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New Corporation would Spur Economic Growth, Boost Trade Through Churchill: Minister Ashton

November 21, 2013

Non-government Agency Designed to Attract Investment, Co-ordinate Development

The Manitoba government has introduced legislation that would create Churchill Arctic Port Canada Inc., a non-government agency, to develop long-term economic opportunities, spur job creation and ensure the viability of the Churchill gateway system, Infrastructure and Transportation Minister Steve Ashton said today.

“The new corporation will attract and co-ordinate investment linked to the Port of Churchill, support research, planning and partnership development,” said Minister Ashton, who introduced the legislation today.  “We see Churchill Arctic Port Canada playing a vital role similar to CentrePort Canada in terms of promotion and development for the benefit of users, investors and owners, while promoting Churchill around the world.”

The concept of such an agency in the Port of Churchill was first raised by the Canada-Manitoba Task Force on the Future of Churchill.  The task force suggested a more inclusive governance model could enable the port to handle multiple commodities with multiple shippers.

“The Port of Churchill has always been important to our economy and is poised to play an even bigger role in the future of this province,” said Dr. Lloyd Axworthy, president of the University of Winnipeg and chair of the board of directors of the Churchill Gateway Development Corporation, which will help in the creation of the new agency.  “By working together, we can establish a solid business foundation and new sources of investment that will establish the port as a vital link between Manitoba and growing markets overseas.”

Churchill Arctic Port Canada would be governed by a board of directors, which will determine how best to achieve the corporation’s mandate.  The province will consult with stakeholders, including northern Manitoba communities, First Nations and businesses, to put the board of Churchill Arctic Port Canada in place quickly, the minister said.

“CentrePort Canada supports the creation of Churchill Arctic Port Canada Inc., which will spur development around the Port of Churchill in a focused way.  The port represents an important node for accessing the Arctic gateway and enhancing its connections to CentrePort will lead to more opportunities, investment and jobs for our communities,” said Diane Gray, president and CEO, CentrePort Canada Inc.

The Churchill gateway system is an important asset in northern Manitoba, generating employment and contributing to economic growth for Manitobans.  Several communities rely on the transportation system as their only surface-based link to the global economy.  Manitoba’s vision is to position it to be a key Arctic gateway to derive economic activity, jobs and growth for the Hudson Bay region, said Minister Ashton.

“The port proudly serves as one of our community’s economic pillars and we are pleased to see the creation of this broad-based agency that will lead the way in creating not only a brighter economic future for our community, but for our province, our region and our country, and we are excited to be moving in this direction,” said Churchill Mayor Michael Spence.

The Port of Churchill is located on the west coast of Hudson Bay with shorter shipping distances and times to many parts of Europe, Russia and Asia.  The proximity of the port to the Arctic region allows Churchill to act as an efficient shipping hub for many Arctic communities and resource developments.  The port also provides unique potential for the export and import of manufactured and resource‑based products in addition to the grain and other agricultural products already exported through Churchill.

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