2018 Year in Review
Fri. Aug. 3
The federal government announced $4 million in funding over four years for the IISD Experimental Lakes Area. The facility, about 100 kilometres east of Kenora, has been researching fresh water on 58 small lakes in the area for 50 years. The research is meant to focus on climate change, oil spills, selenium and acid rain.
Six Indigenous communities were set to receive high-speed internet access after the federal government announced just over $7 million in funding for internet infrastructure in northern Ontario. The six communities are Fort Severn, Peawanuck, Attawapiskat, Fort Albany Kashechewan and the Ojibway Nation of Saugeen.
Tues. Aug. 7
Wet weather temporarily cooled the forest fire hazard in the region, as rain and low temperatures helped extinguish fires over the August long weekend. On Sunday, Aug. 5, there were 85 active fires, down from 93 active fires just two days before. However, the fire risk was still moderate to high in the Dryden, Fort Frances, Sioux Lookout and Nipigon districts.
Wed. Aug. 8
Kenora city council released its annual report for 2017. The city had an actual budget of $46,387,286. Federal and provincial grants were lower than expected for the year. The city had budgeted for $45,501,697 in expenses, but actual expenses came in under par at $44,965,180. The city posted a surplus of $1.42 million in 2017. The infrastructure deficit was still significant, but Kenora’s financial reserves sat at $30.2 million after 2017.
Fri. Aug. 10
Environment Canada issued an extreme heat warning for Lake of the Woods. Over the weekend of Aug. 11, the region saw temperatures as high as 35 C — record-breaking heat. The highest temperature for those dates was in 1991, when it reached 32 C on Aug. 12. The region also saw no precipitation during the heat spell. The Northwest Health Unit told people to take care during the heat wave, suggesting people stay in the shade and consume plenty of water.
Mon. Aug. 13
Unforeseen issues with renovation on the Knox United Church annex saw residents scattered throughout Kenora’s downtown. Construction on the new homeless shelter in the annex started after a deal was struck between the Kenora District Services Board and Ne Chee Friendship Centre, with the signing of a 20-year lease. The total estimated cost of the project is $1.5 million.
Tues. Aug. 14
The Kenora District Services Board finalized an agreement with the City of Dryden to purchase the Dryden Children’s Resoruce Centre, with plans to renovate the space and refit it with another 70 child care spaces. The centre was licensed for 95 spaces. KDSB also planned to work with the centre to develop an Indigenous child care program, a first for the city.
Wed. Aug. 15
A local coalition sought support from city council at regular monthly council meeting. The Pregnancy and Infant Loss Network Kenora requested support from the city during a council deputation, specifically that the city waive rental fees for the group’s monthly meetings at the Kenora Recreation Centre and for its annual PILN Awareness Day in Oct.
Fri. Aug. 17
The City of Kenora Fire and Emergency Services issued a total fire ban for the city on Aug. 16. All outside burning, including brush and grass burning, back fire pits and solid fuel cook stoves were prohibited during the ban. The ban was issued due to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry’s restricted fire zone that was then in effect for the region. It remained in effect until the MNRF’s restriction was lifted.
Fri. Aug. 24
Dryden OPP found human remains and sought the public’s help in investigating the suspicious death. Local resident Henry Stone-Arnold, 28, was reported missing earlier in August — the remains were eventually identified as Stone Arnold’s. His vehicle was found near Highway 594, approximately one kilometre west of Dryden.
The forest fire hazard also ramped up, with the MNRF reporting the fire risk as high to extreme across the northwest region. At the time, there were 71 active fires — eight of which weren’t under control. Ontario Parks restricted access to some canoe routes and a number of lakes in Woodland Caribou Provincial Park due to the fires in the region.
Mon. Aug. 27
Kenora-Rainy River MPP Greg Rickford announced funding for a new Ontario Provincial Police detachment in Fort Frances. Fort Frances was one of nine detachments slated for upgrades by the province, which intends to spend $182 million on the replacements and upgrades.
Tues. Aug. 28
Kenora-Rainy River MPP Greg Rickford made another funding announcement, this time confirming the province will support the Lake of the Woods Art Centre with a $1 million grant through the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation. Rickford also announced $33,333 in funding to the City of Kenora for a business development plan meant to enhance the Harbourfront area.
(From left) Matthew McCandless, executive director of IISD Experimental Lakes Area, Kenora MP Bob Nault and parlimentary secretary to the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development David Lametti at the Experimental Lakes Area on Aug. 1.