Dozens of economic development stakeholders are taking part in the Transforming Ontario’s North Summit in Cochrane, northeast of the province.
For four days, participants will discuss many themes and develop strategies to stimulate economic growth in the region.
“One of the challenges we have is not realizing the huge potential that Northern Ontario has,” says Cochrane Mayor Peter Politis, who is one of the organizers of the event.
He illustrates his remarks with the Ring of Fire, a deposit that would have been developed if Northern Ontario had shown as much vision as Quebec and Manitoba, for example.
We need a long-term plan in the North, a plan that extends beyond a government’s four years. We have lots of smart people, we need to find a forum to bring these people together and gather our ideas and approach the government with a common plan.
Peter Politis, Mayor of Cochrane
This exchange of ideas enchants the director of the Economic Development Department of the City of Hearst, Sylvie Fontaine, who will take part in the summit.
It’s about seeing together what synergy we can develop, what kind of future we can think of for the future of Northern Ontario ,” she says.
The issues of woodland caribou protection , youth retention and mineral exploration investments are particularly important to him. She hopes that the format the meeting will take – brainstorming and sharing sessions as opposed to exclusive expert conferences – can generate good ideas.
Summit Important To The Region
Ms. Fontaine also believes that the kind of exercise that will be held this week in Cochrane is somewhat unusual in the north of the province.
There is never one conference too many. Congresses where we get together collectively to find a solution or actions, there is not enough, she notes.
The summit will end Thursday.
Marie Bram started working for Spruce Tribune in 2017. Marie grew up in a small town in northern Manitoba. But moved to Ontario for university. Before joining Spruce Tribune, Marie briefly worked as a freelance journalist for CBC News. She covers politics and the economy.