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  #141  
Old Posted Apr 16, 2009, 4:05 PM
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Test centre for Thompson
Cold weather engine facility will be 'globally unique'

By: Martin Cash

A $40-million cold weather aerospace engine testing and research facility in Thompson -- almost a decade in the planning -- is getting the green light.

The Canadian Environmental Test Research and Educational Centre is to be unveiled today in the northern Manitoba city by Premier Gary Doer, Manitoba senior federal cabinet minister Vic Toews and representatives of a private-sector consortium who are all part of a public-private structure that will own and run the facility.

Sources say global aerospace engine makers Rolls-Royce and Pratt & Whitney are part of the ownership consortium along with Ottawa-based MDS Aero Support Corp., designers of the facility.

"It will be globally unique on the day it begins," the source said. "It will be the only facility in the world capable of handling the biggest of the engines."

The National Research Council, a leader in icing certification testing for some time, has had significant involvement in the project. The NRC has been working with MDS for several years and the two completed a design for the facility in 2005.

In addition to commercial product testing and development, there is expected to be a substantial research and educational component to the centre.

Construction at a location just south of Thompson is to begin this spring. The original cost of setting it up is about $40 million, but industry officials say they believe that over time an additional $40 million will be invested.

It is expected to pump $15 million to $16 million in operational expenditures annually into the region in addition to all of the research programs. Sources couldn't disclose the number of people the centre would employ.

The federal government is investing $13.4 million in the centre with funding coming from the NRC and Western Economic Diversification.

Vic Toews, president of the Treasury Board, said in an email exchange on Wednesday, "Our government is proud to be investing in the largest, and most advanced, cold weather testing and research facility in the world. A facility of this magnitude will be a northern Canadian flagship centre of excellence that will receive global recognition and usage, helping to attract and retain students, researchers, and industry so they can conduct leading-edge aerospace research right here in Thompson."

A Manitoba aerospace industry official said, "No question, what is being done is big-league stuff."

Over the years, other northern Canadian locales were being considered for the test centre including Cold Lake, Alta., Chapais and Fermont, Que., and Wabush, Nfld.

But Thompson has had a long history as a centre for cold weather testing for the automotive industry with most of the major automobile manufacturers, Ford and Honda in particular, testing cars in Thompson for many years.

Thompson Mayor Tim Johnston said, "I think it reaffirms Thompson's position on an international level as a testing centre."

He said substantial investment by the provincial and federal governments and the corporate sector sends a good message to young people in the north.

"It says to the kids throughout the north that despite what you may believe in terms of where you are located we now have this new connection to the world," he said.

martin.cash@freepress.mb.ca
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  #142  
Old Posted Apr 16, 2009, 4:26 PM
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good for thompson
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  #143  
Old Posted Apr 16, 2009, 4:34 PM
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I'm not sure where the people working there will live given that Thompson is full. I mean, it's basically doubled in size in just a couple of years.
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  #144  
Old Posted Apr 16, 2009, 5:31 PM
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good point perhaps they should build it in lynn lake or leaf rapids
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  #145  
Old Posted Apr 16, 2009, 6:12 PM
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lol, along with UCN right?

Thompson is already a test center for some automotive companies, so why not for this? All the more reason a developer should get in there and build some housing (critical mass, no?).
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  #146  
Old Posted Apr 16, 2009, 6:55 PM
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What is the estimated population of Thompson. It has been stagnant around 13500 to 14500 or so for the last few decades. I doubt it has doubled in size in the last few years.
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  #147  
Old Posted Apr 16, 2009, 7:10 PM
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What is the estimated population of Thompson. It has been stagnant around 13500 to 14500 or so for the last few decades. I doubt it has doubled in size in the last few years.
Last I hear, it's around 18 000 - 24 000.
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  #148  
Old Posted Apr 16, 2009, 7:17 PM
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If that is a current - and a valid estimate, then I am shocked :O
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  #149  
Old Posted Apr 16, 2009, 7:21 PM
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If that is a current - and a valid estimate, then I am shocked :O
I don't remember where I read it. between 2006 and early 2008 it increased by about 5000....and as far as I know, kept going until it couldn't hold anymore people.
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  #150  
Old Posted Apr 16, 2009, 7:25 PM
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The reason for the housing shortage is a population explosion fuelled by recent projects like the expansion of the Vale Inco. nickel mine and the Wuskwatim Hydro project.

Recent census figures show a total of 13,000 Thompson residents, but the actual number is believed to be closer to 18,000.

