January 20, 2004, Earlton:

Two district Community Futures Corporations, set up to help small-and-medium sized businesses, and the Earlton Airport were the recipients Monday of a combined total of $853,000 to boost the Timiskaming economy.
Federal Minister of State Joe Comuzzi, and a retinue of officials from FedNor, including Louise Paquette (FedNor Director General based in Sudbury), held a press conference at the Earlton Airport – part of a whirlwind tour that took the Minister across the North by airplane yesterday, before returning to Ottawa.
The announcement was a coup for Timiskaming-Cochrane MP Ben Serré.  The MP was to have made a joint announcement with the Minister, but bad driving conditions and a minor auto mishap sidelined Serré from attending the conference Monday afternoon.
The funding was allocated as follows:  $500,000 to the South Temiskaming Community Futures Development Corporation for investment in the New Liskeard-Temagami-Haileybury-Cobalt area; $183,000 to the Township of Armstrong toward costs of a third-year pilot project to provide scheduled air transportation between Earlton and Toronto; and $170,000 to the Kirkland & District Community Development Corporation to implement a youth entrepreneurship action plan.
On behalf of the STCFDC, Chair Carman Kidd welcomed the funding, saying the needs will be met for local entrepreneurs through repayable loans, equity, loan guarantees and counselling services.
Last year, the South Temiskaming Community Futures invested more than $933,000 and assisted in creating 142 jobs.
Fred Deacon, Chair of the Kirkland & District Community Futures, was also pleased with the $170,000 funding his group received for its youth entrepreneurship plan.
In a prepared statement, Deacon remarked, “This project is a result of an initiative that was developed by our organization in a partnership with the Far Northeast Training Board and other community partners, aimed at addressing youth outmigration.  With the help of our partners, especially from the educational sector, we are looking forward to playing an active role in fostering the next generation of entrepreneurs and risk-takers."
Meanwhile, the $183,000 for the airport project was gratefully accepted by Armstrong Township Clerk-Treasurer Giles Richard, on behalf of Reeve Jules Gravel.  An earlier statement issued by the Reeve noted the Township appreciated the funding that will be used towards the newly reconstituted air service.  Last week, Airport Advisory Chair Mac Hamilton announced the return of a new air service.  A carrier has been selected, but not disclosed yet.
Earlton’s air transportation link to Toronto was suspended last May because of the SARS crisis, and the investment will assist the Township in reinstating air passenger service to the area.
Prior to the cheque presentations, the Minister of State noted the importance of the projects and the funding allocated to make them successful.  It’s not just job creation that is important, but job maintenance and improved skills for people in Northern Ontario that is also needed, Comuzzi observed, adding the funding will help Timiskaming communities to achieve this goal.
Commuzzi also pointed out the importance of both road and air links with the south, and explained that he hoped for good co-operation between federal and provincial governments to build an adequate transportation system here in the North.