Churchill Region Economic Development Fund

Approved Projects - as of June 2019

01: Town of Churchill - Mould & Asbestos Abatement Program ($191,737)

Many of the now-vacant buildings in Churchill have some degree of asbestos-containing materials. Asbestos was used as a fireproofing material, as well as added to concrete, asphalt, vinyl materials, pipes, siding, wall board, floor tiles, joint compounds and adhesives. This project trained ten previous Port of Churchill employees by providing them with a valuable skill set in mould & asbestos abatement.  In addition to a one-week training program, this proposed project offered employment and practical experience in the remediation of two properties: The Theatre and the former Duke of Marlborough School.

STATUS: APPROVED, COMPLETED

02: Town of Churchill - Heavy Equipment Operator Training Program ($462,165)

The Churchill area's tourism infrastructure includes much more than just the physical town site. There are over 50 kilometers of essential roads and trails throughout unoccupied Crown lands in the area that support and sustain tourism growth and development. The demands on the existing roads are enormous and cannot sustain the combined tourism and upcoming construction traffic (for the new Churchill Marine Observatory). Through University College of the North, this program will train and employ as Heavy Equipment Operators ten previous Port employees affected by the August 2016 Port closure. The training will include both theoretical (classroom) and practical components. All participants will become Town of Churchill employees.

STATUS: APPROVED, COMPLETED

03: Thompson Zoological Society - Boreal Discovery Centre ($136,000)

The Boreal Discovery Centre represents a bold new vision for the former Thompson Zoo.  The state-of-the-art facility will focus on programming and education about animal species that make their home in the Bayline region of the Boreal Forest of Manitoba. The Centre will offer interactive and experiential programming provided by facilitators who know both traditional and modern methods of harvesting, housing, health care and economic trade.  Project funding will be used to develop a world-class live Sturgeon habitat showing the species in various stages of development. This exhibit will be the centerpiece of what they hope to be the next Manitoba Star Attraction in the region.

STATUS: APPROVED, COMPLETED

Additional information on The Boreal Discovery Centre and Lake Sturgeon exhibit:

http://www.thompsoncitizen.net/news/thompson/boreal-discovery-centre-unveils-new-renovations-at-sept-28-agm-1.23055387

04: One North Inc. ($562,000)

A group of Manitoba First Nations, northern municipalities and organizations have incorporated as One North and come together to propose solutions to issues plaguing the reliability and costs of Canada’s northern transportation corridor, and especially those urgent matters related to the Hudson Bay Railway and Port of Churchill.  One North will create a business case for northern stakeholders to lead in the acquisition of these critical infrastructure assets.  The business case will also include a plan for governance, financing, and ongoing operation of the Hudson Bay Railway and Port of Churchill.

STATUS: APPROVED, COMPLETED

Additional information on One North/Arctic Gateway Group's progress:

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/churchill-raiway-sale-omnitrax-1.4807450 

05: Atoskiwin Training and Employment Centre - Pewapun Construction Ltd. ($334,000)

The Atoskiwin Training and Employment Centre (ATEC) is a 27,000-square foot non-profit, community-based accredited post-secondary training facility that was opened in 2006. ATEC's mandate is to produce and sustain a competitive Indigenous workforce by providing technical and vocational education and training to First Nations communities in northern Manitoba. With a growing wait list of students hoping to access their programs, ATEC is expanding current training capacity and creating more pathways that lead to employment and in-demand careers for Indigenous students. This will be done through the construction of a brand new 20,000 square foot "state of the art" training facility in Nisichiwayasihk Cree Nation (NCN). The new training centre will triple the intake of Level 1 carpentry students from 20 to 60, and will allow ATEC to train year-round in an indoor quality controlled facility. The new facility will train students to build mould-resistant and energy efficient bungalows, tiny homes, small houses and solar homes. Pewapun Construction Ltd. is the for-profit arm of ATEC.

STATUS: APPROVED, IN PROGRESS

Additional Information on Pewapun Construction: 

https://pewapun.com/ 

06: Nekoté Limited Partnership ($190,400)

Nekoté Limited Partnership (Nekoté) brings together eight Swampy Cree Holdings Member First Nations with an on-ramp for possible future partnering with three others. Nekoté was conceived in mid-October 2016 in response to the announced closure of the Tolko pulp mill at The Pas, Manitoba. The First Nations came together to achieve a two-part mission:

1. Form a partnership with the new owner of the pulp mill; focusing the partnership on forest management activities that impact the ancestral lands of the Nekoté First Nations. 
2. Following the formation of this partnership, work together with said company to establish a community liaison and co-management board approach (modeled after the Mistik management model in Meadow Lake, SK) for continuous communication. 

This mission will work towards reconciliation of the relationship between the forest industry and First Nations in northern Manitoba, increase the security of fiber supply to the pulp mill, and capture new employment and business opportunities. 

STATUS: APPROVED, IN PROGRESS

07: Churchill Northern Studies Centre - Hydroponic Growcer Project ($276,350)

The objective of this project is to establish a Growcer Modular Hydroponic Growing System at the Churchill Northern Studies Centre. The Growcer is a self-contained modular hydroponic system that grows plants without soil, using mineral nutrient solutions in a water solvent. The advantages of hydroponics in the North are significant, as they use limited space and allow for a higher density of food cultivation. The project will create new employment in the agricultural industry, create a new source of healthy greens, and generate a new revenue stream in the community. The Churchill Bayline region will be enhanced by this project through increased food security, new jobs and learning opportunities in northern food production, and increased participation from northern Manitoba in the Province’s agricultural industry.

