The Near North Enviro Education Centre (NNEEC) in Sundridge is conducting an online survey to examine the impact the environment and economy are having on residents in the Almaguin Highlands. NNEEC president Jocelyn Palm began appearing before the town councils during June explaining the survey and asking the municipalities to help promote it. Palm says the survey takes five minutes. To be statistically significant, the survey needs at least a five per cent participation rate. The goal is to reach the 24 communities in the region from Callander to Emsdale in the Highway 11 corridor area as well as the communities from Bear Lake to Kearney along Highway 518, McMurrich-Monteith, Magentawan and Whitestone, and then the communities on Highway 124 plus Port Loring, Restoule and Novar. The survey lists all 24 communities. In addition to collecting demographic information, the survey has questions about the environment, employment status, salary range, political affiliation and food security which Palm says is something people have worried about lately. Although the survey doesn't collect any identifying information, there is an option at the end where participants can leave their email address if they want a copy of the survey results. Providing an email address also makes the participant eligible to win a $100 Visa gift card from the NNEEC. The survey is open to people who not only live in Almaguin, but own a second property in the survey boundary area, work in Almaguin but live elsewhere or are visitors to the Almaguin Highlands. Palm says once the data is compiled and broken down, the results will provide the 24 communities with excellent information because it tells them what residents are thinking and experiencing. Palm says the survey could be repeated in the future to see if the data changes over time. The NNEEC is a registered charity and Palm says it doesn't get involved in politics, but rather it's all about education. To access the survey, visit https://www.nneec.ca/survey.
Rocco Frangione, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The North Bay Nugget