Hearst and several economic development agencies in our region including North Claybelt and the Timmins EDC have come out in support of a plan to make farming a major part of the economy in the future. Great Claybelt Agriculture Business Plan project chairman Gilles Matko says not only is he waiting on support from other municipalities in our region, but for news on a provincial government grant application.

“The applications were submitted to NOHFC that we are just in a waiting pattern,” he said. “They are running their do process on what they have to do. And we are just waiting on hopefully for a positive result.”

Matko says once approved it will take nine months to a year to get the project put into place.

“Hiring of a firm that has the knowledge and capabilities to produce such a business plan,” he said. “The other part of this is of course the community consultation, First Nations and all of our partners in the northeast.”

The project, that develops business plans to expand the farming industry on available public land from Hearst to Timmins, includes First Nations as well as community involvement. The total cost of the business plan project is $752,000 of which nearly 90 per cent could be covered by a grant from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund.