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Manitoba Government Begins Consultations Focused on Northern Development
July 22, 2015
`Opportunities North’ Seeks Advice from First Nations, Métis, Communities, Other Northern Leaders: Minister Robinson
CHURCHILL—The Manitoba government is planning a series of consultations to create a comprehensive and inclusive strategy for economic development in the north, Aboriginal and Northern Affairs Minister Eric Robinson announced here today while attending the annual general meeting of the Hudson’s Bay Route Association.
“Our government is committed to economic growth, infrastructure and job creation for the north, which we recognize as a region that holds huge opportunity,” said Minister Robinson. “The Opportunities North framework will ensure Manitobans have an avenue to share their vision for a sustainable and prosperous future. I invite all northern Manitobans to engage with this process.”
Mayors, regional chiefs, Métis and Northern Association of Community Council representatives, as well as other northern leaders and residents, will be consulted about how development should occur in the region, focusing on economic diversity, sustainability, alignment with Indigenous and northern community values and reducing economic disparity.
“This represents a new stage in northern development, building on the past strategies but enhanced by regional consultation,” Mayor Michael Spence, Town of Churchill. “Residents of Churchill, like other northern communities, will benefit from getting involved in this process.”
A series of regional and community forums will be scheduled over the next several months. In addition, there will be an opportunity to provide comments online via a web survey as well as email. Opportunities North will also accept phone messages and where possible will follow up with individuals requesting the opportunity for input.
Gordon Wakeling, former CEO of the Communities Economic Development Fund (CEDF), and long-time northern resident has been retained to facilitate this multifaceted process and will compile the results into a report to be presented to government by the end of 2015, Minister Robinson said. To learn more about this process, find an upcoming consultation, or provide feedback, visit www.steadygrowth.ca/english/opportunitiesnorth/or call 1-800-282-8069 ext. 5236.
Minister Robinson noted this work builds on the achievements of the Northern Development Strategy, which was put in place in 2000 and has resulted in:
- the Churchill Marine Observatory,
- the ongoing work of the Hudson Bay Regional Roundtable,
- the Northern Mining Academy in Flin Flon,
- the establishment of the University College of the North,
- historic investment in northern roads and highways,
- improvements to hospitals and personal care homes,
- new CancerCare hubs in northern Manitoba,
- the new Wuskwatim Generating Station,
- ongoing construction of the Keeyask Generating Station, and
- the East Side Road Transportation Initiative.
“Northern Manitoba is home to a young and growing population, and we are at the start of an unprecedented level of investment and development,” Minister Robinson said. “This is the time to ensure long-term projects are sustainable, respectful to the environment and have a lasting impact on our future.”
The minister noted results of the in-person and online consultations will be made public as Opportunities North is developed and implemented.
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