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NOMA reveals plan for the Northwest to grow and prosper

Wendy Landry said the plan will evolve over time. It will be a guide and a commitment for what they are going to do for the Northwest.

THUNDER BAY – The Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association recently unveiled a new regional economic plan.

Wendy Landry, president of the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association and Shuniah's mayor, said it’s time for the region to grow.

“We’ve been historically dependant on the forest industry and on different types of industries, but that has all changed over the years.

“We took a comprehensive look at what we need to do in order to grow Northwestern Ontario in a collaborative approach with our municipalities, our neighbouring First Nations and all levels of government industry agencies,” she said.

NOMA has been famous for coming up with solutions, Landry said.

“We wanted to come up with the action items that we could, for example, draw a road map to foster and coordinate any policies that are coming forward, from all levels of government, to achieve desired outcomes for all of our municipalities.”

Landry said NOMA looked at the 37 municipalities, realizing that everybody has different needs and abilities to showcase. They wanted to make sure they put together a plan that can be used for decades.

The plan is a live document, to guide municipalities on what the Northwest needs in order to grow for the future.

“This is a 10-year live document and it’s a few hundred pages long. There are a lot of things included.

“I encourage people to go to the website, take a read and find a place where they can participate with NOMA,” Landry said.

It’s really important because it’s a collaborative approach, she said.

“It speaks to our commitment to enhancing and growing our communities in the Northwest.”

NOMA received a grant from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund for an intern this past year to help them put this together.

Landry said there were lots of surveys and virtual meetings. They spent a lot of time identifying people that should be a part of the plan.

“The importance of this plan is that it’s a road map, it's action items.

“By sharing this plan, people can see where our communities need to go, where the strengths are, where we need to build, where we need to work together and where we need to collaborate.”

Landry said it will change over time. It will be a guide and a commitment for what they are going to do for the Northwest.

“One of the underlying messages that we got was that municipalities need people and people need jobs.

“It’s really important to keep our municipalities sustainable, and growing from the health-care sector to the business sector to everything,” she said.

Landry said they want to make sure it is a comprehensive approach to realize and appreciate our geographical perspective, because the Northwest is very different from the rest of Ontario.

“This is a really good opportunity for our municipalities to work closely with our First Nations.

“This plan puts forward a road map and action items - where everyone can work together so that all of our communities can grow and prosper for the future.”

Olivia Browning

About the Author: Olivia Browning

Olivia’s major life passion would have to be a tie between reading and writing.
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