Originally Published in the December 1987 issue of The Outfitter Magazine.

Fisheries Committee Report

By Barry Brown

As clearly and emphatically stated in NOTO’s “Northern Ontario Tourism Strategy” White Paper, the Ontario fisheries is the unequivocal prime mover and backbone of the northern tourism sector. It is the product that, for generations has prompted the famous “Northern Wilderness Experience”. The fishing is the stimulus of many of the socio-economic spin-offs to the urban centres across this province. The Ontario government is initiating some commendable changes to ensure a quality fishery – much more is left undone.

Commercial operators require a far superior quality fishery for the majority of their clients than would be acceptable by area residents. In order to entice customers to travel 100’s of kilometers, the wilderness experience and fishing must be better than that available to them closer to home.

Access and access related issues involving the fisheries resource must be addressed, NOW! Access to tourism lakes spells certain doom to the existing resource known and found therein.

The severe exploitation and resource depletion in road accessible regions must also be resolved. Examples of areas devoid of fishing lodges and regions experiencing serious economic depression on account of a diminishing fishing base are numerous. (1977 Milne Report – approximately 1700 commercial operations; 1987 – approximately 1370 – loss of nearly 20% of our brethren).

The year 1987 will long be recognized as the year of significant progressive change in our Ontario sport fishery. The introduction of the Ontario resident fishing licenses climaxed after many years of NOTO prodding and promoting for just such a management tool. There is considerable fear among proponents of the license that prescribed monies generated, believed to be between $8 - $10 M, are not being channeled into fisheries rejuvenation for which it was earmarked. Rather, improved access and launching facilities appear to top the priority list from which greater numbers of fishermen and women continue to pour into the water already experiencing fish stock depletions. For the commercial operation, in too many instances, there is no longer a “product” to offer. It is further recognized that there are great disparities across this vast province. Some operators report as many as 300 fish caught FOR THE ENTIRE SEASON; others report 300 fish caught FOR THE WEEK – Single party! The catch and release principal has to be promoted vigorously.

CFIP (Community Fisheries Improvement Programs) has certainly helped maintain and even enhance some fisheries, particularly in well-organized, higher populated areas. Northern communities continue to struggle with public apathy and disinterest. Many area fishermen are prepared to do one of two things – accept a lesser quality fishery close to home or demand access to remote waters. We have reached the last fishery frontier. A lake trout committee, consisting of senior MNR Fishery Biologists, OFAH and NOTO met on four (4) occasions to recommend a management and regulatory strategy for inland trout stocks.

A review was perceived necessary in light of the current “nightmarish” number of season openers and proposed number of new season changes being recommended in District Fisheries Plans. Unanimous agreement on any regulatory change was a rare commodity. Nevertheless, the committee was able to recommend a rather broad season (Jan. 1 – Sept. 30) over much of the province and further recommend a daily and possession creel limit of 3 in all areas outside Southern Ontario Inland waters. It is of grave concern to many Northwestern region operators and adjoining commercial operations that a daily possession creel limit of 2 (two) lake trout is being seriously considered in their corner of the province, contrary to the Inland lake trout committee draft report. Remember, this is a proposal! If affected parties have not made their views known, do so now, TODAY! There is room for negotiations and compromises. Now is the time for those innovative fisheries management strategies to surface. Season and limits are the “all too easy solution” and often the most economically depressing tool to our industry and livelihood. As more and more of our guests “fish for fun”, prompted by our conservation minded operators, limits and seasons hopefully, one day will become redundant over many Ontario waters.

The introduction of Coho Salmon in the Great Lakes (1966, Lake Superior) has caused a recent “wave of fear” among charter boat operators on the Great Lakes and camp operators located along the tributaries flowing into these same waters. Coho are voracious feeders, often attaining weights exceeding 10 kgs after 2 years of age. It is believed, food supplies of forage fish are being consumed at such a rate as to critically affect all other sport fish species (i.e. Lake Trout). Upon reaching maturity, these fish simply clog the streams, die and decay. Although heralded by a slim few as “Champions”, they are not welcomed “fare” by many other fishery managers.

