BORDERING ON THE FUTURE
Message from the Chair 5
Overview of the RRFDC 6
Economic Overview of the Region 8
Review of 2008-2009 Actions
Business Development Report 10
Strategic Planning 13
Community and Economic Development 14
Audited Financial Statements March 31, 2009 31
Message from the Chair
I would like to welcome you to the 2009 Annual General Meeting of
the Rainy River Future Development Corporation (RRFDC).
Since our original incorporation in 1982, the organization has
expanded its scope of service from serving strictly businesses
through loans and counseling to working on and promoting
economic development projects throughout the District.
The RRFDC remains committed to such activities as the
improvement of broadband infrastructure and digital cellular service
to improve the local business climate. Through our partnership with Pwi-Di-Goo-Zing Ne-
Yaa-Zhing Non-Profit Advisory Services and Thunder Bay Telephone, we have built, and
are continuing to build, the system which provides broadband service to the majority of
residents in the west end of the District. The RRFDC hopes to undertake an additional
phase of telecommunication upgrading for the District which will be enhanced and infilling
of gaps in rural service.
The Rainy River District Regional Abattoir Inc. (RRDRAI), a not-for-profit corporation, is
moving forward on construction of an abattoir and at the time of writing it looks as if they
have the majority of the required funding committed. Construction by year end is a distinct
possibility. The RRFDC has continued to assist the RRDRAI’s Board of Directors in their
evaluation of various options for the project.
The RRFDC also supports the District through such activities as our annual Customer
Service Champion event, ongoing business training through both seminars and our new
video conference centre, and support for trade and export development. In addition, the
RRFDC, through our Local Initiatives Fund, has supported thirteen community
development projects from across the District. I am also pleased with our expanded
services to the Town of Fort Frances this past year and the ongoing success with our
Rural Agriculture Initiative.
I am proud to say that the RRFDC continues to work with the majority of the Rainy River
District’s municipalities. To date we have Alberton, Chapple, Emo, Fort Frances,
LaVallee, Lake of the Woods and Rainy River as partners. We look forward to continuing
our close working relationship with all the District’s municipalities, and furthering our
partnership with our area First Nations.
I would like to thank our dedicated Board of Directors and Committee members for their
incredible commitment and hard work over the past year. We are excited by the potential
of the Rainy River District!
Overview of the Rainy River Future Development Corporation
The RRFDC is the only comprehensive regional economic development organization
within the Community Futures Development Corporation’s (CFDC) region. While our
current menu of services is itemized below, it is imperative to note the RRFDC prides
itself on partnership development and in maximizing the resources available to a project
or activity. The RRFDC works closely with all District municipal governments, First
Nations, the Sunset Country Metis, and other organizations involved in forwarding the
The RRFDC operates with a nine member Board of Directors responsible to the
membership. There are three main operating Committees; the Business Investment
Committee (BIC), the Regional Economic Development Committee (REDC) and the Local
Initiatives Committee (LI).
BOARD OF DIRECTORS 2008-2009
Russ Fortier Tony Marinaro George Emes
Chair Vice-Chair Secretary
Jan Beazley Ken McKinnon Eugene McPherson
Treasurer Director Director
Martin Dufresne Gord Armstrong Freeda Carmody
Director Director Director
The following is a list of projects and the organizations who have worked with the RRFDC
over the past several years:
Broadband Initiatives - Pwi-Di-Goo-Zing Ne-Yaa-Zhing Non-Profit Advisory Services,
Rainy River District Municipal Association
Business Links - Emo, Fort Frances and Rainy River & District Chambers of Commerce,
the Business Women’s Network, Fort Frances Business Improvement Area, Business
Development Bank of Canada
First Nations – e.g. Naicatchewenin First Nation, Big Grassy First Nation, Rainy River
First Nations, Seine River First Nation, and the Pwi-Di-Goo-Zing Ne-Yaa-Zhing Non-Profit
MOM’s Way Project - The communities of Atikokan, Baudette, Buffalo Point First Nation,
Chapple, Emo, Fort Frances, La Vallee, Piney, Rainy River, Sprague, Steinbach, and
Warroad, in addition to the Kay-Nah-Chi-Wah-Nung Historical Centre
Northern Networks Trade Conference - Town of Fort Frances, Cities of Duluth and
Thunder Bay, Wisconsin Counties Association, Northwestern Ontario Development
Regional Partnerships - Northwestern Ontario Development Network (NODN), Ontario
Association of Community Futures Development Corporation (OACFDC), Economic
Developers Council of Ontario (EDCO)
Tourism Destination Marketing Fund - North Western Ontario Tourism Association
(NWOTA), Kenora District Camp Owners Association (KDCA), Sunset Country and 8
Border Issues Committee - North Western Ontario Tourism Association (NWOTA),
Kenora District Camp Owners Association (KDCA), Sunset Country, Northwestern Ontario
Municipal Association (NOMA), Northwestern Ontario Associated Chambers of Commerce
(NOACC) and other partners
Gateway to Canada - Town of Fort Frances, City of Dryden, City of Kenora, Municipality
of Sioux Narrows/Nestor Falls, Naotkamegwanning and Onigaming First Nations, Kay-
Nah-Chi-Wah-Nung Historical Centre
Rural Agriculture – Rainy River Cattleman’s Association, Rainy River Soil and Crop
Association, Rainy River Federation of Agriculture
Regional Abattoir - Rainy River District Regional Abattoir Inc. and its 100 members
Business Training – Confederation College, PARO Centre for Women’s Enterprise, Fort
Frances Chamber of Commerce, NW Innovation Centre, Canada Manitoba Business
Economic Overview of the Region
AbitibiBowater Inc.’s (ABI) recent bankruptcy has affected
the District’s economy. This comes following some very
difficult years for the company and was precipitated by the
global economic downturn. The mill is currently being
operated by a Receiver and most suppliers are on short term
contracts and are now being paid regularly. While this has
been a blessing to our communities, as the mill was not shut
down, many suppliers have been left waiting to see if they
will receive any of the money owed to them by the company
prior to the bankruptcy.
