Indian and Northern Affairs Canada

Indian and Northern Affairs Canada

November 06, 2007 17:30 ET

Government of Canada Provides Support for Key Economic Opportunities in the Northwest Territories

YELLOWKNIFE, NORTHWEST TERRITORIES--(Marketwire - Nov. 6, 2007) - The Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Metis and Non-Status Indians, today announced $5 million in funding to support initiatives for the Northwest Territories that will strengthen the local economy by improving local infrastructure and attracting more tourists to the region.

"The Government of Canada is a proud to be investing in projects that meet the needs and address the realities of Northerners," said Minister Strahl. "Our investment of $3.2 million will support new tourism initiatives that improve the local tourism industry, and our investment of $1.8 million will help to get important infrastructure studies and projects done sooner."

The Government of Canada will assist NWT Tourism to implement activities which align with the marketing priorities in the Government of the Northwest Territories' Tourism 2010 strategy, including:

- An analysis of outdoor adventure activities;

- A study of the requirements to develop international flight connections;

- An architectural and engineering plan for a tourism waterfront facility in Yellowknife; and

- The development of interpretive centres focused on bison and diamonds.

The Government of Canada will help to enable infrastructure project partners to complete required environmental and engineering studies before projects proceed to the regulatory and permit phase. Funded projects include:

- The proposed expansion of the Taltson River hydro project;

- A potential public-private approach to construction of an all-weather road from Wrigley to Tuktoyaktuk and associated installation of fibre-optic cables;

- Development of improved road access in the Tlicho Region; and

- Urban design, energy, and transportation infrastructure elements of Yellowknife's Smart Growth Redevelopment Plan.

This announcement reinforces the commitment in the recent Speech from the Throne to advance an integrated Northern Strategy focused on strengthening Canada's sovereignty, protecting our environmental heritage, promoting economic and social development, and improving and devolving governance. Today's announcement supports improving economic opportunities and helping to meet the needs of Northerners.

This release is also available in electronic format at www.ainc-inac.gc.ca

BACKGROUNDER

Indian and Northern Affairs Canada's Strategic Investments in Northern Economic Development (SINED) initiative is aimed at establishing strong foundations for economic development. The SINED initiative has two main program elements: the Targeted Investment Program, and the Innovation and Knowledge Fund. Targeted Investment Program funding is guided by a multi-year investment plan tailored to the needs of each territory, and focuses on four main investment areas: building the knowledge base, enhancing the economic infrastructure base, capacity development and economic diversification.

The overall objectives of the programs under the SINED initiative are to strengthen the sectors driving the economy, broaden the economic base of each territory by enhancing sectors that can show strong economic returns, strengthen the ability of Northerners to participate in local, national and international economic opportunities, and increase coordination among partners and programs. Funding allocations under the Targeted Investment Program are guided by multi-year investment plans tailored to the needs of each territory.

TOURISM STUDIES AND PRODUCTS

In the NWT, the selection of tourism related studies and product development is informed by the Government of the Northwest Territories' five year, $10.5 million plan entitled Tourism 2010. This plan, delivered by the NWT Tourism Association, focuses on tourism marketing, product and infrastructure development, research, and human resources planning. The plan's objectives are to expand the tourism sector and achieve sustainable long-term growth.

NWT has identified six strategic marketing investment areas to stimulate growth of the NWT tourism industry: brand management, key segment promotion, fishing and hunting revitalization, web marketing, tourism operator support, and operator readiness. Development and implementation of the strategy will increase awareness of the NWT as a tourist destination, expand visitation seasonally and geographically, encourage visitors to see more of the NWT, enhance the market readiness of NWT tourism operators and provide timely, comprehensive travel planning information to consumers. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada's investment in this project, through its Strategic Investment in Northern Economic Development (SINED), is $1.85 million over three years.

Analysis of Outdoor Adventure Activities

The Government of the Northwest Territories Department of Industry Tourism and Investment will research and analyze outdoor adventure activities such as camping, canoeing, hiking, fishing, hunting, and wildlife viewing in order to gain up-to-date information about and insight into this important market segment. Research will be conducted with those working in associated fields in the NWT and through secondary sources including the internet and service providers outside the NWT.

The results will help NWT outdoor adventure operators to develop strategies and products to meet current and projected market needs. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada's investment in this project, through Strategic Investment in Northern Economic Development (SINED), is $35,000 for one year.

International Air Travel, Tourism and Freight Opportunities Study

This three-party study will identify the opportunities associated with developing international tourism and trade routes through Yellowknife. It follows an airport assessment completed in 2001 entitled Aeronautical Market Study, Northwest Territories, and the proposal to extend the airport runway.

The study will assemble background information and quantify data, review existing leisure and freight polar routes, identify infrastructure needs, determine potential new markets and provide recommendations for new product development. The study will provide a better understanding of the opportunities that may result from runway expansion, identify new and more competitive tourisms, explore wider national and international markets, and propose improved usage and profitability for existing tourism facilities and activities. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada's investment in this project, through its Strategic Investment in Northern Economic Development (SINED), is $85,000 for one year.

