2019 ROMA Conference Draws Rural Leaders

2019 ROMA Conference Draws Rural Leaders
Focus on rural municipal priorities and needs

Kenora, ON – City of Kenora Councillors Chris VanWalleghem and Kirsi Ralko will join more than 1,000 rural municipal officials from across the province at the 2019 Rural Ontario Municipal Association (ROMA) Conference in Toronto from January 27 to 29.

This will be ROMA’s third standalone conference and is expected to be the largest to date. Coming six months after the change in provincial government, the conference focuses on the pressing challenges and emerging opportunities facing rural communities in Ontario. The Premier, as well as leaders of the NDP, Liberal and Green Party are scheduled to speak.

In addition to the conference program, municipal staff and officials will take part in more than 400 municipal delegation meetings with provincial and federal ministries to discuss local need and priorities.

Key session topics include cannabis legalization, changes to labour laws and energy. There will also be sessions related to planning and economic development. Program information is available online at These province-wide matters have local implications for our community.

Key priorities for the City of Kenora include:

• Affordable Housing
This has long been identified as a need in Kenora, not only to affect homelessness but to attract workers and compensate for demographic trends. Although funding allocations to the Kenora District Services Board (KDSB) under the Investment in Affordable Housing Program have increased in recent years, it is still inadequate to address an ageing stock and demand driven by out-migration from communities in the north.

• Environmental Compliance Approval (ECA) for Servicing Extensions
Currently, waste-water and storm sewer extension approvals are inconsistent with what is required of water servicing. An ECA can also take several months to obtain and is an expensive proposition and deterrent to developers as they will require additional engineering services. To facilitate development in an already challenging landscape, the City of Kenora is seeking that the ECA process for new waste-water and storm sewer connections be reformed.

Conference news releases, fact sheets and presentations from a number of key speakers will be posted on ROMA’s website throughout the duration of the conference at

ROMA takes pride in promoting, supporting and enhancing strong and effective rural governments. About 270 of Ontario’s 444 municipalities have populations of less than 10,000, while scores more are rural in character. The rural arm of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, ROMA advocates for policies and programs that will help build thriving rural Ontario communities.

For more information about ROMA or the 2019 Conference, contact:
Brian Lambie, ROMA Media Contact, 416-729-5425,

Follow the conference on Twitter: @ROMA_Ont, Hashtag: #RuralMatters