The company did complete the constuction of its biomass
co-generation power plant, which is expected to significantly reduce its energy costs
significantly. Hopefully its construction, combined with the longtime profitability of the mill,
will enable it to remain operational through the re-structuring period. On a more positive
note, the district’s oriented strand board producer, Ainsworth Canada, is continuing to
operate at full production. There are, however, some problems on the horizon with wood
cost and availability, power costs, etc., which may reduce operation at the mill in the
coming months. This company currently employs approximately 125 people in-house
with an additional 125 people working in the woodlands to supply fibre.
Businesses such as Gingrich Woodcraft, Kish Gon Dug
Canada, Manitou Lumber and Norfab that export value-
added wood products are continuing to operate though this
difficult period and are striving for internal efficiencies.
These companies will become increasingly important to the
regional economy over the coming years as we diversify our
In addition to the developments described above, Fort
Frances and the District municipalities continue to be faced
with many challenges as recent commercial/industrial re-assessments have reduced the
funds available. The communities of Fort Frances and Rainy River have initiated actions
which they hope will increase the residential tax base by bringing in new residents. To
date, Fort Frances has successfully attracted a condominium developer who is currently
pre-selling units in a 23 unit waterfront facility while Rainy River is seeking to position
itself as a summer cottaging alternative.
The year has seen the construction of the aforementioned AbitibiBowater biomass power
generation project, the Ge-Da-Gi-Binez Youth Centre, a Boston Pizza restaurant on
King’s Highway in Fort Frances, and the initial stages of constuction for the new Robert
Moore School as well as numerous infrastructure projects across the District. Many area
municipalities have applied for funding under federal and provincial stimulus progams so
other construction projects are in the offing. The year has also seen the recent
annoucement that an investment of approximately $2 million from NOHFC, FedNor,
Ontario Cattleman’s Association and the RRFDC will result in the construction of a state
of the art abattoir in Emo this year.
Another bright spot on the horizon is the mining potential within the District. Companies
such as Metalcorp, Nuinsco Resources and Rainy River Resources have discovered
significant deposits of gold, platinum and nickle. These companies continue to drill to
verify findings and find additional deposits.
While some sectors are weathering this economic storm, others face very serious issues.
The financial situation at AbitibiBowater Inc. pulp and paper mill in Fort Frances, the
continuing challenges facing the cattle industry, recent increases in the Canadian dollar
and fuel prices, all have a negative effect on the region's economy. The RRFDC expects
a continued reduction in the demand for business start up loans and an increase in the
loans to existing businesses seeking to adjust to the current economic climate.
Business Development Report
The business investment function of the RRFDC continued to serve the area’s
businesses in need of commercial financing that are unable to secure funds from
The Business Investment Committee (BIC) continued its move towards a more focused
approach to its lending. The Committee used its targeted investment strategy to assist it
in prioritizing its loans. This strategy focused on diversifying the economic base,
including value added and manufacturing businesses.
While looking to focus more lending on value added business, the Committee and Board
sought to strengthen existing businesses. The RRFDC continued to place an emphasis
on client services in the form of ongoing technical advice and counseling. In addition to
business training courses, we offered several initiatives to help our clients on their journey
to entrepreneurship. These included the Self-Employment Benefit Program, the Business
Planning Initiative, Youth Loans, and access to high speed internet for business plan
development and research.
In 2004 the RRFDC joined six other Community Future Development Corporations in
Northwestern Ontario to create an investment pool (NWOIP). This pool allowed us to
offer businesses loans exceeding the normal lending cap of $150,000 up to as much as
$500,000 for new and existing businesses.
To date the NWOIP has invested in 13 businesses in Northwestern Ontario totaling
$4,950,000 with RRFDC’s portion totaling $574,186. RRFDC has had one loan from this
program and is actively seeking out other potential NWOIP loan clients.