STATUS: APPROVED, COMPLETED

Additional information on the Churchill Growcer project:

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/churchill-hydroponic-produce-1.4568847 

08: Paskwayak Business Development Corp. – Smart Farm Project ($262,250)

Opaskwayak Cree Nation (OCN) owns the Paskwayak Business Development Corporation Ltd. (PBDC), the corporate arm of OCN. PBDC's mandate is to lead the development of a sound economic base to achieve progress and the economic independence of OCN. In keeping with this mandate, PBDC initiated the Smart Farm Plant Factory Pilot Project (Hydroponics) in January 2016. Along with other community organizations, such as the Opaskwayak Health Authority, the Smart Farm Pilot Project has proven to have tremendous impacts throughout the community in areas such as education, training, employment, health and well-being as well as food security. After noticing interest from other communities, PBDC began to investigate the feasibility of becoming a distributor of the Smart Farm Plant Factory technology. This technology includes both indoor and outdoor, as well as modular and non-modular systems. PBDC plans to create a distribution centre for this technology located in OCN, and will train and employ local individuals in installation, operation and management. PBDC will then market and ship the technology across Canada.

STATUS: CONDITIONAL APPROVAL, IN PROGRESS 

11: Sea North - Remote Area Services ($100,000)

Sea North Tours is a registered corporation operating out of Churchill, Manitoba. Remote Area Services (RAS) falls under the umbrella of this corporation. RAS intends to develop a winter route from Gillam to Churchill to haul freight with specialized vehicles overland. This project will help to deliver freight at lower costs to Churchill residents. This will help residents stay in Churchill, and help businesses stay open in light of rising shipping costs. If the rail line re-opens RAS can redirect their equipment to ship freight from Churchill to communities in Western Nunavut. RAS is partnering on the project with Fox Lake First Nation and Polar Industries of Winnipeg.

STATUS: APPROVED, COMPLETED

Additional Information on the Ice Road: 

https://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/clearing-a-path-to-churchill-464688753.html 

12: Manitoba Chambers of Commerce -  Made in MB Trade Missions ($149,250)

The Manitoba Chambers of Commerce will work in partnership with the Province of Manitoba and with local Chambers to set up Economic Development Tours and meetings to highlight potential economic development opportunities in northern Manitoba communities. By offering interested business owners with a two-day program that will provide them with introductions and a better understanding of those communities, the hope is that they will be enticed to grow their businesses through trade and partnerships within Manitoba. Initial communities that will be targeted to host Trade Missions would be Churchill, Thompson/Nelson House Cree Nation and The Pas/ Opaskwayak Cree Nation. This will result in strong potential for business growth in Northern communities and employment opportunities for Northern Manitoba residents.

STATUS: APPROVED, IN PROGRESS

13: AKI Foods Inc. -  The Meechim Project ($105,000)

AKI Foods Inc., is a non-profit social enterprise that promotes food security and economic development opportunities for Indigenous communities. Their organization was established in 2015 as a sister social enterprise of AKI Energy, which itself is an award-winning non-profit social enterprise that partners with Manitoba First Nations to reduce utility bills through smart, cost-effective investments in renewable energy development. The Meechim Project originated from a collaborative partnership formed between AKI Energy and Garden Hill First Nation in 2014 to address the community’s need for an affordable, healthy food system. There are five initiatives in total involved in this project: The Meechim Healthy Food Market, the Alex Keno Memorial Farm, School-to-Farm, Farm School, and the Healthy Foodbox. As this project continues to grow and expand, AKI Foods has requested funding to help install electricity, purchase a small sawmill, increase healthy food market storage through the purchase of a fridge and freezer, as well as attract, support and retain workers.

STATUS: APPROVED, IN PROGRESS

16: Town of Churchill – Training to Employment Project ($100,000)

The community of Churchill continues to undergo significant negative social and economic challenges related to the inoperable rail line and general uncertainty of the Port of Churchill and Hudson Bay Railway. As a means of ensuring the community takes steps to mitigate against the negative outcomes, the Town of Churchill will identify employment opportunities in the immediate and long term to coordinate training to employment for unemployed and underemployed individuals. This will ensure the viability of the community and businesses as well as ensure access to a ready labour force when the community is ready to resume normal operations. The Training to Employment Project involves working with community clients and in conjunction with other community programs to ensure an integrated approach to client success.

STATUS: APPROVED, IN PROGRESS

23: Fox Lake Cree Nation Development Corp. - Ice Road Project ($180,000)

In June 2017, Fox Lake Cree Nation, Polar Industries and Remote Area Services (RAS) began planning a cat train service (using tracked vehicles pulling sleighs) to haul materials and supplies from PR 280 (Gillam, Manitoba) to Churchill, Manitoba, an approximate 300-kilometre trip each way. This plan led to two of the parties (Fox Lake CN DC and Polar Industries) agreeing to form a joint venture (JV) for the project; the JV would then enter into contracts with RAS and other third parties.

While the overall goal is to provide a desperately needed cargo service to Churchill, Fox Lake's goal for the project is to prioritize creating work and employment for local transportation companies, truck drivers, heavy equipment operators and labourers. The training provided to individuals contracted or employed for this project will be an investment in the region, its employment standards and provide these selected individuals with a skill set that can be utilized as an advantage in many different projects in the future.

Responsibilities between the three major parties have been divided as follows: Polar Industries will transport materials and supplies to the junction of PR #280 and RC60 (the Manitoba Hydro’s transmission line corridor and right of way to Churchill), and then at RC60, the materials and supplies will be cross-docked to the custom sleighs and hauled to Churchill by Fox Lake and Remote Area Services. Fox Lake Cree Nation Development Corporation's involvement in this project has assisted in the creation of sustainable local economic growth, employment and business opportunities for the Churchill region. This project will assist with operating costs incurred by Fox Lake Cree Nation's Development Corporation related to wages, rented equipment, accommodations, fuel, and maintenance to both the road and vehicles.