Yellowknife Waterfront Facility - Frame Lake

The city of Yellowknife will be launching a Tourism Waterfront Facility project along Frame Lake as part of the Capital Area Development Scheme. The project has multiple phases and will involve a number of partners over the next three years. The long term plan is to create an outdoor public place suitable for individual activities or large group functions. The funding will be used to retain an architectural and design firm to finalize the details required to proceed with the project.

Enhancing tourism infrastructure along the Yellowknife waterfront will attract more local residents, visitors and events to the area. A new facility will increase usage of the downtown and provide economic benefits for merchants and businesses. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada's investment in this project, through its Strategic Investment in Northern Economic Development (SINED), is $225,000 over two years.

Interactive and Interpretive Diamond Display

The Northern Frontier Visitors Association will be developing an interactive and interpretive diamond display at the Northern Frontier Visitors Centre in Yellowknife featuring the story of northern diamonds from "ground to finger." Visitors will explore the history and process of diamond mining in the NWT, watch onsite diamond cutting and polishing and learn where and how to buy a northern diamond.

This display will support the development of diamond tourism in the region and further establish Yellowknife as the Diamond Capital of North America. Additional development of the secondary diamond industry will create new economic opportunities. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada's investment in this project, through its Strategic Investment in Northern Economic Development (SINED), is $470,000 over two years.

Bison Interpretive Site

The Government of the Northwest Territories Department of Industry Tourism and Investment will develop a Bison Interpretive Site. This project is a phased approach as recommended in the March 2007 Bison Interpretive Site Feasibility Study. This project supports the creation and installation of bison-related signage along NWT Highways #1 and #3, an interpretive display site near the Fort Providence junction and the potential development of bison related tourism in the area.

The signage and interpretive site display will offer residents and visitors an educational experience related to the historic, cultural and ecological importance of bison in the NWT, enhance the drive, and provide information about bison related safety matters. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada's investment in this project, through its Strategic Investment in Northern Economic Development (SINED), is $100,000 over two years.

INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS

Taltson Hydro Expansion

The Taltson Hydro Expansion Project proposes to design and install a new 36 megawatt generating station near the existing hydroelectric generating plant at Twin Gorges on the Taltson River (approximately 60 km northeast of Fort Smith, NWT). The existing Taltson power plant was built in the mid-1960s to serve the electrical requirements of the Pine Point mine and the town of Fort Smith. Today, about 50 per cent of the Taltson power plant capacity is being utilized.

This new capacity, in conjunction with a surplus of approximately 10 megawatts available from the existing plant, would provide sufficient electrical energy to meet the requirements of the NWT's diamond mining sector. The sale of this energy to the diamond mines will also require the installation of approximately 600 km of transmission lines, and associated infrastructure, running northeast from Twin Gorges and terminating at the Diavik Diamond Mine site, north of MacLeod Bay. The Government of Canada's investment in this project, through SINED, is $1.2 million over two years.

Scoping study of construction of all-weather road and installation of fibre-optic cables from Wrigley to Tuktoyaktuk

A scoping study and research and information gathering project regarding the construction of an all-weather road and installation of fibre-optic cables from Wrigley to Tuktoyaktuk, will examine the public-private partnership approach of the project as well as the socio-economic implications of the road and communications infrastructure. The study will provide governments with more information regarding the viability of road construction at this time and identify the socio-economic, educational, business and security impacts of fibre-optic or other broadband capacity. The Government of Canada's investment in this project, through SINED, is $45,338 over two years.

Tlicho Road Improvements

The proposed improvements for the Tlicho road project include: scoping and feasibility studies, preparatory engineering work, and other planning and preparation activities related to a major transportation infrastructure project. The development of improved transportation infrastructure in the Tlicho region would support resource development and associated economic growth and job opportunities, reduce the cost of mineral exploration and development, address winter road viability and improve access for individuals and businesses to goods and services. The Government of Canada's investment in this project, through SINED, is $460,000 over two years.

City of Yellowknife Smart Growth Redevelopment

The project supports a component of the comprehensive Smart Growth Redevelopment Plan for the city of Yellowknife. This project includes the development of a plan to determine the infrastructure and industrial incentives necessary to stimulate and sustain economic growth. The areas to be included in the study are land use, environment and urban design, energy and transportation infrastructure, and tourism, recreational and cultural development. The Government of Canada's investment in this project, through SINED, is $120,000 over two years.

Contact Information

  • Office of the Honourable Chuck Strahl
    Minister's Office
    Philippe Mailhot
    Press Secretary
    819-997-0002
    or
    Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development,
    NWT Region
    Deb Bain
    Communications Officer
    867-669-2579
    or
    Indian and Northern Affairs Canada
    Media Relations
    819-953-1160