Our Great Lakes fish stocks are once again being threatened by lamprey infiltration. An inevitable major outbreak will have devastating effects on the resurging fishery and the Great Lakes tourism. A major elimination campaign is imperative to get a handle on this destruction of our fishery.

The issue of Native Rights, respecting fisheries is very much an “open score” with camp operators. All affected parties, including 3rd generation operations are facing one of the toughest struggles of their careers. Non native commercial tourism may, just MAY, receive the “drippings” in the eyes of native leaders. This position (4th and last!) taken by these same leaders will undermine investor and consumer confidence in the tourism sector. We are living in the 20th century – light years away from nomadic tribal traditions – where “fishing for food” is a modern form of recreation, not a way of life for the vast majority of native people in this province. The raging controversy does little for employment opportunities of native people in the tourism industry. How many of us have considered from where and how government revenue sources will materialize when their tax base fizzles? (Natives do not pay taxes). From where will fishery research, restocking and rehabilitation monies be generated? Our NOTO President, Mr. Rod Munford, has been appointed by our Premier, David Peterson, to sit, and act on behalf of NOTO at the Indian Fishing Agreement negotiating meetings. We are now assured of direct representation which is so critical to the tourism industry.

The concept of fisheries management plans was introduced to the public at large in late 1986. The main thrust of these plans is to target long and short range fisheries management strategies. The documents are to address enforcement concerns, quality of the fisheries and balance of fisheries supply (i.e. commercial and sport), and related problems (lamprey). The objectives are to increase the fishing stock, therefore, improving sport fishing opportunities, stabilizing the commercial fishing industry and generally improving the economic returns of the tourism industry. Public input was invited and following the review process the draft fisheries management plans were presented. Upon approval of these “tools”, implementation with short term (5 years) and long term (year 2000) fisheries programs can commence. Many district FMP’s have not materialized beyond the “draft” stages. It is very apparent that some MNR district and regional staff have taken this exercise very seriously and have generated much enthusiasm for the plans – others only so-so. (Not unlike the request for input from tourist operators.) These plans will, beyond a measure of doubt, reflect the level of participation and contribution you made to the formulation of such a document.

Camp operators are encouraged to promote alternative angling opportunities to relieve the pressure on the higher valued fish species. Lake whitefish in Southern Ontario is a highly prized commodity whereas in Northern Ontario very little effort is extended to capitalize on this aggressive species. An “all season” species, lake whitefish can be taken thru’ the ice, fly fishing, spring and fall, and vertical jogging during the summer months. They may also be taken by dipnet during the fall spawning period.

Bait fish have a direct effect on the quality of fishing. Recent attempts have been made to increase the harvest of baitfish. In some pockets of Northern Ontario, however, leeches and nightcrawlers are beginning to dominate the natural live bait market. The majority of leeches are imported form the U.S.

Chemical Contamination:

Persistent toxic substances pose an extremely complex hazard to many aquatic ecosystems within the province. The number of man-made chemicals in use has risen sharply with our standard of living. According to the most recent issue of “Freshwater Fisheries in Canada” approximately 60,000 chemicals are produced or used to manufacture consumer, commercial and industrial products.

Biocides applied to the terrestrial environment for forest and crop protection invariably make their way to water. Very often the route to water following aerial application is by accidental overflight and drift as well as runoff. Despite the rather large amounts of biocides applied annually, little is understood of their chronic and interactive effects within the aquatic ecosystem.

The use of “Vision” by MNR this past summer also leaves its visual affects. Big game, small game, rodents and the like, skirt to the outside and will not be found within the zones; game birds and song birds fly around the perimeter. Quite frankly, little or no life can be found in chemically treated areas. Wild berries are nothing more than memories! It is such an irony – the treatment and cure for preservation of one resource is the death wish of another (not news to tourism). We have been expected to pick up the pieces, time and time again, and make something out of nothing.

