Emo Reeve Russ Fortier, chair of the 2005-06 board of directors for the Rainy River Future Development Corp., and Angela Halvorsen, a business investment officer there, last Wednesday thanked Alberton council for its recent decision to support the RRFDC.
While the township had not provided any funding to the RRFDC since 2002, council agreed last month to offer $7 per capita for the 2006-07 fiscal year to help fund its services, meaning Alberton has contributed $6,860.
“With more partners there are more things we can do together,” Reeve Fortier stressed, noting some of the benefits Alberton residents can access through the RRFDC now that they are members.
For instance, 47 percent of business loans are offered to district residents, with 10 percent of that going to Alberton. And in the last five years, seven people from the township have used the Self-employment Benefits program.
Reeve Fortier indicated the RRFDC also purchased a new tent this year for people to rent and use for different functions in the district.
“You can make it big or small, depending on what your doing,” added Halvorsen.
Broadband also is an area where the RRFDC is focusing its efforts, with four new towers in the works.
“We’ll be reasonably covered throughout the district,” Reeve Fortier explained, providing a map to councillors of new and existing towers.
In addition, he noted some funding would be offered—through local initiatives—to the Rainy River Valley Field Naturalists “bog walk” in Alberton.
“Alberton is directly impacted through RRFDC’s initiatives,” Reeve Fortier stressed, adding it provides assistance to the Rainy River regional abattoir project and to the Kitchen Creek golf course, just to name a few.
“And you can now participate in the Community Improvement Plan, too,” he noted.
Several other district communities, such as Emo, Chapple, La Vallee, and Rainy River, already have jumped at the opportunity to implement this program designed by Jessie Zhang, an economic development intern at the RRFDC.
The RRFDC also has a proposed plan for an economic development officer assistant project, which is where Alberton’s funding would be used.
“Communities can’t afford an EDO on their own,” Reeve Fortier explained. “Often the idea is there and the money is there, but you can’t get it to look right on paper.”
This would be the job of the EDO—if the 2007 proposed plan is approved.
Since the RRFDC is a membership-driven, non-profit, community-based organization, it is governed by a board of directors.
There also are two committees: the Regional Economic Development Committee and the Business Investment Committee.
Reeve Fortier invited a member of Alberton council or the township to get involved.
“The advantage is you would have direct communication back and forth—a good communication flow,” said Halvorsen.
Council didn’t nominate anyone for a position on the RRFDC at the meeting.
In other business at its regular monthly meeting last Wednesday night, Alberton council:
•agreed to provide cheques to several residents who applied for reimbursement under the new Non-resident Library Fee Program;
•selected ML Judson Trucking Ltd. for an excavation tender and Craig McKinnon Carpentry for tender to replace the fire hall entrance door;
•agreed to send council members to the Rainy River District Municipal Association general meeting today (May 17) in Fort Frances;
•reviewed and updated the 2006 budget before it is passed next month, primarily discussing funds for road work;
•approved payment of $343 as requested by the Rainy River Vet Services Committee for 2006 per capita funding;
•passed a resolution to contribute $100 to the Rainy River Watershed Program for the 2006 Household Hazardous Waste Day held May 6 in Fort Frances; and
•proclaimed June as “Seniors’ Month.”
Alberton council’s next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, June 14 at 7 p.m. at the municipal office.