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Safety coalition looking for support

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With a preliminary budget of $225,000 to host the World Health Organization conference here in 2002, the Rainy River Valley Safety Coalition is hoping to get some help from the town to get ready.

Doug Langtry, former vice-chair of the RRVSC, came with “hat in hand” to Monday night’s council meeting. He said short-term and operational cash are the two biggest requirements the RRVSC has at this point.

The most immediate project would be the purchase of a travelling display backdrop to promote the conference at the WHO conference next month in India.

Langtry said the RRVSC also wants to start pulling information from residents about how they would like to see the conference run, and what sites will be toured by visiting delegates, so as to develop “ownership across the district.”

“Between now and May, 20022, your coalition needs a commitment that we have the ability to work with the processes in the district to put on the best conference the WHO group has ever seen,” Langtry stressed.

Mayor Glenn Witherspoon and Couns. Sharon Tibbs, Bill Martin, Roy Avis, and Struchan Gilson agreed to meet with an RRVSC committee next Tuesday at noon as a “good start” to a series of meetings in the future.

Langtry noted about one-third of the $225,000 would be generated by registration fees, with potentially another third coming from the federal government.

Mayor Witherspoon asked if the RRVSC had approached the new provincial tourism minister for funds. He also pointed out he and town clerk Glen Treftlin could approve up to $25,000 locally from the Trillium Foundation, with higher grants available from the provincial board.

“There’s a lot of funding agents out there,” he noted.

Langtry said the RRVSC will be making another presentation at the Rainy River District Municipal Association meeting later this month to garner more district support and input.

He stressed the economic impact from just the conference alone, not to mention all the savings from the safety initiatives put in place so far, could be staggering to entire area.

“I don’t know how I could put a price on it,” he said. “Plus there’s the results following [the conference], displaying the district’s value to the world.”

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