Northern communities are working together to create a Statement of Common Purpose and Framework Accord.

The Town of Cochrane hosted a three-day summit aimed at bringing prosperity to the region by engaging community, municipal, Indigenous and government leaders in grassroots discussions. The Transforming Ontario’s North summit says over 87 per cent of Ontario’s landmass filled with a diverse selection of resources is right in this region and it’s time to set the stage for more development.

Organizing Committee Member Mark Holmes says one thing that came out of the discussions was consulting with Indigenous communities more. “They can’t come in part way through, they can’t be forced into a position that some levels of government or an entity wants them to go into. They need to be able to represent their communities and their interests in an equal way.”

Holmes says the summit also addressed that energy and human resource needs are integral to the future of the North’s economic development.

He says all of the discussions involved people from upper levels, so they could hear what the north needs and wants. “By speaking with a common voice, it will be a stronger voice in forming the right policies for the north.” Holmes adds that the policies will have the input from the people who live there and “those policies when enacted will lead the north to where it wants to be.”

Holmes says this summit was the first of hopefully more to be held across Northern Ontario.