Another initiative of the investment fund was the storefront loan. This loan fund stemmed
from the 2004 Business Enhancement project, which focused on customer service,
regional marketing and storefront loans. These loans, of up to $10,000, were available to
businesses throughout the District that have a visible storefront in a business section of
their community. To date we have approved four loans under this program and are
seeking more throughout the district. They provide a lower interest loan, with flexible
repayment terms, to enhance the outward appearance of the business with the expected
outcome of higher revenue.
Investment Fund Overview
The following is an overview of the investment funds disbursed throughout the district for
the period April 1, 2008 to March 31, 2009.
# of Applications Provided 39
# of Applications Received 8
# of Applications Approved 9 (one from previous year)
# Withdrawn by Client 1
# of Closed Deals 6
# Committed/Outstanding 2
Loan Status for Fiscal Year
Loan Guarantee 1 $ 70,000
NWOIP 4 $241,105
Term Loans 1 $ 20,000
Total 6 $331,105
Jobs Created or Maintained 13
Businesses Started 1
Businesses Expanded 3
Businesses Maintained 2
Of the total 6 business investments made over the last one year period, they can be
categorized as follows:
Loans to Fort Frances business 2 33%
Loans to west end business 1 17%
Loans to region (NWOIP) 3 50%
Investment Fund Summary
Total # Loans in Portfolio 79
Total Current Value of Loans $3,716,692
Business counseling remained a priority of the RRFDC, with 257 general inquiries from
the public seeking guidance on a variety of issues from the basics of starting and
registering a new business, to analyzing market research and financial statements. The
following overview shows the inquiries for the period April 1, 2008 to March 31, 2009.
General Inquiries 257
In-depth Counseling 51
Loan Inquiries 39
Self-Employment Benefits Program
RRFDC also coordinated the Self-Employment Benefits program in conjunction with
OMTCU and Skills & Employment. This is an income supplement program for those
seeking to become self-employed while eligible for Employment Insurance. The program
allows the client to continue receiving an income subsidy while planning and operating
their new business for a period of up to 50 weeks. During the period of 2008-2009, we
assisted 14 people on the program to start small businesses in the District.
In January 2009 the administration of this program was transferred from Skills
Development Canada to the Ontario Ministry on Colleges and Universities. Following this
move it became apparent to the RRFDC that the goals and objectives of the Ministry were
not compatible with those of the RRFDC. This, combined with increasing administrative
demands for the program, caused the RRFDC to terminate its direct relationship with the
The SEB program is still available to the Rainy River District and administered by a SEB
Program Coordinator who uses the RRFDC offices and resources for client contacts and
appointments. Enquiries regarding self-employment assistance are referred to the
The strategic planning process has been an ongoing one in the Rainy River District since
1993. The bulk of the 2008-2011 Strategic Plan for Fort Frances and the Rainy River
District is the result of many planning sessions which have taken place over the past few
The following is a short history of Rainy River District strategic planning:
1989 - Town of Fort Frances Planning Session (By Invitation)*
1994 - Tomorrow Strategic Planning Process*
1995 - RRFDC Board Planning*
1995 - Town of Fort Frances Development Plan*
1997 - Town of Fort Frances Official Plan*
1997 - Town of Rainy River
1997 - Emo/Chapple Official Plan Assistance*
1998 - Tomorrow Strategic Plan Update*
1998 - RRFDC District Planning*
1998 - RRFDC Board Planning*
1998 - Emo Tourism Planning*
1999 - Municipality of Chapple*
1999 - Town of Fort Frances Development Planning*
1999 - RRFDC Business Planning Session*
2000 - Paragon Decision Resources, Inc. - Assessment of the District*
2000 - RRFDC Strategic Planning based upon Paragon Development Report*
2001 - RRFDC Site Locations Target Assessments*
2001 - Township of Emo Strategic Planning Session*
2001 - Township of Lake of the Woods Strategic Planning Session I*
2001 - Fort Frances Town Council Strategic Planning*
2002 - Township of Lake of the Woods Session II*
2002 - RRFDC Corporate Strategic Planning*
2005 – Fort Frances and District Community Summit*
2007 – Fort Frances and District Community Summit II*
2007 – Town of Rainy River Strategic Planning
2007 – Township of Emo Strategic Planning*
2007 – RRFDC Economic Development Strategic Planning*
2008 – Town of Fort Frances*
*Denotes RRFDC Involvement
Community and Economic Development Report
Strategic Directions for 2008 – 2011
The RRFDC created a broad economic development strategy for the Rainy River District
for the period to 2011. In this plan the RRFDC will continue to implement the
fundamental principles of economic development as practiced in Canada: develop and
forward a comprehensive business retention and expansion (BR&E) strategy to bolster
and support the existing local business community of the Rainy River District; foster and
encourage inward investment; and expand upon local export opportunities.
Project areas specifically addressed are as follows:
Agriculture and Immigration** Promote new opportunities and expand
viability of Rainy River District agricultural producers. Market and promote the
Rainy River District as a location for agricultural and business immigration.
The RRFDC will research the potential for alternative energy within the Rainy
Business Retention and Expansion (BR&E)
Assist the Fort Frances Chamber of Commerce in its response to the needs of
business as determined through the recent BR&E project.
