Fairbrother leaves the Volunteer Fire Department after 18 years of service.