Increased mining activities have NOTO gravely concerned – not only from the access and aesthetic point of view but exploitation of mineral resources can impose harmful effects on fish and other aquatic organisms. Mining effluents are frequently acutely toxic to fish. Control of leaching and seepage of chemicals are major concerns for all. Stay current with any and all mining activity in your area.

If that isn’t serious enough, the U.S. has increased their number of applications to dump toxins by a “tenfold” increase since 1980 (Globe and Mail – Sept. 16, 1987). Ontario has become a net importer of hazardous wastes. Many landfill sites are being closed in the U.S., due to seepage. Ontario and Quebec process much of the imported waste. Of the 432 notices of U.S. export requests received during thirteen months, Canada registered objections to only 51. Between January – April, 1986 nearly 19 million kgs. of waste was imported and 7 million kgs. exported.

The quality of our Ontario fishery cannot be maintained without a major injection of provincial monies into research projects to determine the cause and effect of diminishing fish stocks. Furthermore, a much greater percentage of the estimated $50 M in annual tax collection must be directed towards the restoration of a world class sport fishery. We face a bleak future, indeed, should we not be heard.

Remember:

Without funds, no fish!

Without fish, no fishermen!

Without fishermen, no industry!

Complaints Committee Report

During spring of 1987, NOTO wrote all MNR District Managers, requesting them to send copies of complaint letters they have received to the NOTO Office for processing. This request came as a direct result of enquiries made by MNR staff to NOTO about complaint processing.

As well, NOTO receives complaints from the general public.

To date, in 1987, the Association has received fewer than a half dozen complaints, ranging from poor service to inadequate fishing.

All but two that are still being resolved, have been dealt with to the satisfaction of the complainants.

Wildlife Committee Report

By Lloyd Lindner

As stated previously, the Moose Allocation across the province has again been reduced for the tourist industry in some management units, and generally a reduction in the number of tags available across the province. It is felt that the Ontario Moose Allocation Board is not reflecting the needs of the tourism industry, and NOTO intends to discuss this problem with the Minister of Natural Resources. The Ontario Moose Allocation Advisory Committee has been working over the past year on a new set of rules for the allocation to the tourism industry. All outfitters involved in the moose hunt have been notified of the changes. The new allocation system rules were supplied to the NOTO Office by our representative on the Allocation Board, Suzanne Veilleux.

The Black Bear Management Program has been in the works for the past 5 or 6 years. NOTO, MNR, and OFAH agreed to create a new policy. A Black Bear Management Policy was devised at the 1986 NOTO Convention, but when this policy was introduced in the spring of 1987, it had been altered considerably from the one agreed upon at the convention. The whole purpose of the original program was to create a closed entry into the system. Unfortunately this has not happened. It is the consensus of the NOTO Executive that the changes made to the Black Bear Management Policy by the MNR is totally unacceptable, and that a review of the policy must take place as soon as possible.

To the best of my knowledge, the deer population in the province is in good standing, in general. The population of the herd has increased substantially. This is evident in the extension of the season in 43A and B this year, from 4 to 5 days. The mild winter and the Ministry’s selective harvest policy has substantially increased the size of the herds. It has been brought to my attention that the appropriate funding is not going to be available to manage the deer herds in Ontario. I feel that good management practices are a preferable way of managing the deer population than with the selective harvest system presently in effect. MNR must continue adequate funding so that the white-tailed deer herd in Ontario continues to flourish in adequate numbers. It is not difficult for outfitters to realize that if there is an adequate supply of big game available in allocations to the tourism industry, economic benefits will be derived both for the outfitter and the province.

Tourism Ontario Signing Committee Report

By Barry Brown

The eighteenth (18th) and nineteenth (19th) meetings of the Tourism Signing Committee were held May 13th and October 14th, 1987 respectively, at Downsview, ON. NOTO was present at both meetings.

The new proposed “Outfitter” symbol for the M-37 Outfitter Marker was presented and discussed in May. It is presently under review by the committee with recommendations assured shortly.

