My Take on Snow Lake

Oldest Snow Laker's birthday just one of many noteworthy events

Every once in a while there are a number of Snow Lake-related developments that advance at the same time. Such is the case in the past several weeks. I have attempted to encapsulate them all in the following column. This roundup of sorts begins with news several weeks back that BacTech Environmental's CEO Ross Orr has advised the Town of Snow Lake that there is a low probability of them establishing a business in the community. As some will recall, back in April 2011 the Manitoba provincial government awarded BacTech with a contract to remediate the former Nor-Acme Gold Mine arsenopyrite stockpile. After negotiation of an agreement with the government, BacTech proposed a solely funded approach to the cleanup. Through their bio-oxidation technology they were to recover (as their own) all payable metals from the stockpile, while treating the contained arsenic. No word as yet of what will result from this announcement.

Other business news with a connection to Snow Lake saw activist hedge fund Casablanca Capital recently succeed in gaining control of the Cliffs Resources' board at the company's annual meeting. Six of the 11 board members elected were nominated by Casablanca, a minority shareholder with a 5.2 per cent interest in Cliffs. One of their nominees has taken over from (former New Britannia Mine general manager) Gary Halverson as the company's new chairman, president and CEO. It was reported that Halverson is entitled to $11 million in severance under change of control provisions in the company's previously adopted incentive equity plan.

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Something else quite noteworthy, but from a cheerier aspect was the fact that Snow Lake's eldest resident, Pearl Doak, celebrated her 95th birthday on Aug. 18. Mrs. Doak's family and friends gathered with her at the Diamond Willow Inn where they enjoyed supper, conversation, and cake and ended the day as she started it ... looking not a day over 65!

In a news release dated Aug. 12, Captain Steve Parker, a public affairs representative with the 4th Canadian Ranger Patrol Group, advised that the 4th Canadian Ranger Patrol Group Junior Canadian Rangers (JCR) held an enhanced training session at the Vernon Army Cadet Summer Training Centre in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia.

Seventeen-year-old Cole Dunbar, son of Larry and Olinda Dunbar of Snow Lake, was chosen as one of 30 participants from across Canada to attend due to his exceptional community leadership and commitment to the Junior Ranger program. JCR Dunbar participated in various activities including leadership development training, and completed a four-day circuit of living on the land using canoes, mountain bikes, ATVs, and hiking. He was excited to be chosen for national leader and expressed that those just starting out in the JCR program should be patient as the older they get, the more amazing the opportunities.

In a mid-August news release, the government of Manitoba announced that a former resident of Snow Lake, Scott Wishart, was presented with the first ever Minister's Community Service Award for Wildland Fire Fighter of the Year. The award was conceived along with a Minister's Conservation Officer Community Service Award to honour public service efforts both on and off the job. The award was presented to Wishart by Conservation and Water Stewardship Minister Gord Mackintosh at an awards ceremony at the legislative building on Aug. 19. Wishart, who lived in Snow Lake as a child, is a seasonal fire ranger in Cormorant.

A bit of local news that many considered sad was the reality that the Snow Lake Elks are in the process of selling/have sold their Elks Hall. Apparently, over the years the hall has cost up to $10,000 annually to keep in good repair. With a decline in rentals and an increase in maintenance costs, the club found itself unable to keep operating on a loss basis every year. They will, however, continue to meet monthly as a club and take part in sponsorship work within Snow Lake. The Elks have been a service club in the community of Snow Lake for over 50 years.

Early this year I had a young lady named Carrie Wilcox contact the Underground Press about the FemNorthNet project. She was working as a student researcher at the time and her main task was to gather info around the strengths and challenges in various northern communities. As editor of the community's newspaper, I provided her with a bit of information regarding Snow Lake.

Ms. Wilcox recently contacted me again advising that she used some of what I provided to her in a few of her summary reports. She noted that her placement with FemNorthNet had finished; however, they offered her a position as a research assistant.

With the FemNorthNet project now into the interview stage, the group is recruiting women from northern communities in the effort to document the real-life experience of living in the north. The group is now interested in informing the area of what it is they are doing and would like to give women a chance to take part.

The FemNorthNet project's purpose is to learn from women's experiences of community transformations as a result of economic restructuring, with a focus on the theme of migration, immigration, and mobility. The point of their research is to focus on economic development in the north, and its impact on women, by discussing the similarities and differences among and between different groups of women in the north. "In short, we want to understand the experiences of women in Canada's North with respect to economic restructuring or changes in their communities," their literature states. "This includes the impact of new economic and industrial activity on communities, and the impact of population changes."

It is anticipated that the research findings will enable the community to identify needs and responses that will benefit their entire public, as well as other northern communities. Their web address is: http://www.criaw-icref.ca/femnorthnet

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