Success Stories

Incubator Open for Business

With the changes taking place in the community as a result of the downsizing and departure of Atomic Energy Canada Limited as a major employer, Pinawa saw a need and an opportunity to diversify its business community.

The project was undertaken to help address the lack of commercial space that is a critical component for realizing the community's economic development objectives.

In 1997, the School District of Whiteshell made some space available in W.B. Lewis Elementary School (which was no longer being used as a school) available to businesses. In 1998, the Pinawa Community Development Corporation (PCDC) entered into an agreement with the School District to market and manage the facility as a business centre.

In 2000, the School District decided to sell the facility, and PCDC applied for funding under the Whiteshell Community Adjustment Fund (administered by Community Futures Winnipeg River on behalf of Western Diversification) to purchase and renovate the building. The goals of the project were to ensure the long-term availability of space for current tenants, to allow new commercial space to be developed, and lay the foundation for future expansion.

The components of the project included the purchase of the building, repairs and upgrades to the facility (improving handicap access, re-tubing the boiler, duct work, expanding parking lot, etc.), and conversion of approximately 5000 square feet of space for commercial use (partitioning of space, flooring, painting, dropping ceiling, installation of lighting, heating/ ventilation/electrical work etc.).

Community Futures Winnipeg River provided assistance during the development of the feasibility study/business plan for the project and brought forward the application to the Community Adjustment Fund and the recommendation for approval to the WRB Board of Directors. PCDC was successful in obtaining $247,797 in funding representing 54 per cent of the total project cost of $455,797. The School District also transferred ownership of the land to the PCDC as an in-kind contribution to the project.

Repairs and upgrades have benefited existing tenants, have resulted in decreased maintenance costs, and have improved the marketability of the facility.

Renovations have been completed on space once occupied by the nursery school and it has been converted to two office spaces that are now leased (one office to a new high-tech company, Aquatic Life, and the other to Deep River Science Academy). The gym is in the final stages of renovations and will be completed by September 2001.

Assiniboine Community College will be leasing 2000 square feet for classroom space for their LPN training program (4 instructors and 21 students), and the North Eastman Health Association will be leasing the remaining 2000 square feet. The W.B. Lewis Business Centre is now at full capacity.

The PCDC will be assessing need with the view of possible expansion. Having title to the land allows them to consider building an addition onto the building.