STATUS: APPROVED, COMPLETED

24: Manitoba Forestry Association & Frontiers School Division - Youth Career Exploration at the Manitoba Envirothon ($40,000)

The Manitoba Envirothon, a program of the Manitoba Forestry Association, is a land-based learning competition for high school students. Teams of 5 students learn about Wildlife, Aquatics, Soils, Forestry and Climate Change. This year's Envirothon will be hosted in Churchill, and is the first time the event has been run in the North. The goal is to bring youth across the province to a location they may never otherwise visit, to showcase the vastness of our province in terms of ecoregions, and to expose all youth to long-term northern opportunities. 

Career opportunities in the North are incredibly varied and stand out as unique in many ways. During the Envirothon event, Frontiers School Division will help to showcase northern career exploration, particularly in the Churchill town and area. This project will ensure youth are exposed to northern career information multiple times throughout this event. Students will have both formal and informal opportunities to engage with a large variety of local individuals, entrepreneurs, and organizations, allowing them to gain a much better perspective on what Northern Manitoba has to offer.

STATUS: APPROVED, COMPLETED

27: Gangler's North Seal River - Canoe Trail Mapping ($41,000)

Gangler's North Seal River Lodge is well-established in the sport fishing and hunting industries. In 2016, Gangler's began to expand into the eco adventure travel market. This led them to explore the viability of offering high-quality canoe trips through the North Seal River. In 2017, Travel Manitoba showed interest in the possibility of supporting this venture. This was followed by a connection to Hap Wilson, a legendary figure in Canadian canoeing who committed to working with Gangler's to map out the proposed canoe routes. 

This project will create well-planned and extensively mapped canoe routes on the North Seal River and other rivers in the area. These canoe routes will help to enhance the tourism quality in Northern Manitoba by increasing the offerings and ultimately creating a stronger tourism product where no such product existed before. Short-term economic benefits also include seasonal employment for local residents. 

STATUS: APPROVED, IN PROGRESS (EXTENDED) 

28: Merit Motion Pictures - March of the Polar Bears Film ($150,000)

Merit Motion Pictures' (MMP) latest project, "March of the Polar Bears" (National Geographic Prime Time Event - 2x1 Hour), documents the secret world of polar bears on the sea ice, following the bears through the 'winter and spring' seasons. MMP is planning to document seal hunting behaviour, mother and cubs interacting and polar bears' relationship with other fauna all through a northern and Inuit perspective.

The main focus of this project is promoting northern culture and bear-viewing tourism throughout the region. This is one of the first National Geographic shows where northern and Inuit guides will be featured prominently, making decisions on the sea ice and tracking bears. The goal is to use Churchill as the focal point of bear viewing but show that polar bears are found all through Hudson Bay at different times of the year. During their shoot, MMP will employ bear security personnel, sea ice guides, camera assistants, camp managers and additional snowmobile drivers. 

STATUS: APPROVED, IN PROGRESS

29: Flin Flon Aboriginal Friendship Centre - Restaurant Training Initiative ($105,610)

The Flin Flon Aboriginal Friendship Centre has been in existence since May of 1966. Like other Friendship Centres, they are community based and directed, seek initiatives to support quality of life, self-determined activities, learn about and maintain cultural identity, as well as promote respect and equal access to participation in society. 

This project, the Restaurant Training Centre Initiative, will integrate the practical experience of UCN's Culinary Arts Certificate Program into the Friendship Centre's current restaurant operation. The Program is a 10-month course, 30 hours per week, and food prepared by the students in the Program will be available for sale to the public. The Program will be delivered at the Flin Flon Aboriginal Friendship Centre in a dedicated classroom and use their existing commercial kitchen space. Instructional methods will include a combination of theory and practical formats appropriate to the subject matter. Students will need to meet UCN Admission requirements. 

The vision of the Restaurant Training Centre Initiative is to support economic participation and development while sustaining the Friendship Centre's core values and achieving organizational prosperity. Real time integration demonstrates skills, competencies, and explores new economic development and social enterprise opportunities for the Friendship Centre. 

STATUS: APPROVED, IN PROGRESS

30: Spirit Way & Boreal Discovery Centre - Wolf Centre of Excellence ($164,060)

A couple of years ago, Spirit Way (SW) offered to rebuild the Thompson Zoo's (now operating as the Boreal Discovery Centre) wolf area into a Wolf Centre of Excellence (WCE). The WCE is expected to be an anchor attraction within the newly transformed Boreal Discovery Centre (formerly known as Thompson Zoo) that will be complementary to their other exhibits, attract more visitors and provide new sources of revenue. In 2015, a partnership was signed with the Boreal Discovery Centre (BDC) and SW to build the Wolf Viewing and Study Centre building, which would be turned over to the BDC when completed. 

A WCE at the BDC could become a unique educational, cultural, research and tourism attraction of its kind in the world. It will provide jobs and trades training during the construction stage. The final facility will also require trained animal care, interpretive and programming staff, marketing and management staff and can draw from a local and regional job market. It will create opportunities for trappers and guides to promote and expand their livelihoods, as well as to offer wolf story telling, wolf howling, educational and cultural programming for visitors. This would create a new wolf economy in the north based on the growing interest worldwide in ecotourism. 

This project will be one piece of BDC's much larger Master Plan, and the beginning of SW's WCE building. Through this project, existing strategic plans and agreements will be reviewed, revised and finalized by SW and BDC during the visioning and business planning processes. Both groups will also take part in social enterprise development training to explore and assess revenue generation opportunities that support the social, cultural and/or environmental impacts of their work. Further, the WCE will become a reality through the development of architectural concept drawings. 

