By Parry-Sound Muskoka MP Scott Aitchison
It is hard to believe it has already been a month since I’ve last written my monthly column. As things start to open again across the globe, and more specifically across Parry Sound-Muskoka, we seem to be molding into a new kind of normal with time passing more quickly.
I have been particularly impressed with many local businesses across the riding. This pandemic has brought true entrepreneurial creativity to the forefront. Over the last few months I have spoken to several of you who are struggling with keeping the doors open to your small business, but I have also heard of many businesses who are evolving enough to thrive through the pandemic.
Businesses aren’t alone in their creativity. Throughout the riding we had several excellent graduation ceremonies to celebrate the great accomplishments of our youth and wishing them well on their future endeavors. I witnessed perfectly scheduled drive-thru graduations, car parades, lawn signs, and other celebratory items sprinkled all over the riding. I would like to congratulate the staff and administration at these schools for creating a safe yet memorable convocation for all graduates.
For those of you that follow me on my social media channels you may have noticed I’ve started to visit local businesses again. We kicked off the summer season with distributing almost $750,000 to riding businesses under the Canada Summer Jobs program. This program is always overdrawn in Parry Sound-Muskoka and it can be a daunting task. My office has appreciated everyone’s patience as we navigated the new way to allocate these funds. I look forward to continuing my local tour throughout the summer to meet as many of these Canada Summer Jobs students as possible.
Last week I had the opportunity to meet some students in businesses around Bala. What Wake Park has adjusted their protocols to ensure a safe riding experience at the cable park while promoting fun physical activity. At Bala Cove Marine they expressed they are busier this season than in the past due to the late opening. Finally, at Clear Lake Brewery they’ve launched a “Customers Wanted” campaign as they build the world’s largest BeerSpa.
As I tour around meeting business owners and project managers, I have been especially impressed with the technologies we are using in Parry Sound-Muskoka. At Safe Smart Science Inc.in Bracebridge, Andrew Struthers and his team are producing a new N95 mask with Bluetooth technology to notify those around you if your condition changes via LED lights on the front of the mask. These masks will be ideal for mass screenings in areas such as airports and amusement parks but also in hospitals and long-term care facilities.
During another tech-related visit, I met members of the West Parry Sound Health Centre team and spoke about the BioFire machine that went into service on July 3rd in Parry Sound. BioFire can test for COVID-19 in 45 minutes inside the hospital lab. The funds were raised locally to purchase this machine and WPSHC is one of very few across Canada who now have this technology locally. It was a great honour to assist along the process wherever we could including expediting Health Canada approval so the machine could get up and running!
Until next time, I’d like to remind you to reach out to my office at any time with questions or concerns. More importantly, I’d like to remind you that Parry Sound-Muskoka is open for business in many locations with safe protocols and social distancing guidelines in place. MPP Norm Miller and I have created a #supportlocal Parry Sound-Muskoka Facebook page where you can find information on what’s open and how they have been able to pivot through this pandemic. Finally, as I’ve put in my previous articles, please be kind and be well.
(Photo of Parliament Hill by festivio on Pixabay. Photo of Scott Aitchison courtesy of Scott Aitchison.)
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