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THUNDER BAY, ON  ----  May 3, 2011  ---   The Northwestern Ontario Associated Chambers of Northwestern Ontario Associated Chambers of Commerce (NOACC) Commerce (NOACC) held their 76th Spring Meeting & AGM in Kenora, Ontario on April 27-29, 2011.  Area Chambers and business leaders representing the region heard speakers on the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC), prospecting and mineral exploration in the Northwest and the Regional Immigration Portal.  In addition, there was debate/discussion on the province’s Northern Growth Plan and a variety of resolutions on important issues on behalf of the Northwestern Ontario business community.

"It is very important to ensure that Northwestern Ontario's voice is heard in various government ministries where policy and planning decisions are made" stated Barry Streib, outgoing NOACC President.  "A number of focused resolutions were brought forward and approved by the membership, dealing with some of the critical issues affecting our region; Debt Reduction Targets for Province of Ontario; Maximizing Benefits of Resource Development for Province of Ontario; Energy as a Development Tool; Twinning of the Trans Canada Highway 11-17; and Use of Wood in Mid-Rise Construction – Changes to Ontario Building Code."  (An Executive Summary of the approved resolutions is attached)

In addition to the resolutions/policy process, the Spring meeting/AGM included featured a “changing of the guard” with Kenora’s Andy Scribilo sworn in as NOACC President.  “Our delegates were pleased with the wealth of information they received and the opportunity to discuss business issues affecting Northwestern Ontario is a mainstay of our organization.  It was capped off with an inspiring dinner speech by Jim Bell, President & CEO of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.  I look forward to my term as President of this dynamic business organization”.

During the Annual General Meeting, the NOACC membership elected their 2011/2012 Executive: Andrew Scribilo (Kenora) – President; Rebecca Johnson (Thunder Bay) - Vice-President
Michael Nitz (Thunder Bay) – Vice-President; Dennis Buset (Thunder Bay) - Vice-President, Finance;
Barry Streib (Thunder Bay) – Immediate Past President

"The Kenora & District Chamber of Commerce did a wonderful job of hosting our NOACC Spring Meeting/AGM," said Barry Streib. "Kenora's spirit and hospitality was evident throughout the meeting.

NOACC has been the Voice of Business in Northwestern Ontario since 1931, lobbying for progressive solutions that best fit with the needs of our communities. NOACC represents every active Chamber of Commerce stretching from Greenstone and Marathon, to the Manitoba border in twelve communities. The membership includes over 2000 businesses and some of the largest corporations in the region.

2011/2012 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY


1.   Debt Reduction Targets for Province of Ontario
 
That NOACC urge the Government of Ontario to:
1. Adopt specific targets for debt reduction over the next 10 years and a clear plan to meet those targets.
2. Outline the plan and timetable in the next Provincial budget


2.   Maximizing Benefits of Resource Development for Province of Ontario

 That NOACC urge the Government of Ontario to:
1. Adopt a proper accounting of all of its costs, borne by the taxpayers, associated with the Ring of Fire be tracked, and that;
2. When considering requests by the private sector to support resource development, the Province takes into account the expenses required to bring the development on-line, thoroughly assesses the revenue to be received, then prudently assesses the Province’s Investment.
3. If decisions are made by the private sector to process natural resources outside of the Province, the full amount invested by the Province to support development should be calculated and the Province recoup the amount invested through a full range of financial means.
4. Focus on effective business supply chain development for First Nations businesses that would yield significant, long term benefits throughout the region and province. 


3. Energy as a Development Tool
 
 That NOACC urge the Government of Ontario to:
1. Address the use of resources located in Ontario, including energy, as a powerful and compelling investment attraction and retention tool for manufacturing. 
2. Allow the North to utilize its abundant natural energy sources and relatively inexpensively generated electricity, priced at a level commensurate with its costs and with the appropriate power transmission infrastructure. 
3. Create an environment where investment will come to Ontario to develop new business around our resource base throughout the Province.


4. Twinning of the Trans Canada Hwy 11-17
 
 That NOACC urge the Government of Ontario to:
1. Develop and implement a long range plan including the commitment of specific sums of money over the long term to create a four-lane divided highway through Northern Ontario to enhance and grow the economies of the North.
2.  Partner with the federal government to plan to twin all sections of the Trans Canada Highway, starting where there is no alternate Canadian highway route. This plan is to be completed within two years so that construction can start in 2013.


5. Use of Wood in Mid-Rise Construction – Changes to Ontario Building Code
 
 That NOACC urge the Government of Ontario to:
 Support the proposed changes to the Ontario Building Code regarding the use of wood in  mid-rise construction and urge that the proposed changes be included in the 2012 edition  of the Ontario Building Code.

 

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