A new legend for “Open” period tabs on recreational and/or resort area signs was discussed and agreed upon. The new tab sign will have a brown reflectional background (i.e. Open May – Nov.).

Rod Edwards, Head of the Traffic Signing Section, informed committee members that all eighteen (18) districts are prepared to provide info on any MTC sign materials available and a list of private sign manufacturers. The Sign Shop foreman is the proper person to contact in the district.

The moratorium on highway sign fees has expired and MTC is seeking input and recommendations from all affected parties. From all accounts, the fee for construction, painting and establishing present signs range from fifteen hundred to three thousand dollars ($1500 - $3000 per sign).

MTC agreed to attend the November NOTO convention in the Sault to keep NOTO members abreast of current proposals. There will be no immediate changes.

A signing issue for a Lake Nipissing – South Shore NOTO member was addressed in May. All parties present were satisfied with the recommendations (wrong wording on new sign).

Environmental Committee Report

By Lloyd Lindner, Environmental Committee Chairman

During the past year there has been a high level meeting between Prime Minister Mulroney and President Reagan where acid rain was a priority on the agenda. The meeting ended with no commitment again by the Americans to curb acid rain emissions in the U.S. There was a statement made recently by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, that their test results show that acid rain has no effect on human health or the environment. It seems obvious that our Federal Government has a real job ahead of them to educate the U.S. Administration about acid rain!

It would be reassuring to have Inco Ltd., Ontario Hydro and the other major polluters, put forward a non-technical press release, showing how far each of the companies have progressed in curbing their acid rain emissions. We have all been told that 1994 is the deadline for a 50% reduction based on 1980 statistics. To better public relations, if for no other reason, it would be good to inform the public just how far they have progressed toward this target date. It was unnerving, this summer; to hear a statement made by the President of Inco Ltd., to the Sudbury Regional Council, that if the Ministry of the Environment would ease up on their pollution reduction demands, Inco could produce a great deal more nickel! This statement made by a company that this summer had a major spill of at least 2 tons of sulphur trioxide! We will surely hope that the Sudbury Regional Council and the Ministry of the Environment will not even consider easing the restrictions that are in place.

Over the past couple of years, I have been harping on the hazards of uncontrolled land fill sites (dumps) in Northern Ontario, and the problem is degenerating. In some areas, adequate land fill sites are difficult to attain, and therefore, it really causes unnecessary hardships to the tourist outfitter who has to transport their waste material a long distance. Since most landfill sites are operated by the OMNR under license form the OMOE, it is my hope that these two ministries get their act together soon and come up with a satisfactory solution to this problem.

It has come to my attention that because of tough new laws regarding the dumping of toxic waste in the U.S., Ontario is becoming a net importer of these wastes. There was a complete article regarding this in the The Globe and Mail, September 16th, 1987. Between January and April of this year, 18,843,455 kilograms of hazardous waste material has been imported from the U.S. and placed in our dump sites or destroyed in our incinerators. Surely our legislators must have better use for our lands and our environment than to allow this contamination dumped in Ontario! This matter was brought home to me recently, when a company, operating in the Espanola district was incinerating PCB’s. The operation was not successful and the OMOE closed them down. The MOE to date has not related how much environmental damage, or possible damage to human health has occurred by this company’s irresponsible actions. It is very disturbing to learn that privately owned, licensed by MOE, landfill sites or incineration sites can be established in any area of Ontario without the public being informed. In the establishment of this type of business, I feel the local public must be informed and have their concerns addressed before the operation takes place.

The budworm infestation has been checked in the Northeast, but in some sections of Northwestern Ontario there still remains a problem. There was a spraying program initiated in the Northwest during the spring of 1987. There are no results available to date.

It seems that pollution and the “almighty buck” are very closely related. It is up to us to make sure that in taking a stand regarding the protection of our environment, we do not let this issue cloud our minds.