Job boom is a housing bust for Manitoba city
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  #151  
Old Posted Apr 16, 2009, 7:32 PM
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For a while I thought that Steinbach was the new third largest. Great news for Thompson.
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  #152  
Old Posted Apr 16, 2009, 10:50 PM
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Thompson has been the third largest since 1972, as far as I know.

A good trivia question would be what was the third-largest prior to 1972?
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  #153  
Old Posted Apr 16, 2009, 10:59 PM
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I'm guessing it's somewhat of a "trick" question, given that the City of Winnipeg Act came into affect that year?
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  #154  
Old Posted Apr 17, 2009, 12:25 AM
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I'm guessing it's somewhat of a "trick" question, given that the City of Winnipeg Act came into affect that year?
maybe...
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  #155  
Old Posted Apr 17, 2009, 3:32 AM
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st vital
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  #156  
Old Posted Apr 24, 2009, 8:54 AM
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Sask. a high-energy province
Poised to overtake Alberta as Canada's top producer
By Bruce Johnstone, Saskatchewan News Network April 23, 2009

Saskatchewan could become North America's energy powerhouse, thanks to its 'huge' heavy oil resource, the Bakken light oil play and large-scale coal, oil shale and other unconventional energy sources, the Saskatchewan Oil and Gas Forum was told Thursday.

"Saskatchewan could become the No. 1 oil and gas producer in the country," Quinton Hardage of North Rim Exploration Ltd. told delegates at the two-day forum at the Delta Regina.

All that's needed is billions of dollars of investment in technology and infrastructure by multinational energy companies with deep pockets, he added.

Heavy oil presents challenges

Since 2005, Saskatchewan has surpassed Alberta in terms of average oil well productivity and could soon surpass our neighbour to the west in terms of conventional oil production, said the Saskatoon-based geological engineer.

Hardage's optimism is based on a number of strengths Saskatchewan has in its fossil fuel resources, the biggest one being heavy oil.

With more than 21 billion barrels of oil in place, the province's heavy oil resource is considered the largest in the province and the one with the greatest potential for development.

But the viscous heavy crude located mainly in the Lloydminster and Kindersley areas is hard to produce and requires significant upgrading through enhanced oil recovery (EOR) techniques, such as steam or fireflooding, or chemical injection.

Similarly, light oil resources, such as the deeper Bakken formation in the southeast, require horizontal drilling and fracturing techniques to increase recovery rates by 20 per cent.

Hardage said the Bakken deposit is a "major, world-class oil resource," with an estimated 100 to 400 billion barrels of oil -- roughly one quarter of which is located in Saskatchewan. "The Bakken should become Saskatchewan's primary source of conventional light oil production for the next decade," he said.

Mature light oil fields, such as in Weyburn and Midale, are using CO2 injection to boost recovery rates above 15 per cent. From 2000 to 2006, seven million tonnes of CO2 were injected into the Weyburn-Midale field, with each tonne producing three to four barrels of oil.

Deep formations

Bitumen or super-heavy oil is found in the northwest, but in relatively deep formations, requiring 'in situ' or in place recovery, rather than surface mining as in Alberta.

"With proper infrastructure and enhanced recovery investments, Saskatchewan's oil production could increase dramatically from commercialization of northwest Saskatchewan's bitumen resource," said Hardage.

He said "cross-applications" of energy technologies hold perhaps the most promise for Saskatchewan's energy future.

Captured CO2 from coal-burning thermal generating stations could be used for enhanced oil recovery production. Potash mines could be powered by nearby coal resources, with captured CO2 stored or sold to oil and gas companies.

Clean coal technology, such as carbon capture and storage (CCS), and coal-to-liquid technologies, such as coal liquefaction, and coal gasification, provide the greatest potential for the province.

"As oil and gas prices rise over the next few decades, Saskatchewan's resources will become increasingly attractive on a global level," said Hardage.

© Copyright (c) The Star Phoenix

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  #157  
Old Posted Apr 24, 2009, 12:22 PM
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st vital
St. Boniface, I believe. St. James-Assiniboia would have been second, Brandon fourth and St. Vital fifth (would need to check the last two).
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  #158  
Old Posted Apr 27, 2009, 7:09 PM
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Lake Manitoba Narrows resort to be developed
By SUN MEDIA

Last Updated: 26th April 2009, 3:13am

Manitoba's "best kept secret" is about to be revealed.

The Narrows will have a major resort development in the next few years as Chad Olafson, a resident who has lived in the region his whole life, lays the groundwork for a massive, $127-million hotel and waterpark complex for the area.

The Narrows West Hotel and water park will include a 198-room hotel and conference centre complete with two dining rooms, built within an 18-hole golf course that is currently under construction. A 32,500-sq.-ft. water park is also planned.