STATUS: APPROVED, IN PROGRESS

Additional Information on the Wolf Centre of Excellence: 

https://www.thompsoncitizen.net/news/thompson/spirit-way-unveils-fundraising-goal-for-wolf-centre-of-excellence-at-beerfest-1.23471932 

31: St. Paul's Anglican Church ($30,000)

St. Paul's Anglican Church has been an integral part of the community since its inception and continues to be an important religious and cultural landmark. With the exception of Fort Prince of Wales, St. Paul’s Anglican Church is the oldest structure in Churchill. Because of its rich northern history, unique construction and its northern cultural connections, St. Paul’s Anglican Church was recognized by the Province of Manitoba as a structure of historical significance. It was designated as a Provincial Heritage Building in 1996.

The majority of travelers to Churchill want some culture and history along with their polar bear and beluga whale experience. The role of St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Churchill’s early history, as well as its ongoing relevance in the community, is of great interest to visitors and something tourist operators can share beyond the wildlife. Thousands of tourists go through the church every year, and it is an important point of attraction for both tour groups and individuals.

Hudson’s Bay’s harsh climate has required extensive ongoing maintenance repairs to the Church each year. Over the past few years, the Parish of St. Paul’s has done extensive work including but not limited to: updated electrical, new storm windows, repaired and re-leaded the stain glass windows, and thorough insulation upgrades to improve the building’s energy efficiency. This project will help with the re-siding of the church building, the Church's last major upgrade to ensure the building is safe, structurally stound and preserves its historical integrity. This final upgrade will ensure that St. Paul’s Anglican Church remains a ‘must see’ spot for many years to come.

STATUS: APPROVED, AWAITING FURTHER INFORMATION 

32: Churchill Cruises ($62,000)

The Kothari Group will commence passenger cruise vessel operations to/from the Port of Churchill to/from Greenland starting in September 2019. These cruises will focus on providing the passengers with a high-quality experience onboard luxury passenger vessels to some of the most pristine and unique areas in the Canadian Arctic waters, including stops in Churchill, Nunavut and Greenland. In addition, the cruise ship will stop at Marine Wildlife Protected Areas & Migratory Bird Sanctuaries, so passengers can experience nature at its finest and get a truly unique, historical and cultural eco-tourism experience through the Churchill Hudson Bay Region.

Churchill Cruises Ltd., a project by the Kothari Group, will build on the Churchill experience presently enjoyed by tourists through enhancing the economic activity in and around the community of Churchill. Local artists making artwork, such as carvings, paintings and wall hangings will see an increase in the demand for their products. Local artists engaged in the performing arts, such as throat singing, drum dancing, etc. will also see an increase in demand for their services. There will also be increased demand for goods and services required by the cruise ship, as well as passengers onboard the vessel, such as food and drink, accommodations, transportation services, tour excursions and other related services.

STATUS: APPROVED, WITHDRAWN AFTER PARTIAL COMPLETION

33: Nanuk Operations - Nights Under Lights ($55,479.03)

Caleb Ross currently owns and operates a polar bear and wildlife guiding company called “Nanuk Operations” in Churchill, Manitoba. Nanuk Operations takes photographers, film crews and other small groups of tourists out of Town in search of polar bears and other wildlife. Guests often ask to be taken out if the aurora make an appearance. Caleb felt as though moving into northern lights season seemed to be a natural progression from what he currently offers.

Northern lights season has been growing year over year in Churchill and to take advantage of that Caleb has devised a northern lights product, “Nights Under Lights” aimed mainly at photography groups.

Once established, there are plenty of expansion possibilities for this business to grow into other seasons and uses in Churchill.

STATUS: APPROVED, COMPLETED

01b: Town of Churchill - Mould & Asbestos Training Phase II ($280,908)

This project builds on the previous project funded under CRED in which the Town of Churchill worked together with UCN to offer skills development in mould and asbestos abatement, providing employment to 11 individuals and addressing environmental liabilities existing in the former Duke of Marlborough School. 

The second phase of this project will train 10 new individuals and employee those that have previously taken training. The main project for these individuals would be to decommission the Navy Base, a multistory building that is comprise of two buildings. The project will provide employment for up to 15 people. 

STATUS: APPROVED, IN PROGRESS

41: Itsanitaq Museum ($14,273.77)

As Manitoba’s 5th oldest museum, the Itsanitaq Museum has been operating in Churchill, Manitoba for 74 years. Open year round, the museum’s clientele includes: local residents, school kids, business visitors, northern visitors and tourists from all over the world. It is an integral part of the local tourism industry and a must-see place for organized tour groups. It has been listed as a top attraction on the TripAdvisor website on numerous occasions. The museum has also played an important role in promoting Inuit culture and art, benefitting both Churchill and communities further North, including the Kivalliq district of Nunavut.

This project, which would allow for an update to the Museum’s humidity control, is critical to preserving both the Museum and its contents, allowing for the future sustainability of the Museum according to environmental standards. Across the Canadian North, there is a struggle to keep, maintain and develop museums where people of the North can see their own artifacts/art in their land. The continued operation of the Itsanitaq Museum holds obvious value for educational, historical and tourism purposes.

STATUS: APPROVED, COMPLETED

42: Tundra Inn and Restaurant - Kitchen Expansion ($75,000)

The Tundra Inn operates a hotel, Restaurant and Pub in Churchill, Manitoba. The Tundra Inn’s Restaurant and Pub are seasonal, typically opening June until late November, and have been operating for over ten years in the community. The hotel is open year-round and has been operating for over 35 years. Unfortunately a recent fire burned down Gypsy’s Bakery, another restaurant in Churchill, where a significant portion of meals for Tundra Inn’s guests were prepared. The Tundra Inn kitchen is too small to accommodate the additional volume of meals, resulting in a need to expand operations and build an additional kitchen.

The Tundra Inn and Restaurant has a small log building that will be converted into a kitchen, allowing for increased capacity, take-out, and catering options for the community and tour operators. The kitchen will be open during peak and off-season, employing three new full-time employees. This has a strong economic benefit to the tourism industry and local economy of Churchill, Manitoba.     