The RRFDC proposes to improve the economic development ties between area
First Nations and municipalities.
Evaluate the potential for expansion of community housing, reviewing such
opportunities as condominiums, apartments and increased housing lots.
The RRFDC will continue to work with participating communities to enhance
and/or develop community investment readiness.
The RRFDC will continue the strategy to work towards expanded broadband
service in Fort Frances and the District.
The RRFDC will work with Rainy River District communities and organizations
to better focus our tourism marketing.
Trade/Export/Value Added and Transportation/Logistics**
The RRFDC will continue to assist any district business seeking to expand
through exports to develop materials that will support our attraction efforts, and
develop a strategy to position Fort Frances as a distribution gateway to the U.S.
Rural Municipal Project Development
To assist the seven participating rural municipalities to forward actions as
determined in their respective planning processes.
** Combined from 2008 Report for reporting purposes.
AGRICULTURE AND IMMIGRATION
Local Foods Awareness
The main activity of the RRFDC’s agricultural initiative this past year was to continue
increasing the awareness of local foods. The following promotional events brought
awareness to the consumer and built the appetite for local food. Generally ten producers
or more participated in these events.
Fort Frances Home and Leisure Show 2008 with local product taste samples and a
consumer survey; 2009 with the Clover Valley Farmers’ Market Food Store.
The Rainy River Federation of Agriculture Spring Gathering with a local food menu.
The Clover Valley Farmers’ Market promotional bottled water for use at events
held across the District.
The Emo Agriculture Research Station open house and BBQ held in July 2008.
Rainy River District Agriculture Society Fall Fair Booth 2008 with local product
taste samples, and 2009 will also include the Clover Valley Farmers’ Market Food
The RRFDC purchased the Grand Champion Auction Steer in August 2008 in
order to increase the awareness of local beef by having it as the main entree at the
Rainy River District Harvest Dinner; “Building the Appetite for Local Foods”. The
first annual dinner was held in the Municipality of Alberton and the second annual
was held in LaVallee/Devlin. This past year beef packages were auctioned off to
cover some of the costs of the purchase. Those who purchased the beef packages
were then asked to complete a consumer survey rating the product for flavour, cut
and wrap quality, and visual quality appreciation. All ratings averaged 4 out of 5.
Supported the promotion of the 2007 and 2008 Clover Valley Farmers’ Market
Winter Store, which brought not only awareness to the consumer on what is
available from local producers but created an avenue for consumer purchasing of
The rural agriculture initiative also supported the Growing Your Opportunities
workshops and various other events such as the Cattlemen’s pasture specialist
Marketing the District for Immigration Tools
Four marketing panels were designed for use at local and provincial show events plus
various marketing advertisements such as the Winnipeg Free Press banner ad, the
Discover Magazine and the Northwestern Ontario Fishing maps.
Flyers regarding farmland and businesses for sale, area statistics, producer information, a
District map, a “Why Buy Locally” flyer and promotional food products were designed for
distribution at the Ontario Outdoor Farm Show, Ontario Plowing Match and the Royal
Winter Fair. The RRFDC also distributed and/or sold four varieties of jerky and product
gift boxes at these events.
All three shows reinforced the realization that people across the Province are totally
unaware of our District, its location and the potential.
This stimulated the design and launch of the Rainy River District Rural Agriculture website
www.rainyrivervalley.ca and highlighted the need for ongoing promotion of the area.
Other Agricultural Opportunities and Activities
• The Rainy River District Bio Energy Trial.
• The Clover Valley Farmers’ Market Healthy Food Box.
• The Bio Energy Commercial Agriculture Pellet Project
phases I and II study.
• The Rainy River Cattlemen’s vaccine and pre-sort sale
• A locally owned dairy processing operation for butter,
cheese and ice-cream will be pursued.
• The effort on large animal veterinary recruitment and the
idea of a community owned veterinary practice and clinic.
• The Rainy River Cattlemen’s cattle tag/brand, “Rainy
River Raised”. We are now beginning to work on a
feeding protocol in preparation for designing and
marketing a beef product for the retail market across the
• Continue to market the District.
• Promote food localism.
• Bring in food branding workshop.
• Work with the abattoir committee.
• With the advent of the District abattoir the coordinator will
be attending all of the commodity groups meeting to
invite their participation at a regional strategic planning
session to be held during the summer. The Rainy River
Federation of Agriculture will be taking the lead on this as
an update to their current strategic plan.
The RRFDC continues to pursue alternative energy
opportunities with local partners including a three-year
trial to collect data on two types of grasses that could
be grown, harvested and mixed in with wood waste to
fuel the new AbitibiBowater biomass boiler in Fort
Partnering with AbitibiBowater, the Emo Agricultural
Research Station, Rainy River District Soil and Crop
Improvement Association and OMAFRA, RRFDC will
strive to determine whether reed canary and switch
grass can be economically grown by agricultural producers in the district to provide
sustainable yields over the period of the trial project.