Olafson and his family have already put their stamp on The Narrows -- where Lake Manitoba narrows in the middle -- with a lodge and chalet complex off Highway 68, where a bridge crosses Lake Manitoba. He is also responsible for bringing outdoor lovers to the area with his growing cottage lot development.

"I thought, what was happening here?" he said, after selling 86 lots one summer. "So I bought more property and it was a pretty big undertaking, 330 lots, but the first (venture) went so well that I felt it was worth the risk."

WORTH GAMBLE

It was worth the gamble, especially after hundreds of cottagers from Alberta started gobbling up the spaces.

"There was one going every day," Olafson, 33, said. "And what really motivated me to do the hotel project was what people were saying to me -- I'd take them out on the lake and they couldn't believe that nothing was going on here."

Olafson said people were constantly telling him he didn't realize just how special The Narrows is.

"I was taking the area for granted, and I think Manitobans take this area for granted," he said. "Everyone talks about Lake Winnipeg and the Whiteshell, but no one really looks at Lake Manitoba."

Open houses regarding the resort development are scheduled to start May 4 in Winnipeg, from noon to 9 p.m. at the Narrows West showroom at 924 St. James St.

Following a large site preparation this summer and fall, Olafson said construction on the year-round resort is expected to begin in the spring of 2010, with completion set for late 2011 or early 2012.
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  #159  
Old Posted Apr 28, 2009, 6:40 PM
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Fixing Up The Fort
CJOB News Team reporting
4/28/2009

The Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site is getting some attention. The Federal government is spending 3.8 million dollars on a number of initiatives at the fort. 1.6-million is going towards parking lot improvements. 2.2 million will upgrade the facility's water and wastewater infrastructure.
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  #160  
Old Posted May 1, 2009, 3:58 PM
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All-weather road set for east side of lake
Construction on first 90 km to start this year

By: Bruce Owen

The province and First Nations groups took the first step Thursday on an ambitious plan to build an all-weather road system through a wilderness area the size of England on the east side of Lake Winnipeg.

The huge area is home to about 22 communities -- many of which are the most isolated in the country. The people who live there have waited more than a decade for a more reliable and economical way to travel other than winter roads and aircraft.

"If they can build Confederation Bridge over the ocean we can build this," Oxford House Bunibonibee Cree Nation Chief Bailey Colon said. "There's no reason it can't be done."

Construction of the road up the east side of Lake Winnipeg will start this year with the upgrade of Rice River Road from Hollow Water to Bloodvein about 90 kilometres to the north.

The next stage will extend the route further north to Berens River by 2013.

What happens next is up to First Nations and the Manitoba Floodway Authority (MFA), which will be given legislative blessing to move from upgrading the floodway to managing construction of the road system. Legislation was introduced Thursday.

"The residents cannot be asked to wait any longer," MFA chief executive officer Ernie Gilroy said, adding many of the communities are socially and economically disadvantaged.

Infrastructure Minister Ron Lemieux said consultations are already underway to select the best routes which will in time connect Little Grand Rapids to the east and Island Lake to the north with other communities.

"Communities will be consulted on the final route," Colon added. "That will be written in stone."

The province has budgeted $27 million towards the early stages of the project and expects that costs will escalate as the road pushes through swampy terrain and bridges have to be built over rivers.

Lemieux said the big question is whether Ottawa will contribute funding. "Is the federal government going to be a partner with us?" he said.

He and Culture, Heritage and Tourism Minister Eric Robinson said the road system will also open up the area for aboriginal-led development such as in mining and tourism.

Many of the communities are already connected by an extensive winter road system, but Colon said that system of trucking in goods like fuel and groceries is getting more expensive and less dependable with climate change and shorter winters. In milder winter goods have to be flown, which is extremely costly.

Robinson, the area's MLA, said comparisons will be wrongly made by critics that if the province is allowing roads to be built, why doesn't it allow a new hydro-electric transmission line be built down the east side of the lake. The Doer government has picked the more costly option to build the massive line called BiPole III down the west side of the province in a bid to preserve the boreal forest as an United Nations for world heritage site.

Robinson and Lemieux said a hydro line does not provide any permanent benefit to the people in the area, including electricity, while a road allows them easier access to go shopping or make doctor's appointment.

"This region is probably the most isolated and most costly in terms of food," Robinson said.

Late last year the province introduced legislation giving the region's bands unprecedented power to plan and manage their traditional lands. It would specify what kind of development -- roads, logging, mining, lodges -- can go on what land and what areas should remain untouched.

bruce.owen@freepress.mb.ca
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