STATUS: APPROVED, AWAITING FURTHER INFORMATION

43: Community Futures North Central Development - Snowmobile Project Phase I ($27,000)

This project builds on Tourism North's goals, through partnerships with Travel Manitoba, Community Futures Greenstone, Community Futures Cedar Lake, and other key partners. The Northern Manitoba Tourism Strategy, developed by Tourism Manitoba, identifies "Tourism Product and Experience Development" as "high priority". Specifically, it references the fact that enhancements to tourism hub communities and to existing tourism experiences, and the creation of new market-ready tourism experiences, grows tourism in Northern Manitoba. The stakeholders of this project believe that integral to economic growth in the area is further development of a snowmobile product.

In order to develop this product, Community Futures North Central Development has proposed a one-day Summit focused on Northern Manitoba's Snowmobile Tourism Strategy. This summit would result in the development of a strategic plan going forward, and achieve the following goals:

i. Development of a mission statement and vision
ii. Facilitated SWOT Analysis/Discussion
iii. Development of strategic priorities and timelines based on priority areas
iv. A plan for base line for measurement of the economic impact over set amount of years

STATUS: APPROVED, IN PROGRESS

44: Forbes Forest Finds - Training & Expansion ($90,000)

Forbes Forest Finds (FFF) is a business located in The Pas, Manitoba. FFF has been developing for five years and has shown economic growth in all of the years since its establishment. The company has expanded from a small business selling products at local craft shows, to a well-known company selling non-timber forest products to other businesses in all corners of the world. As a non-timber forest product company, FFF honours the skills and abilities of the communities they visit to buy products from. They partner with the communities to build on their income security by purchasing thousands of dollars worth of product from trained pickers. They are able to employ individuals from many age classes as there are very few physical attributes required to produce a marketable product.

This project will continue to build on FFF's current business model, through the development of a more formal training process for potential harvesters in remote northern communities (in partnership with University College of the North). FFF also plans to build a new, larger facility which will include a training area, processing plant and shipping dock. With the addition of a facility, the company will be less impacted by varying weather conditions and will be able to process larger volumes of non-timber forest product.

STATUS: APPROVED, IN PROGRESS

48: Town of Churchill - Airport Revitalization Study ($25,000)

Ownership changes in the Hudson Bay Rain Line, the subsequent rail line repairs and the priority on reliable rail service to Churchill have once again positioned Churchill as a key Northern transportation hub, and an integral part of Canada's Arctic Policy. In order to further develop this hub strategy, re-establish Churchill as a northern resupply hub and improve overall year-round usage of the corridor, a feasibility assessment of opportunities to improve utilization of the Churchill Airport is required.

A feasibility study will be developed to assess and catalogue new economic opportunities involving the Airport, identify preliminary infrastructure requirements to support those opportunities and to understand the employment and revenue potential involved in developing this sector. The feasibility study will serve as a foundational block in the plan to restore the Churchill Corridor supply chain, and once again position Churchill to become a focal point of the northern supply chain. Multiple industries will be impacted by a sustainable growing Churchill Airport operation, both in Churchill and throughout Manitoba. 

STATUS: APPROVED, IN PROGRESS

49: Kinosao Sipi Business Development Corp. - Northern Lights Growcer ($169,940)

Under Kinosao Sipi Business Development Corporation (KSBDC), the economic development arm of Norway House Cree Nation (NHCN), a project has been initiated to improve access to fresh high-quality vegetables in Norway House and the surrounding region. This project, called the “Northern Lights Project”, is being executed with the help of Food Matters Manitoba and the BDO Canada LLP. These three organizations (KSBDC being an extension of NHCN) make up the “Northern Lights Team”.

Funding has been obtained by Food Matters Manitoba to purchase a Growcer unit – hydroponic growing system – for NHCN. NHCN administration, working alongside the BDO Canada LLP, have taken on the role of engaging and educating community members and local stores of the benefits and opportunities that will arise with the establishment of this growing system in the community. Currently, stores, and by extension people, in the Norway House region have serious logistical challenges in getting enough and affordable vegetables to market. Food is shipped over great distances by truck, rail or air and must be handled numerous times. Sometimes food becomes partially frozen or stuck due to shipping backlogs and cancellations. The overall outcome is that food is wasted, expensive, and quality is low.

The Growcer unit is a state-of-the-art farming system that combines hydroponic technology with precision climate controls to enable growing of fresh produce with ease year-round. This has previously been too expensive to be feasible with other types of lights or greenhouses. Once established, the growing system will begin paying for staff to manage the system, provide additional own source revenue towards community services and contribute to expansion of the project, leading to additional employment and opportunities for the people of the Norway House Region.

STATUS: APPROVED, IN PROGRESS

50: Paskwayak Business Development Corporation - OCN Aerospace ($91,319)

Paskwayak Business Development Corporation (PBDC), the economic development arm of Opaskwayak Cree Nation (OCN), has been working closely with OCN’s Workforce Training Team, Manitoba Aerospace Association (MAA), Boeing Canada, and Magellan Aerospace to explore the potential of a manufacturing facility in the region. Currently OCN and its surrounding region, including the Town of The Pas and the RM of Kelsey, are supported by one main industry, which is the forestry industry. With adequate forest resources becoming scarcer and further away from the processing facility within the last ten years, there have been numerous threats of closure of the paper mill, as well as a permanent closing of the sawmill operation.

The establishment of a manufacturing facility in the region will become the base for a transition from a one-industry region to a multi-industry region. This will provide more economic stability for the region as well as a wider scope of high-paying employment opportunities for skilled labour and professional services. Further, the increased economic activity generated by a manufacturing facility will create spin-off opportunities for supporting services (housing, food services, etc.). These spin-off opportunities are expected to expand as an increase in regional wealth is realized (tourism, various service industries, transportation opportunities as the region experiences an expansion in scope and breadth of its economic activities, etc.).

