News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

August 10, 2016

Manitoba's New Government to Support Construction of Churchill Marine Observatory

State-of-the-art Facility will Create Jobs, Strengthen Local Economy: Wishart

Manitoba’s new government will provide up to $9 million to the University of Manitoba to support the construction of a new marine observatory in Churchill, Education and Training Minister Ian Wishart announced today.

“This project is an important part of our vision for a strong, diversified northern economy,” said Wishart.  “The Churchill Marine Observatory will create up to 21 permanent jobs, boost tourism and transportation in the region and enhance Manitoba and Canada’s reputation as a world leader in Arctic research.  In the short term, it will benefit the local economy by creating construction jobs.”

Once completed, the Churchill Marine Observatory will serve as a year-round hub for cutting-edge scientific research and technology development in the North, which will support ongoing environmentally responsible economic development in the North, Wishart said.

The minister noted the new state-of-the-art facility will also enhance Canada’s ability to monitor variability and change in nature, and ensure that governments and industry have the information needed to plan for and respond to economic development pressures throughout the Arctic.

“The University of Manitoba has recognized Arctic research as the one of the three signature research areas based on its global leadership,” said Digvir Jayas, vice-president (research and international) for the University of Manitoba.  “The Churchill Marine Observatory will position Canada as a global leader of research and technological development in the areas of detection, impacts and mitigation of oil and contaminant spills in sea-ice covered waters.  The research results will be adaptable to real-world scenarios in a variety of Arctic environments.”

Approximately 80 academics and students from the University of Manitoba and other universities in Canada, the United States and Europe are expected to visit the facility to conduct research each year and the facility will be available to industrial partners or other international institutes for research for approximately three weeks annually.

The minister noted these visitors will make use of local amenities such as hotels, restaurants and transportation (ground and air), providing support to the local economy.

“Our government will soon introduce a strategy that will focus on the north as a region with unique economic and social factors,” said Wishart.  “Through diversification and strengthening linkages between communities, we will work together to build a northern economy that is dynamic and resilient, like the people who call the region their home.”
Manitoba’s northern economy relies significantly on ecotourism.  The Churchill Marine Observatory will periodically open for tours and will add an exciting new attraction to the ecotourism landscape, the minister said.

“Manitoba’s north holds so much untapped potential,” said Wishart.  “There is tremendous opportunity to grow tourism in the north and this facility will be an important part of the region for years to come.”

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