RRFDC believes that if large tracts of land can be devoted to growing reed canary or
switch grass they could produce new opportunities for agricultural production. These
crops would generate much needed alternative revenue in the local farming community
without displacing current crop production.
The first year of the trial began with a challenge. The heavy amount of rainfall
experienced in the District during the spring and summer of 2008 made it difficult for the
participating producers to get on their fields to plant the seed. Given these circumstances
the producers were told by the committee to get the seed in when they could. Therefore
we had a unique opportunity to view how the seed grows when planted at different
intervals during the growing season. We were also able to see how different methods of
planting helped or hindered the young seed. Given the lack of crop heat units that the
District experienced in 2008, the growth the trial plots have seen was encouraging.
In year two, the producers will be applying nitrogen fertilizer to the trial plots. The
anticipated results are that there will be enough growth in 2009 to harvest the grasses for
a test burn at the AbitibiBowater biomass boiler in Fort Frances.
Alternative energy may soon become a much needed benefit to agriculture operations, as
they are able to produce and sell bio fuel grasses to biomass facilities in the region. The
announcement by the Ontario Power Generation to convert their power generating station
from coal to biomass at the Atikokan plant will increase
the potential for using agriculture pellets as an alternative
Great potential also exists to reduce energy costs for
local agricultural producers and businesses by
implementing such green energy projects as
home/business solar panels and geothermal, as well as
biomass for heating such things as large green houses
for year round growing potential. The RRFDC continues
to assist both solar and wind power companies.
The RRFDC remained committed to the partnership with the Fort Frances Chamber of
Commerce and the Business Retention and Expansion Program (BR&E). Our most
recent Business Retention and Expansion Survey was completed in the fall of 2008 with
approximately 100 businesses being surveyed. The BR&E partners have developed
action plans in the following areas: Proactive Business Recruitment, Energy
Conservation, Telecommunications, Workforce Skill Development and Labour Availability,
Support for the Business Community, Transportation, Tourism and Agriculture, Town
Enhancement, Communication and Promote Shopping Locally.
The RRFDC also continued to provide new entrepreneurs access to the Self-
Employment Benefits program, however do not directly administer the program.
Customer Service Challenge
The RRFDC continued its goal of improved customer
service by supporting various motivational speakers
and hosting our annual Customer Service Champions
Awards. The RRFDC’s Customer Service Challenge
Program has been a significant success for the
Corporation since its inception in 2004. The program
has seen over 300 businesses participating and 60
Customer Service Champions being named. The
RRFDC promotes the winners in local media and also
features the winners again during Small Business Week in October of each year. The
challenge structure was enhanced this year to include website and telephone evaluations,
as well as a review of the business’ green focus. Each year attempts are made to expand
and revamp the process in order to keep it relevant to today’s business environment.
The 2009 Customer Service Champions, as recently announced were:
Cloverleaf Grocery Northern Lights Credit Union-Rainy River
Enterprise Rent-A-Car Northridge Funeral Home
Fort Frances Clinic Dispensary Revco Carpet Centre
Fort Frances General Supply Super 8 Motel
Northern Community Development Wood’s Quality Bakery
The training provided to area businesses was determined by our BR&E project. Basic
‘start a business’ information sessions were held throughout the district, as well as
specific courses on buying a business, dynamic sales, customer services, strategic
planning, cash flow, etc. Training was offered both onsite, and through the RRFDC video
conference system. At this time, our videoconference training is primarily offered through
the Canada Manitoba Business Service Centre though we continue to seek additional
presenters from Ontario.
PST/GST seminars are offered through Revenue Canada, as well as payroll and tax
seminars. Several e-business workshops have been offered and resulted in the highest
Evaluations of all seminars are requested from participants along with suggestions for
future training sessions.
The RRFDC has been working with Pwi-Di-Goo-Zing Ne-Yaa-Zhing Advisory Services to
develop an effective partnership strategy. Activities such as the creation of a joint First
Nation/RRFDC loans committee and the development of a joint strategy to increase local
business access to major projects in Minnesota and Alberta have also been discussed.
The RRFDC is hopeful that these efforts will open the door and the proposed economic
development conference between area First Nations and municipalities may yet be
The RRFDC has been working with the Town of Fort Frances in an effort to increase the
level of housing with the Town. The RRFDC has been able to have housing included in
the Economic Development Financial Incentives, which allows Council to give incentives
to developers to demolish and upgrade housing units. In addition, the RRFDC has been
able to determine the need for and has made contact with a condominium developer. The
Front Street lots have been made surplus to the Town’s needs, re-zoned and sold to the
developer. This project should bring on the construction of a 23-unit condominium at 625
Front Street by the fall of 2009, should the developer be able to pre-sell the required
number of units. The marketing campaign is on and the RRFDC continues to assist the
developer with local contacts.
The Financial Incentive Programs are designed to stimulate new development and
redevelopment of vacant or under-utilized lands and buildings. The town believes that
developing and improving properties within the existing serviced neighbourhoods and
commercial districts will encourage community pride, improve property values for
adjacent properties and minimize future infrastructure costs. In an effort to assist families
in the community, the Town of Fort Frances has created two programs to help home
owners improve their properties.
