Editor’s note: Dr. Colin Yates of the University of Waterloo Summit Centre for the Environment is currently working with Muskoka Futures on a feasibility study. He is appearing as guest columnist this week on behalf of Muskoka Futures.
HUNTSVILLE - Over the past few months I have been making my way around Muskoka, immersing myself in its culture, attending events, like Business After Hours, the President’s Ball and making acquaintances with numerous motivated people. I have been impressed by the hard work and dedication of the organizers of Film North and Nuit Blanche North, the generosity of the members from the various local lake associations as well as the ingenuity of the Huntsville Lake of Bays Chamber of Commerce.
The more time I spend here the more I find myself saying, ‘That Huntsville has energy, drive and vision with opportunities abounding.’ Perhaps, it is not always apparent, but from an outsider’s perspective, the signs are there. In Huntsville and surrounding areas I see a creative and resourceful culture; a culture where the term sustainability is creeping into the daily mindset. To me this demonstrates that this town has a vision and a promise to and for the future.
My goal at the Waterloo Summit Centre for the Environment is to build on Huntsville’s vision, to help Huntsville edge closer to the model community it is already coming to be. I am working hard to build the university centre as a centre for the community; a centre where knowledge and opportunities can be explored, created and shared. Although I wish this goal could be realized overnight, it will not be. To fulfill this goal, it will require time and perseverance. But with Huntsville’s energy and drive, I think we can attain that goal together.
I am looking forward to working in Huntsville and becoming part of its growth and vision.
At the centre we are working on a number of initiatives to set us on our way and as always, we are seeking collaborators and ideas. Here are just a few items that are up and coming:
• We are currently conducting a feasibility study for a certified laboratory in the building. This lab could service Muskoka and surrounding areas. If found to be feasible, this laboratory would provide employment, reduce costs for local industry and assist retention and development in the region. If you are an organization that regularly sends samples away to be analyzed please fill out the survey found at the link provided. http://www.muskokafutures.ca/Request-for-Expression-of-Interest;
• An array of professional development course offerings are being hosted and developed, with some coming up in early 2013. Go to https://uwaterloo.ca/waterloo-summit-centre/events;
• We are looking to help match University of Waterloo students with local organizations for co-operative education work placements and research projects. Please contact us if you have interest in this program.
The university centre is also the home of conferences and workshops. One such workshop, The Lessons Learned: Working Towards Effective Lake Stewardship, is coming up in May. Please register at https://uwaterloo.ca/waterloo-summit-centre/lessonslearned.
Please feel free to contact me at any time at 519-888-4567 ext. 37282 or on my cell at 226-220-0133.