Looking forward to the 2032 economy, I’d be interested to hear from municipal candidates about their dreams for the Madawaska Valley. For example, my vision would include news media reports dated August 4, 2032 (that’s a Wednesday) that looked as follows:
Picture: Blue waters and treed shoreline of a lake with kids jumping off a raft
Headline: BOOMTOWN MADAWASKA VALLEY
Subheading: Madawaska Valley is the number one tourism destination in Ontario
Story: Thanks to community-led stewardship, our lakes and forests are the healthiest in Ontario. Our pollution-free environment, quality sport-fishing, and clean waters are leading this economic boom.
Al Best, Trout Lake
photo: OHTO comewander.ca
Boomtown Madawaska Valley?:- seriously, like Orillia, Huntsville, and Haliburton?:- forget about it! MVT is just fine as is but it needs to provide more employment opportunities for local folks. Tourism is not an option simply because this area is too isolated to attract much tourist trade plus tourism is very seasonal:- what do people do for a living in Fall, Winter, and Spring? Tourism has also been hurt long-term by acid rain from the US Midwest which has killed off all the clams, minnows, frogs, turtles, light bugs etc:-MVT has suffered considerable gradual environmental degradation over the last ~50 years. The traditional industries here have always been forestry and farming:-
fuel-wood pellets are a global growth industry and this region has huge supplies of raw material. IKEA has stopped importing wood from Russia and is seeking new wood sources and this region offers an attractive alternative so someone should certainly talk to them. St Francis Herbs are a growing local ag industry and Mennonite folks east of Eganville certainly see ag opportunities here. Other specialty types of agriculture suited to Renfrew County are yaks and Wagyu cattle (and no jokes about the yaks please!). There’s also higher education:- OLSoWC now grants college degrees and is a thriving growing local enterprise with a lot of economic potential although not everyone seems fond of it:-I remember when “Hasanville” was established and the Toronto Star started sanctimoniously “clucking” about “terrorists” in MVT but nowadays they raise sheep and sell halal lamb and mutton. This area also offers stable non-union labor for light industries such as specialty sausage plants and so onbut it would help if MVT developed a little industrial park for such new businesses. There is also a lot of potential to attract closed-cycle salmon farms to this region.