The programs approved by Council include:
Property Value Revitalization Programs for Residential, Multi-Residential and
Property Value Revitalization Program - Residential Demolition Grant
Program packages include an application form for both programs, and brochures that we
encourage you to display and provide to your clients.
These applications can be downloaded at www.fort-frances.com /building_incentive.
Information on these programs, as well as information on the Town’s Financial Incentive
Programs for commercial, multi residential and industrial programs is also on the Town’s
The RRFDC continually works on improving broadband
access for the residents of the Rainy River District. To allow
for the provision of high quality broadband service and
cellular telephone service to residents of the Rainy River
District for a reasonable cost.
The telecommunications projects that the RRFDC has been
involved in over the past 10 years are as follows:
1. Analogue Cellular Telephone project along
2. BRAND DSL Project This project was supported by the Government of Canada
largely in part due to the partnership between Pwi-Di-Goo-Zing Ne-Yaa-Zhing Non
Profit Advisory Services, the RRFDC and Bell Canada.
3. Wireless Broadband and Digital Cellular Telephone to the west end of the
Rainy River District.
4. Digital Cellular Telephone and Broadband In-Fill along Highway #11.
This project is underway and is expected to be completed by the spring of 2010.
5. Digital Cellular Telephone and Broadband Rural In-Fill in the west end of the
Rainy River District This project is still in development and at the Expressions of
In addition to the development of the necessary infrastructure, the RRFDC provided
several E-commerce learning opportunities for area businesses.
One of our initiatives is to market Fort Frances as a location from which to fish Rainy
Lake. The RRFDC and Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship (FFCBC), on behalf
of the Town of Fort Frances, attended the 2009 Bass Master Classic Trade Show and
Tournament in Shreveport, Louisiana on February 20, 21, 22, 2009. Two delegates from
the FFCBC worked the show and met and surveyed over 400 people. The message to
Trade Show participants was that Fort Frances and Rainy Lake were the gateway to great
fishing. We focused the show on the fact that Rainy Lake is one of Ontario’s finest bass
fishing lakes. This trip received significant private sector and municipal support as well as
garnering the support of the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Tournament. We were able to
develop a contact list, which is being followed up on and are planning to expand our
attendance in 2010. The reason for this is that the tournament has a very large corporate
following which we would like to engage in our promotion of Fort Frances as a Gateway to
Canada. For example Fort Frances already receives attention from the Rapala Fishing
Lures Company as it tests all new lures on Rainy Lake. We also received support for this
trip from the Salmo Lure Company. We hope to use the lake, our locations and the
benefits of the Town of Fort Frances to expand the presence of these companies in our
The RRFDC also supported the efforts of the Town of Rainy River to promote itself by
assisting their Economic Development Committee and Chamber of Commerce to attend
the Saskatchewan Cyclo-cross Rally in fall 2008 and the Edmonton Tourism Trade Show
in the spring of 2009. The RRFDC continues to work with these groups to more fully
develop a tourism marketing plan for the coming years.
The RRFDC continued its work with the Northwestern Ontario Tourism Association
(NWOTA) and the Kenora District Tourism Association (KDCA) to expand its Destination
Marketing program. A recent report on Ontario tourism by Mr. Greg Sorbara appears to
support this concept but has recommended the amalgamation of all tourism marketing
associations in the entire Northwest, Sault Ste. Marie to Kenora, in the same Destination
Marketing and Management Association. While the RRFDC supports regional activities,
we believe that this will be very detrimental to Sunset Country and over 20 years of
marketing efforts. We will keep working to develop a regional DMF. In general, there was
support for the concept of Destination Marketing. However, there are some differences in
many decisions that create the specific DMF model in each geographic area. The
specific model for the hotel/motels in Fort Frances would have to be discussed and
agreed upon before any hotel or motel owners would agree, or disagree, with instituting a
Destination Marketing Fund.
The RRFDC also continued to support area businesses
through our cross border-marketing project. This
project, The Great Canadian Experience, is directly
linked to the Gateway Project and designed to increase
U.S. resident purchases at District businesses through
print, radio and billboard advertising. New banners at
the Fort Frances border crossing were erected in May. (This project has been initiated
with the new design for the sign at the Fort Frances Airport, which incorporates Rainy
Lake as a major feature of the sign.)
MOM’s Way Highway Route
The MOM’s Way route has been in place for eight years. Route signs are in place as are
the major signs on Manitoba Highway #1 and Ontario Highways 11/17. The highway re-
assurance sign as well as branding of the route in all jurisdictions has been complete. The
RRFDC would like to see an expansion of the route signage of MOM’s Way, west of
Steinbach, Manitoba and east of Thunder Bay. The signage coincided with an effort to
see the route recognized by CAA, AAA, Rand McNally, Province of Ontario Roadmap,
etc., as it is now officially recognized by Ontario, Manitoba and Minnesota. Recently the
Province of Manitoba recognized the route on its road maps.
