September 6, 2005

BIRCH ISLAND, Ontario, September 6, 2005 — Brent St. Denis, Member of Parliament for Algoma–Manitoulin–Kapuskasing, today announced FedNor support of $155,088 to the local Community Futures Development Corporation (CFDC) known as the Waubetek Business Development Corporation.  The funding will assist with the implementation of a new regional tourism marketing strategy and business plan for the Great Spirit Circle Trail (GSCT).

“The Government of Canada is committed to contributing to projects that foster growth, economic development and employment creation in rural and Aboriginal communities,” said Mr. St. Denis.  “Investments in tourism-related infrastructure, events and promotion pay off many times over through increased visitors and their associated spending.”

FedNor originally funded the production of this tourism marketing strategy and business plan ($151,920) which was completed in October 2004.  One feature of this strategy has been the development of tourism products and services for First Nations outside the existing Great Spirit Circle Tour membership to 19 others within Northeastern Ontario.  This expansion provides for increased opportunities for Aboriginal businesses and more product offerings for visitors to the region.

The GSCT is a regional Aboriginal tourism marketing initiative with objectives to increase tourism in the region and to boost Aboriginal participation in the tourism sector on Manitoulin Island.  It is directed by a committee with representatives from each of the eight First Nations within Waubetek’s catchment area and is being incorporated as a subsidiary of the CFDC.  The GSCT is a brand for Aboriginal tourism in the region and the name, logo and slogan – Experience the Past, Enjoy the Present – have been registered as a trademark.

The Waubetek Business Development Corporation is one of 61 Community Futures Development Corporations in rural and Northern Ontario funded by Industry Canada’s Community Futures Program through FedNor.  CFDCs deliver a wide variety of programs and services to support community economic development and small business growth.  They employ local staff and are each governed by a volunteer board of directors made up of local residents representative of the community.

In the last five years, Northern Ontario CFDCs have successfully invested more than $101 million through their loans and business counselling activities to help the small business sector create or maintain 10,621 jobs in the North.  Last year, the Waubetek Business Development Corporation invested $726,720 and assisted in creating or maintaining 25 jobs, contributing to an enhanced business community.

“We look forward to this project having a significant impact on our tourism sector,” said Harvey Trudeau, Chair of the Waubetek Business Development Corporation.  “There are great opportunities in Aboriginal culture- and tourism-based activities.”

By supporting the Waubetek Business Development Corporation through its programs and services, FedNor is opening doors and building futures for a prosperous Northern Ontario.

Funding for this initiative was provided for in the February 2005 federal budget and is therefore built into the existing fiscal framework.

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For more information, please contact:

Graeme Wilkes
Director of Communications, Office of the Honourable Andy Mitchell, Minister of State (FedNor)
(613) 947-5850

Mélanie Mayer
Communications Officer, FedNor
(705) 671-0720 or 1 877 333-6673