PBDC recently completed Phase I of this project, which involved a feasibility study with favourable results. The development of a business plan in Phase II will help OCN/PBDC to make a decision on whether to pursue Phase III of this project. While this initiative is OCN-driven and directed, the intent is to provide regional benefits that would accrue to the Town of The Pas and the RM of Kelsey through a marked increase in economic activity.

STATUS: APPROVED, IN PROGRESS

51: World Trade Centre Winnipeg - Northern Perspectives Project ($30,600)

The business and trade relationship between Manitoba and Nunavut has been in a general state of decline in recent years, in no small part due to the uncertainties and challenges related to the Churchill rail and port. Meanwhile, competition has notably increased in key areas such as shipping and logistics, coming largely from Eastern Canadian ports. This has affected businesses in Manitoba, and the Churchill region in particular.

Despite this, the regional ties and affinities between Manitoba and Nunavut, especially with Kivalliq, remain strong. With significant economic and resource development underway in Nunavut, there continues to be new potential for business and trade relationships. Further, with a new ownership group in place for the rail line and port, and a strong, positive vision for the future, the time is right for Manitoba to begin the process of rebuilding these important economic ties and re-establish Churchill as the Gateway to the Arctic.   

This project is a joint effort between World Trade Centre Winnipeg (WTCW), the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce and the Town of Churchill to work with organizers of the 2019 Northern Perspectives Conference. Spearheaded by the WTCW, this partnership’s main focus is to promote new business opportunities for Manitoba, share the vision and potential offered by renewed transportation links to Nunavut via Churchill, and to organize a business delegation with participation of Churchill region businesses in this timely conference.

STATUS: APPROVED, IN PROGRESS

54: Community Futures Greenstone - Sherridon Fur Trade Preservation ($5,690)

The Town of Sherridon has less than 100 residents, most of whom grapple with limited year-round economic opportunities. Most residents either trap or fish for a living, operate as outfitters in the tourism sector, or work as municipal council members. Many residents resort to seasonal jobs; for example, some work at the firefighter attack base that operates there in the summer, and/or with other tourism businesses in the surrounding area (e.g. Wings of Kississing).

The Town of Sherridon resides in the Community Futures (CF) Greenstone region, meaning that the CF office supports Sherridon entrepreneurs and tourism business owners, and will even attend town council meetings on occasion. CF Greenstone has made many contacts in Sherridon, including a Conservation Officer employed by Manitoba Sustainable Development. Recently, the Officer became aware that several Sherridon trappers are using old prohibited traps. He is also aware that the trappers cannot afford to purchase the new certified traps approved by the Government of Manitoba. Many of these trappers have been practicing subsistence trapping, i.e. traditional land use, for generations. For these reasons, the Officer felt conflicted – either he enforces the law by seizing their traps and therefore destroying the trappers’ livelihoods, or he turns a blind eye to the law and allows them to continue using inhumane traps.

With the financial burden of the new traps weighing on his mind, Sherridon’s local Conservation Officer reached out to the CF Greenstone office, as well as the Mayor of Sherridon, Dennis Hatch, for assistance in the matter. This concern has resulted in a partnership between Community Futures Greenstone, Kississing Development Corporation and Sherridon Community Council. Together, the partners have created a project entitled “Sherridon Fur Trade Preservation”, which would allow for the purchase of new traps and support to 20 trapline holders.

STATUS: APPROVED, IN PROGRESS

58: Town of Churchill - Social Enterprise Training & Exploration ($13,500)

Assessments undertaken as part of the Training to Employment (T2E) project have identified common barriers to employment in Churchill, and shown that those needing help with preparing for, finding and obtaining employment experience multiple barriers. Looking for successful and innovative strategies for removing those barriers, the T2E coordinator connected with Community Economic Development (CED) experts in Winnipeg. In learning about the clientele of these experts, it became clear that specific areas of Winnipeg share similar characteristics with Churchill in terms of socio-economic parameters of unemployment.

Social enterprises throughout Manitoba have developed successful approaches that address, and gradually, remove barriers to unemployment by considering the underlying factors of poverty, high unemployment and skills gaps. The goal of this project is to bring two CED experts to Churchill and explore the potential for similar approaches in Churchill. The CED experts would meet with stakeholders, assess the status quo and assist in identifying entrepreneurial opportunities that would impact both the social and the economic well-being of the community.  

STATUS: APPROVED, INITIAL STAGES

59: Town of Churchill - Driver Training Project ($11,500)

The Churchill Community Class 5 Driver Training Project (Phase 1) seeks to train and certify people who live in Churchill as driving instructors. The project is the result of conversations and discussions with employers, businesses and the general public in Churchill. Businesses have expressed their need for more employees with driver’s licences (anything from Class 5 to Class 1) and the community has identified not having access to instructors and classes as a barrier to obtaining a driver’s licence. Not having a driver’s licence is one of the main barriers to employment.

There is strong support from the community, from the town administration, and from local employers to address this challenge. Phase 2 of the Churchill Community Class 5 Driver Training Project is being negotiated with other funding sources and will see an integrated, and subsidized, high school and adult driver training program in the community.

STATUS: APPROVED, INITIAL STAGES

60: Waaka'iigan Inc. - Non-Profit Sawmill & Housing Project ($219,375)

Waaka’ iigan Inc. is a First Nation owned and operated not-for-profit company located in Garden Hill First Nation. Waaka'iigan's mission is to provide quality, local lumber for housing in their First Nation. Local wood that meets structural code requirements will be built under a new cost-effective process of logging, grading and building of houses in remote communities with local people’s skilled trades. Using local resources for housing will result in more durable and affordable houses that are culturally appropriate, providing both jobs and quality houses. This company will make immense progress in solving their housing crisis through local solutions to local needs. This project also helps to address the youth employment crisis by employing and training local labour to become highly skilled trades people.