Events Development and Tent
The events tent is a significant asset for the
District and the RRFDC is determined to
maximize its effectiveness at generating
revenue for the community. To this end,
the RRFDC has directed some of its
financial resources towards supporting and
expanding the marketing of the local events
that make use of the tent. We have also
embarked on an events enhancement
strategy. Many of the events in the District
such as the Rainy River Walleye
Tournament, Railroad Daze, Rainy River
District Fall Agricultural Fair, etc. have been
happening for many years and are in need
of an infusion of excitement. The RRFDC
would help these events by assisting them
in bringing in new activities, speakers,
attractions, etc. to invigorate the events and
increase attendance and a coordinator has
been hired to assist any event that needs
TRADE DEVELOPMENT, INVESTMENT ATTRACTION
The RRFDC has been preparing Fort Frances and the District to better present
itself to potential investors. Over the past years we have developed a slate of
economic development financial incentive programs for Fort Frances, supported
the Town of Rainy River’s asset analysis and waterfront development program,
and assisted the Township of Emo with its industrial park infrastructure
application. The activities are designed to allow the RRFDC to prepare marketing
material from which to promote the District. This is essential, as we have been
seeking opportunities to promote our strategic location on the Canada U.S.
Border to companies needing a central North American location. The District
already sees much east/west traffic, both in trucks and with CN rail. We have
also traditionally shipped many forest products south. While this may not be so in
the future, the RRFDC believes that the continuing expansion of Highway 53 in
Minnesota to four lanes will increase our ability to market the region to
companies needing to access the U.S. To this end the RRFDC is developing ties
with the North American Super Corridor Coalition (NASCO) project, otherwise
called the Interstate 35 trade corridor, to seek opportunities and market Fort
Frances and the District as a distribution gateway to the U.S. citing location,
access to the interstate system and shorter border crossing times. We also
attended the Buyers Sellers Forum in Edmonton and the U.S. Agricultural
Transportation Conference in Washington.
The Town of Fort Frances is developing an investment attraction program. This
program will start with the development of Fort Frances specific economic
development financial incentives, a business and industrial asset analysis, a
renewed economic development assessment of the community (primarily the
costs of doing business and labour force overview) marketing materials, website
improvement and an aggressive promotion strategy. This strategy includes both
inward, corporate and site locator familiarization trips, and outward promotional
trips to various conference, trade shows, and corporate visits.
The RRFDC has worked with the Town of Fort Frances staff to develop Financial
Incentive Programs, which are designed to stimulate new development and
redevelopment of vacant or under-utilized lands and buildings.
The programs approved by Fort Frances Council include:
Diversification Development Programs for Commercial and Industrial
Brownfields Grant Program to work in cooperation with the Provincial
The program packages include an application form for all programs and
brochures for the residential programs that we encourage the Town to display
and provide to any enquiries. Copies of these applications can be downloaded at
The RRFDC and Fort Frances attended
the Northern Networks Trade Conference
in Duluth in May 2009. This conference
builds contacts for area businesses and
will be hosted by Fort Frances in 2010.
We also continued our search for
companies looking to locate in the district
by placing ads promoting the region in
U.S. and Canadian Site
Location/Industrial Real Estate
magazines and focused trade journals.
The RRFDC also upgraded its business
and economic development website
(www.rrfdc.on.ca) focusing on the
commercial opportunities in the District.
The RRFDC worked towards the development of value-added manufacturing in
Fort Frances, especially in the area of wood products and machining and to
develop a strategy to promote Fort Frances as a cost effective business location.
We assisted two area businesses in evaluating potential opportunities and
focused on the internal development of a value-added wood products sector. We
also assisted the First Nation’s Kish Gon Dug Canada in finding partners to help
in meeting orders. The RRFDC continued its support of the Northwest Midwest
Alliance (NMA), the Forintek Wood Products initiative and the provision of
assistance to local producers. We will continue to assist any district business
seeking to expand through exporting and to develop materials that will support
our investment attraction efforts. The primary focus of these activities will be in
the value added wood products sector.
RURAL MUNICIPAL PROJECT DEVELOPMENT
An integral part of RRFDC’s work is in assisting area municipalities in their
activities. This is particularly true of the seven participating rural municipalities,
each of which provides the RRFDC with $7.00 per capita in project development
funds to forward actions as determined in their respective planning processes.
These municipalities are the Townships of Alberton, Chapple, Emo, Lake of the
Woods, LaVallee, and the Towns of Fort Frances and Rainy River.
For example, the RRFDC has incorporated many economic development
projects of the Town of Fort Frances through our Northern Ontario Economic
Development Fund project with FedNor, supported the Town of Rainy River’s
effort to stimulate waterfront development, and assisted the Township of Emo in
applying for Build Canada and stimulus funding applications.
The following is a list of Local Initiatives Funds, which have been given to
community groups and organizations over the past three years in order to
support the RRFDC’s strategic plan and partnerships. These projects and
events enhance District communities and their economies, strengthen community
and business capacity and enhance tourism opportunities.
