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Rainy River to get economic development office

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Federal funding for a full-time economic development office in Rainy River has been secured, giving the west end of the district an economic development officer once more.

The announcement was made last week after local MP Bob Nault presented the Rainy River Future Development Corp. with more than $550,000.

Part of that funding will be used by the RRFDC to open the office in Rainy River. Geoff Gillon, RRFDC community investment manager, said Dan Wright has been brought in to help with the satellite office.

“We’re down there, raring to go," Gillon said. "[Wright] will start work on Monday.”

“The Liberal government strongly believes in supporting local economic development initiatives,” Nault said.

"The recent federal budget extended FedNor’s mandate indefinitely, which will give us the flexibility to continue working with west end communities to develop and diversify their economic bases and create jobs in the district.

“This is good news not just for the town of Rainy River but for the entire west end,” he added.

“Just having the office, I think, will be good for all the district," echoed Rainy River Mayor Gordon Armstrong. ”We’ve been working on this a long time.

“I think it’s long overdue.”

Although Wright will start in Rainy River, Gillon said he won’t be stationed there permanently.

“Dan is a member of a team,” he said, adding Wright, Jack Hendry, and himself would be working out of Fort Frances, Rainy River, and Emo.

“He’ll be rotated through with the rest of us,” he remarked.

By adding a satellite office in Rainy River, it’s hoped the RRFDC can fill the gap left when the previous economic development office there, funded by the provincial government, ran out of money.

“We were kind of disappointed when the provincial government pulled out,” Mayor Armstrong said, noting a lot of positive things were done through the EDO and that its role became very important to west end communities.

“If you do it for five years and then pull the plug on it, it doesn’t make much sense,” he said.

“Things did not look very bright when the provincial government slashed funding for economic development but this is a priority issue for the federal government,” Nault stressed.

“I’m quite pleased that we’re able to help these communities deal with the serious situation created by provincial cuts,” he added.

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