A key component of this project's success is the sizeable investment in a labour force of 15-25 workers that started in October 2018 through a 15-month, holistic course called "Boreal Home Builders" that trains Garden Hill workers. Boreal Home Builders covers every part of a housing/logging operation to equip people to manage and maintain a sawmill and run a housing corporation going to end of December 2019. The training includes job readiness, forestry management, logging, maintaining small motors (chainsaws, forestry, sawmilling, carpentry, plumbing and house building in 2018-2019). Although a small sawmill has been operating in the community for years, the addition of a business plan and model for using lumber and wood in housing is needed to grow this into a sustainable housing corporation able to meet the needs for employment and long-term housing.

STATUS: APPROVED, INITIAL STAGES

61: Mitik 299 Corp. - Non-Profit Sawmill & Housing Project ($226,275)

Mitik 299 Corp, working closely with a similar company in Garden Hill, is a First Nation owned and operated not-for-profit company located in Wasagamack First Nation. Both First Nations struggle with similar issues when it comes to housing and unemployment, but each are separate, sovereign First Nations with slightly different needs and assets within their own communities.

Mitik's mission is to provide quality, local lumber for housing in their First Nation. Local wood that meets structural code requirements will be built under a new cost-effective process of logging, grading and building of houses in remote communities with local people’s skilled trades. Using local resources for housing will result in more durable and affordable houses that are culturally appropriate, providing both jobs and quality houses. This company will make immense progress in solving their housing crisis through local solutions to local needs. This project also helps to address the youth employment crisis by employing and training local labour to become highly skilled trades people.

A key component of this project's success is the sizeable investment in a labour force of 15-20 workers that started in October 2018 through a 15-month, holistic course called "Boreal Home Builders" that trains Wasagamack workers. Boreal Home Builders covers every part of a housing/logging operation to equip people to manage and maintain a sawmill and run a housing corporation going to end of December 2019. The training includes job readiness, forestry management, logging, maintaining small motors (chainsaws, forestry, sawmilling, carpentry, plumbing and house building in 2018-2019). Although a small sawmill has been operating in the community for years, the addition of a business plan and model for using lumber and wood in housing is needed to grow this into a sustainable housing corporation able to meet the needs for employment and long-term housing.

STATUS: APPROVED, INITIAL STAGES

62: Arctic Trading Company - Trader's Table ($25,000)

The Arctic Trading Company (ATC) has been approached by a number of tour companies to partner on a new eating establishment, which would be available for the 2019 tourist season. The loss of one of Churchills' busiest restaurants, Gypsy's Bakery, created a need for another restaurant choice for both locals and tourists. The ATC has an existing restaurant area attached to it which has not been operational for 7 years. In order to reopen the restaurant, it would require upgrades to the kitchen and dining area, as well as some re-branding. This project will help support the renovation and re-opening of ATC's restaurant, under the name Trader's Table. Trader's Table will offer new employment to at least four people, including a cook, two servers and a second kitchen hand. The restaurant will also offer portable meals available to tourists on their excursions. 

STATUS: APPROVED, INITIAL STAGES

63: World Trade Centre Winnipeg - Kivalliq Trade Show ($29,153.75)

Following the 2019 Northern Perspectives Conference, the World Trade Centre Winnipeg (WTC Winnipeg) and the Community Economic Development Fund (CEDF) have identified potential for further trade development between northern Manitoba (MB) and Nunavut (NU). The regional ties between MB and NU remain strong, while renewed transportation links to NU through Churchill have potential to provide opportunities for a greater trade relationship between the regions. 

The Kivalliq Trade Show Society will be hosting the 10th edition of the Kivalliq Trade Show (KTS) in Rankin Inlet, NU, from September 23rd to Septemeber 25th, 2019. The KTS is the major annual business event for this region of NU, and one of the best opportunities for companies to explore new business, build valuable relationships and learn about the market. Attending the 2019 KTS with a Manitoban delegation is an excellent and timely opportunity to leverage the fact that MB companies are looking to follow up on the Northern Perspectives conference held in Winnipeg in February 2019. Through a coordinated effort by WTC Winnipeg and CEDF, companies will have the opportunity to promote their products and services to the NU business community at this event. This coordination will include planning, preparation, logistical support, targeted introductions, and post-event follow-up consultations and consulting. 

STATUS: APPROVED, IN PROGRESS

64: University of Manitoba - International Glaciological Society Sea Ice Symposium ($39,200)

The International Glaciological Society (IGS) co-hosts a sea ice symposium every 5 years. The Centre for Earth Observation Science (CEOS), at the University of Manitoba, is excited to be hosting the first ever IGS sea ice conference in Canada. The 2019 event is expected to be the largest sea ice symposium ever hosted by IGS with over 350 scientific experts (from both poles), northern community members, business, policy makers and community leaders in attendance. The 2019 symposium will highlight the role of science as a decision making tool in socioeconomic policy development as it relates to northern communities. The symposium will encourage holistic discussions amongst scientists, stakeholders and policy makers regarding the most recent changes, long-term trends and variability in climate change, and how best to engage and communicate with the general public.

In order to highlight Hudson Bay as a gateway for Arctic research the University of Manitoba, the Churchill Northern Studies Centre (CNSC) and the Town of Churchill will partner together to support the IGS Sea Ice Symposium. Through this proposal the partners will promote and highlight Churchill, Manitoba as well as the use of the CNSC and the new Churchill Marine Observatory (CMO) to help facilitate Arctic and marine research, and to bring international researchers to Churchill as an emerging centre of Arctic research excellence. It will also promote and showcase Churchill after the Sea Ice Symposium with a 4-day excursion to the Town of Churchill. The excursion will bring global leaders in Arctic research from world-renowned institutions to the community of Churchill (CNSC and CMO) while immersing the participants in the town’s Arctic tourism and ecotourism activities. This project is helping to support events during the conference, as well as the excursion that follows.