FF Highlanders – A music CD was produced and distributed throughout the District.
This project may grow into an event.
Core Group - Great Canadian Sign – Purchase of a sign branding Scott Street as the
Great Canadian Main Street.
RRVAS-Hall upgrade - Hire the engineer to do the design and quote on the cost of
the renovations of the Exhibition Hall on the fairgrounds in Emo.
Abattoir Board - Preliminary work including, but not limited to: basic research,
investigative travel, promotion and incorporation costs.
Horse Council - Outdoor Arena Project.
Morson Bass Int'l - Reusable MBI banner and design of a website to increase the
awareness of Morson to the Lake of the Woods area and in the Mid-West and
upgrades to the 2008 tournament.
Emo Walleye – Purchase of remote sound system for use by all 3 tournaments.
Cattlemen's Computer – Assist with computer purchase for new ear tag reading
NWOTA/KDCA DMF – Market the Destinations Marketing Fund project.
FF Chamber of Commerce Customer Service – Customer service training program.
partnering with Chamber of Commerce and Confederation College.
Township of Lake of the Woods – Website development and upgrade.
Fort Frances Volunteer Bureau – Bingo equipment for use of multiple charity users.
Women's Health Symposium - 2007 and 2008 Women’s Health Symposium.
Mid-District Museum – Architectural drawings for new museum.
Fort Frances Museum – First display for new museum.
ManOMin - 2007 ManOMin Watershed Conference to be held on April 10-12, 2007.
Fueling Innovation Seminar – Attendance for 8 RR District business people at the
2007 entrepreneurship conference and 4 people at the 2008 conference.
Rainy River Chamber Website - Upgrade and enhancement of the website.
Crescive Skills Expo - Towards the “Skills and Trades Expo” held in Fort Frances on
May 17, 2007.
FF Chamber of Commerce/NOACC – Support of NOACC annual fall meeting held in
Tour de Fort / Mud Lake City Music Fest – 2 years of sound system rental for popular
and growing music festival.
Rainy River 4H Association - To cover a one way trip between Barwick and Thunder
Bay to deliver steers for slaughter and processing in 2007 and 2008.
PARO - Participant travel to the 2008 Northern Women’s Economic Development
Conference to be held in Thunder Bay on April 29th and 30th, 2008.
N.W.O. Innovation Centre – Contribution towards the “Idea Factory Challenge” which
was won by an RRFDC client.
4-H / Community Garden – Drawings by a landscape architect for a community
garden. Project is still moving forward.
NCDS The Gathering – Support of “The Gathering” an event to bring together the
Rainy River District 10 First Nations communities, the Metis Nation of Ontario and
the stakeholders associated with these organizations as a forum to share resources
and strategies, and the follow-up session to develop an aboriginal youth economic
development and employment plan.
RR Valley Safety Coalition – Attendance at Canadian Injury Prevention and Safety
RR & District Chamber of Commerce - Updating the banners, talker boards and the
website in Rainy River.
Town of Rainy River - Towards travel costs (airfare and hotel) to Ottawa to research
alternative energy systems.
Lac la Pluie Committee – Assist with hosting of the David Thompson Brigades during
June 25-28 across the district.
Rainy River Valley Field Naturalists – Extension of bog walk.
Logging & Safety Committee - Hosting of a Health & Safety Forum in Fort Frances
on May 8 & 9, 2008.
Rainy River Valley Safety Coalition - Safe Community Re-designation ceremony to
be held on May 28, 2008 and priority setting session for planning purposes.
Rainy River Railroad Daze 08 - Advertising expenses for the 2008 Rainy River
Railroad Daze to be held July 18 - 20, 2008.
LaVallee History Book – Second in series of LaVallee history book.
Dance Fire Memorial Committee – Construction of a Dance Fire Memorial and
Home-based Business Show – Support for a first annual trade show for home-based
Chapple Recreation upgrades - Assist in the completion of the outdoor rink, baseball
diamond and skate board park.
Township of Emo – Support for Spray Park to be built in spring of 2009.
Town of Rainy River - Edmonton Tourism Trade Show attendance to market Rainy
Business Womens' Network - Small Business seminar/gathering.
The RRFDC continued to support the efforts of the regional committee working to
recruit doctors to the Rainy River District. While our support has been limited
due to other priorities, the RRFDC sees the attraction of high quality doctors and
medical staff as essential to the future of the region.
The Common Voice Initiative
The RRFDC has supported the NWO Common Voice Initiative. This is a
movement to develop a mechanism through which the region can chart its own
course for the future by addressing regional challenges with realistic Northern
solutions. Northwestern Ontario is a distinct geographic, economic and social
space within Canada. The challenges it faces are different and the contributions
it makes to the Province and Country are unique. This new Common Voice must
include area Treaty Organizations, business, industry, labour, municipalities,
unorganized areas, schools, healthcare institutions, development agencies and
all other people who are invested in the Northwest.
Audited Financial Statements to March 31, 2009
RAINY RIVER FUTURE
608 SCOTT STREET
FORT FRANCES, ONTARIO