Rama acquires ownership of the Ontario Educational Leadership Center

The property, valued at $6.6 million, includes a conference center, chalets, roads and trails; Rama is still brainstorming ideas for the 126-acre lakefront property

The Rama First Nation purchased the lakefront property that has housed the Ontario Educational Leadership Center (OELC) since 1948.

The 126-acre property on the shores of Lake Couchiching is adjacent to the Rama First Nation and adds approximately one kilometer to the community’s shoreline access, a news release from the First Nation notes.

The property, located at 7098 Rama Rd., includes 50 buildings, numerous overnight cabins used for RV accommodation; an 11,700 square foot conference center, commercial kitchen, dining room and offices; a network of roads and trails; and a private water and sewage facility.

The land belonged to the provincial government and was leased to the OELC.

As part of the Williams Treaties settlement in 2018, compensation was included to purchase land to replace those taken.

Over the past few years, Rama’s management has worked with Infrastructure Ontario to complete an assessment of the land and to review environmental and other assessments of the property. The purchase price of $6.6 million was determined by an Ontario appraisal at the outset.

The additional land “will allow the community to grow, expanding programs and services to its members,” the Rama First Nation statement noted.

This site provides more space for a range of possibilities, including earthly programs, a healing center, recreational activities and gatherings.

“At this time, the community is still exploring real estate development ideas,” the statement noted.

Community consultation has begun and will continue in the coming months.

In 2018, the OELC celebrated its 70th anniversary. Some of the early teenagers who attended Longford Mills camp during its first summer of operation have returned to celebrate.

OELC’s offerings have evolved over the past seven decades, but its mission hasn’t changed since that inaugural season.

“Each of our 16 unique leadership courses focuses on engaging and educating young people to maximize their potential as leaders, encouraging them to become responsible and participating citizens in their schools, communities and beyond. beyond,” noted a press release from the center at the time.

“Whether through the arts, sports, school governance or global issues, our courses help more than 2,000 young people in Ontario each year connect with their inner leader.

Janice G. Ball