STATUS: APPROVED, INITIAL STAGES

66: Community Futures Greenstone - FDC Economic Transition Plan ($30,000)

In 2016, one of the primary employers for the Flin Flon regional area (Hudbay) announced the partial closure of their business and the possible loss of 900 jobs held by local residents. In December 2018, they determined the definite closure of the business in this region, confirming a deficit of 900 jobs. Since the inception of the communities of Flin Flon, Creighton and Denare Beach, the region as largely taken for granted that the mining industry would be a continuous source of employment, tax revenue and financial support for community initiatives. There has not been a sense of urgency to develop comprehensive economic development tactics. The region has now realized it is imperative to shift focus to diversification and other opportunities, leading to the formation of the Flin Flon, Denare Beach and Creighton (FDC) Regional Economic Development Commission in 2017. 

The objective of this project is to develop foundations to implement a Regional Economic Development Analysis and to focus on Business Retention and Expansion (BRE) of the businesses in the geographic area of the City of Flin Flon, the Town of Creighton and the Northern Village of Denare Beach. The following outcomes and activities will be included in this project: 

Business retention and expansion, economic impact study, investment readiness assessments, economic development transition strategy, and a regional marketing & communications strategy. 

STATUS: APPROVED, IN PROGRESS

67: Community Futures North Central - Real Northern Experiences ($18,200)

Real Northern Experience (RNE) is an online platform that enables northern Manitobans to use their time and knowledge to share a unique northern experience with visitors to the region. It is an opportunity to generate a new source of income while showcasing the rich culture and heritage north of 53. The purpose of RNE is to provide visitors to northern Manitoba cultural enrichment, education and of course, a good time by means of product development. It allows current entrepreneurs and budding entrepreneurs an outlet to provide visitors a “real northern experience”.

Northern Manitobans will have the opportunity to create a tourism experience that they will facilitate based on their personal schedules and abilities. For example, an experienced paddler can advertise to lead a canoe trip, a local artisan can give a lesson on her craft, or a family can host visitors for a traditional meal and story-telling evening. These facilitators are considered Real Northern Experience Guides. RNE Guides come from all walks of life but one thing they have in common is their desire to share their knowledge, expertise or culture with visitors to northern Manitoba.

Because this is a new venture for the north and unlike any other tourism development project, CFNCD and its partners feel that a complete business case and feasibility study be undertaken to fully understand what is required for this project to be successful and sustainable. In addition, the project done properly, can put Northern Manitoba in a leadership role for other regions to follow. Therefore, CFNCD and its partners would like CRED to consider this project in two phases. Phase one would deliver a business case and feasibility study, thus phase two would put the business case into action based on the study’s recommendations.

STATUS: APPROVED, INITIAL STAGES

68: Tamarack Foods - Bakery and Deli Expansion ($25,000)

Tamarack Foods was originally established to provide a locally owned, affordable alternative to the Northern Store. They emphasize quality and healthy food choices. Following the loss of Churchill’s only bakery and deli, Tamarack Foods has been considering an expansion to fill this gap in the community. However, their current store does not have enough power in the building to run the equipment needed to operate bakery and deli equipment. This project will help solve this concern and assist with Tamarack Foods’ current barriers to expansion.

This project funding is conditional on the creation of two short-term construction jobs, as well as one new full-time position within Tamarack Foods. They are also predicting further job creation in there as the bakery grows in popularity. Local restaurants will have the opportunity to purchase fresh breads and desserts from the bakery, whereas currently all breads and desserts used by local restaurants are shipping frozen from Winnipeg.

STATUS: APPROVED, INITIAL STAGES 

72: Thompson Chamber of Commerce ($10,119)

Winter and cold weather testing has grown in Thompson to become a substantial industry sector for over the last 30 years. At first it was promoted and managed by individual hotels, and later, an ad hoc committee including the Thompson Chamber of Commerce. In 2003, the Thompson Chamber undertook a major feasibility study, the Pearson Report, that outlined the potential for various manufacturers that need to test their equipment for hot and cold temperature performance. This is essential before manufacturing any vehicular equipment.

Thompson Unlimited (TU), a local development corporation, took over the management of this industry for twelve years until it ceased in 2014. TU undertook strong marketing campaigns to attract testers in the vehicle, heavy equipment, aerospace and snowmobile industries. TU staff attended trade shows to promote the cold weather in northern Manitoba and the amenities that Thompson had for the testing companies. TU attracted dozens of companies to Thompson and hundreds of engineers and technicians every winter. However, since TU ceased 5 years ago, no one has been marketing to attract new business.

With the current exponential growth rate of electric vehicles (EV) around the world, Thompson can bring testing and research business back to the City. The climate is Thompson’s greatest advantage. The intent is to attract EV testing to Thompson this winter and become the lead in this explosive and very competitive new sector.

STATUS: APPROVED, IN PROGRESS

73: Arctic Gold Honey ($25,000)

Steven Larocque, owner of Arctic Gold Honey, had been involved in agriculture and beekeeping throughout the Province of Manitoba for many years. However, in 2011 he decided to introduce beekeeping to the Thompson Region on an experimental basis. With the warming environment, he believed it possible to produce honey in the North.

Currently running 20 hives just outside of Thompson, Arctic Gold Honey’s honeybees have demonstrated their ability to survive and consistently produced acceptable quality and quantities of honey in Thompson’s Northern environment. Arctic Gold Honey believes there is potential for expansion in many areas including increased honey production, value-added products and tourism.

Arctic Gold Honey has identified a phased approach to growth over the next three to five years, with larger goals identified beyond. In this initial phase, their priorities include formalizing and expanding the business operation, increasing honey production, as well as researching and testing new value-added products.

STATUS: APPROVED, INITIAL STAGES 

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