Recreational and cultural facilities in northern and remote Manitoba communities got a boost from the provincial governments Community Places Program – North (CPPN) on Feb. 13, receiving grants worth more than $667,000 for construction and upgrading of everything from hockey rinks and skateparks to youth centres and a greenhouse irrigation system.
Berens River First Nation received the maximum funding amount of $75,000 for the construction of a skatepark, while several other projects received in excess of $60,000, including an outdoor hockey rink at War Lake First Nation in Ilford, which received $65,000, the development of an outdoor rink in Manto Sipi Cree Nation in Gods River, which got $60,800, and the Kinosao-Sipi First Nation Multiplex at Norway House Cree Nation, which received $60,000 for upgrading its ice rink.
Also qualifying for grants were arenas at Gods Lake Narrows First Nation and Wasagamack First Nation, in Snow Lake, at St. Theresa Point First Nation, at Opaskwayak Cree Nation and in Lynn Lake. Gods Lake Narrows First Nation received $59,000 for structural repairs to its arena, while the Town of Snow Lake received $48,000 to repair the roof of the community’s arena. Grants of $50,000, $37,186 and $33,000 go to Wasgamack First Nation, St. Theresa Point First Nation and Opaskwayak Cree Nation for arena renovations, while the Town of Lynn Lake got a $31,750 grant for arena improvements and enhancements.
Other projects being funded through the CPPN program include upgrades to the Nelson House Education Authority’s gym and a community greenhouse irrigation system for the Leaf Rapids Education Centre. Those grants were for $26,487 and $6,774 respectively. The Cranberry Portage Heritage Museum Corp. also got a $25,000 grant for the second phase of its museum building restoration.
“Our government believes that families living in northern and remote communities should have access to the same kinds of recreation opportunities as those in the south,” said Premier Greg Selinger, who announced the grant recipients at Opaskwayak Cree Nation, while Eric Robinson, minister of aboriginal and northern affairs, said the 17 projects receiving funding would improve the quality of life “by providing families with great places to gather, learn and play.”
The CPPN allows organizations in communities north of the 53rd parallel, with the exception of Thompson, Flin Flon and The Pas, as well as winter-road accessible communities further south to apply for up to 100 per cent of their project costs to a maximum of $75,000.
It was created last October to address the challenges faced by northern and winter road communities with a short window to transport building materials and shorter construction seasons than in the province’s south. It complements the Community Places Program (CPP), a similar funding initiative that allows the larger centres of Thompson, The Pas and Flin Flon to apply for grants.
The program is expected to provide $2 million for projects in northern and remote communities over three years. Unlike other infrastructure investment programs, the CPPN does not require recipient organizations to match the grant funding with money of their own.