Word from local MP Robert Nault that the Rainy River Future Development Corp. won’t see a decrease in funding next year has brought a sigh of relief to west-end residents, particularly those who use its satellite office in Rainy River.
In an interview last week, Nault said while he couldn’t guarantee more money for the RRFDC in 1999, he noted “there certainly won’t be less.”
He also implied that meant its office in Rainy River was safe for at least another year.
“Hey, that’s good news,” Rainy River Mayor Gordon Armstrong said, adding many people have been wondering if the satellite office, which is just finishing its first year in business, would see year two.
“It’s kind of hard to run if you don’t know if you’re going to there one year, two years, or three years,” Mayor Armstrong noted. “I’m glad it’s going to run. We appreciate it very much.”
“It’s great to have the office down there,” echoed Geoff Gillon, community investment manager for the RRFDC. “It’s helped us out of a ‘Fort Frances’ focus. The west-end office has been an asset.”
Gillon said the main reason for the Rainy River office is to help promote a regional view regarding economic development.
Dan Wright, who’s been working out of the office there since it opened, said the move towards regional thinking has been coming slowly but surely.
“There’s been the odd problem that’s cropped up but, in general, I think everyone sees the value of working regionally,” Wright said, noting he’s supported the regional concept for a number of years.
“Any kind of work we do calls for teamwork,” he added, noting the widespread use of fax machines, e-mail, and Internet access has helped make things smoother.
“There’s always going to be community loyalties out there but I think people are starting to say what’s good for Stratton is good Rainy River and what’s good for Rainy River is good for Barwick,” echoed Mayor Armstrong.
The mayor agreed having Wright in the Rainy River office has contributed a lot to bringing the regional view into play, noting he was very approachable as well as knowledgeable.
“Dan is well known amongst us, and I think they hired the right guy,” he remarked. “The fact he lives in the community and knows what the community is doing is a big plus.”
“I’ve enjoyed working with the RRFDC and I’ve really been pleased with all the efforts they’ve put into the west end,” Wright said. “I’m pretty pleased to be an employee.”