Economic development of Canada’s North is a key element to Manitoba’s future prosperity. A healthy economy in northern Manitoba is vital for Canada as well. The North will require significant investment to build infrastructure and a long-term commitment from both the public and private sectors if Canada’s full potential is to be realized. For decades inadequate infrastructure has limited development of the North. For example, although the Port of Churchill offers a one to two-day advantage over other transportation routes to specific destinations, the Hudson Bay Railway has suffered derailments and maintenance disruptions for years, impacting its reputation for reliability. Without reliability the Port’s advantages and prospects are seriously blunted.
Northern development will also need new roads to service isolated mining developments. Private firms benefiting from infrastructure built for their benefit should participate in its development. Manitoba Hydro also has a stake in northern development and should be a major partner. Critical to the success of a northern development strategy is the effective integration of all modes of transportation including rail, marine, highway and air. Challenged by great distances and limited infrastructure, air transportation’s capacity to move personnel and goods in a timely manner is key to development. While contributing to the Arctic Gateway, air transportation will also be an enabler of alternate supply chains feeding the mid-continent trade corridor.
That the Province of Manitoba places a greater focus and investment on economic opportunities in Northern Manitoba.