Friday was a busy day in Wawa. OntORA ran a very successful first Rally. Members arrived from Marathon, Manitouwadge, Hornepayne, White River, Dubreuilville, Chapleau, Missanabie, Hawk Junction to meet with their members from Wawa.
This rally was to sign up new members, return and complete the petitions handed out to other areas and to show support for the members who are having similar road access problems.
C.T.V. reporter Makda Ghebreslassie did a great job helping us spread the news. She interviewed OntORA members, Mr. Peluch M.N.R. District Manager, and Betty Watson one of the largest remote outfitters in our area.
Mr. Peluch did not want to come out and speak to the public but he did invite four members to have a quick meeting with him. At this meeting Mr. Pelush said that they had accomplisherd ground with the CLUAH (Crown Land Use Atlas Harmonization) project and once it was ready he would present it to Linda Jefferies for her to review prior to it being returned to the public. Members wanted to be assured that they would have imput into it but they also requested to have a change with the showings. They asked that the MNR representatives come in with an honest attitude to work with the public and not just walk in and tell the public what they are going to do. Once again Mr. Peluch said he had gotten the message and will do his best to reach a consensus.
Karina Hunter editor of News North from Manitouwadge, Brenda Grunt Wawa-News, Algoma News Review, Tracy Blackmore and lastly a new paper to me The Jackfish Journal out of Hornepayne all came out to support our cause. I would like to thank you for a great job. We have the best of media in the north and it is nice to see them all busy and cooperatively working together.
I would like to thank the children from Hornepayne who attend Ecole Saint Nom Jesus for the beautiful pictures they drew for us to forward Misnister Linda Jefferies. They showed in their drawings what the forest means to their families. Our children should be hearing and taking part as this is their future we are fighting for.
This was our first rally and we plan to have more around the north as each town joins our cause. Keep your sign as we will use them again….soon.
Over the past years the MNR have been busy closing off crown land making it difficult for the public and hard for the road base businesses to compete. NOTO funds are going to the fly in outfitters and this does not leave much for the rest of us and it is a real betrayial as the dollars come from Ontario taxpayers.
M.N.R. and N.O.T.O. have to remember that we are the ones who have been paying their wages for all these years and crown land belongs to the people. It is time that the MNR must help the public. Northern Ontario is not a play ground for the wealthy.
Lastly I want to thank everyone who attended this rally. We may live in the north but everyone conducted themselves in a very respectable means and I was very proud to be associated with this group. The O.P.P. thank you for looking out for us. In this day and age it is hard to know what a crowd would do. Again thank you for supporting OntORA in this event.Submitted by Bonnie Smedts OntORA District # 3 Rep.