Labour Committee Report

By Lloyd Lindner, Labour Committee Chairman

Over the past 18 months, Tourism Ontario’s Labour Committee, of which NOTO is a member, negotiated with the Workmens’ Compensation Board (WBC) to establish the NEER program, which is in reality, an experience rating program. The Experience Rating Program represents a means of modifying the impact of a uniform rate approach, by adjusting the basic premium to reflect, in some measure, the individual employer’s own claims experience relative to the average for the rate group. Employers with lower than average claims records benefit by receiving a reduction in their basic assessment premiums; conversely, employers with higher than average records for their group are required to pay somewhat higher premiums. In either case, however, limitations are usually placed on the maximum size of the refunds and surcharges to insure continued adherence to insurance principles.

By varying the size of assessment premiums in accordance with the employer’s claims record, experience rating establishes an incentive to improve safety performance in the workplace.

NEER (which stands for New Experimental Experience Rating) takes into account all the costs associated with each claim; that is, the present costs (which employers can find on their accident cost statement issued monthly by the Board), estimates for all costs of the system.

NEER takes into account only a portion of the individual firm’s own accident record in determining its assessment. The specific percentage is determined by the firm’s size with the remaining portion of the total assessment determined by the “average” accident record for the rate group to which the firm belongs. In other words, NEER ensures that a firm’s size is taken into account in the calculation of risk.

NEER changes an employer’s premium by applying refunds and surcharges, and these refunds and surcharges are required to balance for the rate group. In addition, NEER also incorporates a prospective rate feature, whereby the initial assessment charge in a given year can be affected by the employer’s record over a prior period.

Participation in the NEER plan requires certain commitments from all employers in the rate group. The NEER committee, selected by the employers in a rate group, is expected to assume certain responsibilities in communicating and marketing the plan, and in explaining its main features to employers within the group. NEER participants will be expected to provide specific data to assist in the evaluation phase of the experimental program. Rate groups participating in the plan will bear the administrative costs of the plan.

For its part, the WCB recognizes its proprietary responsibilities for the NEER plan. The WCB will ensure consistency and fairness in the procedures followed by a rate group entering the plan. The WCB will prepare and distribute appropriate materials to keep employers in the rate group fully informed of the status of the NEER committee’s application and will ensure that individual employers have a proper opportunity to ask questions, comment and make their views known on experience rating as part of this process. The WCB will prepare quarterly cost statements for all participating employers to permit them to assess, on an ongoing basis, the effect of the plan on their assessment payments.

The benefits of experience rating can only be realized if employers commit themselves to injury prevention in the workplace. Co-operation with workers in reducing accidents, and aggressive workplace health and safety programs are the only ways employers can fully realize the potential benefits of experience rating.

The foregoing commentary was taken directly from a WCB communiqué.

The application for this program has been made and will be in place January 1988. Admission to the program will be for a three year experimental period.

The Labour Committee is confident that the NEER program will be beneficial to the employers in the 890 and 898 rate group. With the NEER program coming into place, all employers with 20 or more employees, will have to participate in an occupational Health and Safety educational program which is to be brought into effect simultaneously with the NEER program.

The first half of the Donner Task Force report regarding hours of work, overtime and holiday pay has been submitted to the Provincial Government. What the Donner Task Force basically recommends is that the hours of work be reduced to 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week, or a shortened work week of more than 8 hours a day, if agreeable to the employee and/or the union that represents them. The report recommends that overtime pay of 1 ½ times the regular wage take effect after 40 hours a week. It was recommended to eliminate the 100 hour permit system; all employers to have access to annual block of overtime hours in excess of 40 hours per week: 400 hours per employee (non-transferable) in the first year (i.e. allows average of 48 hours per week); 300 hours in 2nd year; 250 hours in 3rd and subsequent years; effectively have maximum yearly hours (averaging 45 hours a week); director could issue special permits beyond 250 hours; issuance of permits to be subject to appeals procedure.

It also recommended that overtime be voluntary after 8 and 40 hours. Regarding vacation with pay, the report recommends 3 weeks of paid vacation after 5 years’ service, and increases the percentage of vacation pay to 6%.

