National attention for local leaders

Members of Sault Ste. Marie’s business community have been receiving national attention for their achievements and I want to highlight these success stories.

The EXIT Realty Lake Superior team of Kristen Trembinski, Rob Trembinski and Jamie Coccimiglio are EXIT Canada’s 2017 Canadian Broker of the Year.

The Trembinski’s ties to real estate in the city run deep. Kristen and Rob’s grandfather, William McPherson, and father, Terry Trembinski, worked in the real estate profession for many years. Kristen and Rob continue to carry forward the family legacy to this day.

Brie Gallagher is another local leader receiving attention for her work. Brie’s renovation of a home in the city was recognized as an ‘Instagram-Worthy Oasis’ by HGTV’s Great Canadian Homes. Brie has moved home after graduating from the Ontario College of Art and Design. She runs BRIETAKESPICTURES and BRIEMAKESSPACES in the Sault.

The recently held business pitch competition put on by the Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corporation is a great representation of how we can help turn potential future leaders into success stories like the aforementioned examples.

Sarah Huckson captured the grand prize (valued at $15,000) for her business, Scott Coffee Co. Alex Benzin and Nicole Findlay finished second and took home $5,000 for Ontario Wild. This competition is an important way to foster the spirit of entrepreneurialism in our youth and show them what’s possible.

Thanks to all involved with the process and I also want to express gratitude to the sponsors who stepped up to help support the initiative. When we work together as a community the road to success becomes easier to navigate.

Sault Ste. Marie and the Ring of Fire

Recently, Allan Coutts and Stephen Flewelling of Noront Resources visited Sault Ste. Marie to discuss progress on the Ring of Fire developments. I was glad to host these two gentlemen at the Mayor’s Office for a meeting to hear about the latest news from their company.

I first met with Mr. Coutts and Mr. Flewelling in November, 2016 to discuss their Ring of Fire holdings and the potential to construct a ferrochrome refinery in Sault Ste. Marie. I have been in touch with the company a few times since on these same topics. There have also been a number of employees at the EDC who have kept in close contact with Noront over the last several months and I want to credit them for their good work in promoting the Sault as a favourable location for a processing facility.

For those who may not be aware, we’re one of several sites vying to become home to an eventual ferrochrome refinery, including our fellow northern Ontario cities of Thunder Bay, Sudbury and Timmins. When you hear the scale of the facility, it’s easy to understand why it is so sought after—it will be a $1 billion construction project that will lead to 300+ well-paying industrial jobs once the plant becomes operational.

While the refinery would obviously be a longer-term project, we have all the elements that are needed for it in Sault Ste. Marie and as such I think that our location is being very seriously considered. Noront is hoping to select their preferred site towards the end of the summer, so we will continue working with it and promoting the case for Sault Ste. Marie.

Sault Ste. Marie hasn’t traditionally been a big player in the mining sector but we are hoping to get in the game because it certainly appears to be an industry that will grow in Northern Ontario. The Ring of Fire has potential to be one of the largest and most lucrative resource developments in Ontario’s recent history. If managed properly, the benefits will flow all across Northern Ontario, including in the many First Nations communities that are located near the mineral deposits.

It’s important for those of us who are elected officials in Northern Ontario to do all we can to encourage cooperation and collaboration so that the mineral wealth of the Ring of Fire can be developed responsibly for the benefit of our region. That includes ensuring that environmental concerns related to both mining and refining operations are addressed properly and mitigated as much as possible.

We are in the very early stages and there is a lot more work to be done, but we are up to doing it.