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Delegates taking long list of issues

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Local delegates will bring a briefcase full of northern issues with them to Windsor next week.

Mayor Roy Avis, Couns. Paul Ryan and June Caul, Coun. Wendy Brunetta (representing the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association), and Fort Frances CAO Doug Brown will be attending the annual general meeting of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario on Aug. 14-17.

Brown said quite a few meetings have been scheduled between delegates and various political figures.

On Monday, they’ll meet first with Dr. Albert Schumacher of the Ontario Medical Association regarding the critical funding shortage for physician recruitment in Fort Frances.

Other topics will include the impact of alcohol misuse in the Northwestern Health Unit’s catchment area and the expansion of medical responses through the fire service in Rainy River District.

“In some other provinces and in the [U.S.], the ambulance and fire department work out of one hall, one base, and aren’t separate like we are in Ontario,” noted Brown.

“We want to look at it and see if that’s feasible to do that in Rainy River District, and see if the province will help study it,” he remarked.

Delegates then will meet with the Attorney General Yasir Naqvi regarding a permanent Crown Attorney for Fort Frances.

Brown said the province has agreed to hire a Crown Attorney here. But as it stands now, the position only is being advertised for a one-year term.

“We want to go and make sure that he’s aware that we want to make sure it becomes permanent,” he stressed.

Northern Development and Mines minister Michael Gravelle will be next up.

The local delegates will deliver to him a file regarding all of the issues they’ll be bringing to other ministers at AMO, as well as speaking with him about the province cutting summer jobs service program funding this year.

This is the first year the town has not received this funding to help pay summer students’ wages.

Also on Monday, the delegates will meet with Natural Resources and Forestry minister Kathryn McGarry regarding the future of the pulp and paper mill here.

Delegates will spend Tuesday attending plenary and workshop sessions being offered at the conference, covering a range of topics that reflect the broad scope of municipal responsibilities.

Then on Wednesday, they’ll meet with John Fraser, parliamentary assistant to Health and Long-term Care minister Dr. Eric Hoskins, to reiterate the same three topics they brought to Dr. Schumacher’s attention.

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