I feel that the Donner Task Force Report has a very serious impact on the tourism industry. No doubt the direct result of this labour legislation will be a cost increase to the product we sell. In Northern Ontario, unemployment might be high in a few urban areas, but where tourism flourishes, employees are usually a seasonal resource. Most employees in the tourism sector prefer an extended work schedule as most of the industry in Northern Ontario is seasonal. It gives the employee an opportunity to accumulate more earnings for the off season and puts their Unemployment Insurance Benefits in a higher bracket. In some tourist establishments there are some employees who are permanent fixtures of the facility and supply continuity to the business. With this new legislation, the personal relationships between guide, waitress, etc., and the guest, will not materialize.

It is my personal opinion that this new labour legislation follows the NDP doctrine very closely. Now that Premier Peterson has received a mandate from the citizens of Ontario, I believe that the new Minister of Labour, the Honourable Gregory Sorbara, should scrap this report and submit a better working arrangement for the tourism sector of the Province of Ontario.

As this is only the first half of the Donner Report regarding labour issues, there will be a follow-up report when the balance is presented.

Please remember – Minimum wage has been increase by .20 cents an hour as of October 1st, 1987.

Property Tax Committee Report

By Pete Rysdale

There has been a long ongoing discussion about taxation of businesses on every basis but, particularly in NOTO, the focus has been on property assessment for municipal, school board or Ontario land taxes.

The Concise Law Dictionary defines assessment as “the ascertainment of a person’s liability to taxation or rates…” Therefore our problem is taxation and this becomes even more complex than trying to understand the Property Assessment Act as practiced in Ontario today.

A number of persons in the Sudbury Assessment area (which includes Manitoulin Island) have an appeal in the courts regarding the application of commercial rates and the resulting business tax. This apparently is the only one (1) of 35 assessment areas in the province applying the law so. It have gone through search for discovery hearings for both sides, a pre trial hearing at which the judge said he would have decided in the camp operators favour had he been hearing the case at that time and yet a trial date has now been set for January 15, 1988.

This will be more than two years since this assessment and taxation was first questioned in the manner.

Even with letters and comments from politicians and bureaucrats stating the application of the law in this case is inconsistent and incongruous, it drags on.

The application of market value assessment in some taxing jurisdictions has created a flagrant inequity in taxation of similar properties within the same travel area let alone across the province. We did discuss two legal approaches taken in Southern Ontario with this particular problem but by the time they were discovered they had already been reversed.

A paper has been prepared showing some inequities in the system as now practiced and will be taken to the Minister of Tourism, Municipal Affairs and the Treasurer. There are comments in several government papers alluding to the problem of property tax in small business, particularly in remote areas, and hopefully we can get some form of relief.

I would comment however that a NOTO survey showed that nearly 73% of the replies indicated a willingness to support a study on taxation and yet out of 47 questionnaires sent out to members, including most of the board of governors, only 11 were returned. Only 1 of these completed most of the questions and none (zero) replied regarding other area businesses. I got more cooperation from non NOTO members in non NOTO areas than from within this Association.

Perhaps as was once suggested the only answer may be to hire an outside expert (someone from out of town) and spend your money.

Tourism Ontario Promotion and Development Committee Report

By Bob McKercher

The Tourism Ontario Promotion and Development Committee recently came out of the doldrums and re-convened. The committee, chaired by NOTO Past President Bill Biggs, is set to regain its position as the industry leader by assessing the federal and provincial marketing plans.

After a period of over a year, the committee was re-commissioned by Tourism Ontario in the spring of 1987. The committee is comprised of representatives from the various trade associations and OTAPs that constitute Tourism Ontario.

Much of the first meeting was spent trying to redefine the goals and objectives of the TOPDC. It was determined that its mandate should be to proactively assess federal and provincial marketing strategies and to act as a watch dog for these programs.

A sub committee was struck to review the 1987 marketing plan. The report of the sub committee was presented at the next meeting, where the provincial strategy was assessed. The TOPDC wants to become a relevant body, acting as the provincial agency to review marketing plans.

Parks and Border Waters Committee Report

By Barry Brown

Border Water: With almost total acceptance of the border waters day trip fees instituted in 1984, non-residents may soon see this program expanded to neighbouring lakes within a three hour drive of the border.

Although 1985 saw a significant reduction in the numbers of visitors on border waters and subsequently a reduced fish harvest, 1987 has experienced a solid resurgence of non-resident fishermen and almost complete compliance of the new regulations. Prior to 1984, in some areas, nearly 85% of the fishery harvest was attributed to day trippers. For those without a base of operation, a three dollar ($3.00) fee is levied against each fisherman on a daily basis for the privilege of fishing border waters.

Parks: Two (2) district level meetings were held with area MNR personnel in a continued lobby for multiple use of Provincial Parks and, more precisely, air access to southern points of Quetico Park. These issues will be open for discussion in ’87 and ’88 during the five (5) year review of the Quetico Park master plan. Although formal dates have not been set, mail-outs are taking place this month. Anyone interested in receiving copies of the agenda and issues, please write:

Ministry of Natural Resources
District Manager
Atikokan ON P0T 1C0
or call 807-597-6971 (2&3)

Guides of the Lac La Croix Indian Band have been given exclusive use of outboard motors on several border waters of Quetico. Atikokan area canoe outfitters not only compete with motorized watercraft on the western front but also a continued deluge of U.S. southern point entries and now an alarming increase in the number of northern entries of independent “pack sackers” and commercial “outfitted” parties who consume the vast majority of daily entry permits. Area outfitters continue to press for political support for the “lions” shore of the revenues generated through this Canadian park. Presently, U.S. operators, on U.S. soil, continue to cater to approximately 80% of the park users and collect a similar percentage of the revenues while the Ontario tax payers continue to bear the full one hundred percent financial burden of Park maintenance and administration. The volunteer summer support program has been a bright spot on an otherwise bleak horizon.

The Province’s agenda for an approximate 140 new park areas creates unparalleled development challenges to our industry. Although many proposed parks encompass large areas of unoccupied crown land, others include current tourism development. It is imperative that our industry maintain and enhance its presence in parks with a history of tourist development as well as be included in any and all new parks.

Not all senior government officials agree with us on this point. Commercial tourism generates and further maximizes regional and local economic returns while exposing the park system to the greatest variety of recreationists. Commercial tourism is a traditional and historical land use in parks and offers a greater understanding of the park environment.

Communications Committee Report

By Bill Chambers

The communications committee has been especially busy this year. Leading the way has been NOTO’s tourism awareness program heard across Northern Ontario. The association produced three 30 second radio awareness ads. They went on air for a six week period beginning in the middle of July.

In Northeastern Ontario, the ads were heard on the Telemedia Network in Timmins, Sudbury, North Bay and Sault Ste. Marie. In the Northwest, the ads were broadcast over the Far West Ontario network to Kenora, Fort Frances, Dryden, Atikokan, Red Lake, Ignace and Sioux Lookout. In all cases, NOTO was successful in securing a free ad for every two that were purchased.

The NOTO Tourism Strategy garnered a great deal of public attention. Media interest in the strategy rose in the weeks prior to the release of the document. The NOTO release strategy, utilizing a series of timed press releases during the election, won the association maximum coverage.

As anticipated, the strategy white paper has proven to be somewhat controversial, which has further heightened media interest.

The public profile of NOTO has significantly risen over the past 12 months.

Internally, NOTO has continued to improve its profile with the Ministry of Natural Resources. NOTO executives addressed MNR field staff on a number of occasions throughout the spring and summer.

Lastly, your association recently produced its in-house publicity document, titled “Get Hooked on NOTO”. This pamphlet outlines the aims of the association, its strengths and its responsibilities. It will be distributed to all renewals and to all prospective new members.

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