The Pas Local News Archives for 2022-08

Parks Season Continues in Both Manitoba and Saskatchewan

The Manitoba government is once again providing free entry to provincial parks over the Labor Day long weekend.  Vehicle permits are not required to visit provincial parks from this Friday to Monday, however regular fees still apply for provincial campgrounds.  Individuals who want to camp can check site availability and make reservations through the Parks Reservation Service at www.manitobaparks.com or call 1-888-482-2267.  Several provincial park campsites, cabins and yurts remain open through the fall allowing campers to stay as late as Thanksgiving.

              The Saskatchewan government says don’t pack away the camping gear just yet.  Campsites are available to be reserved online until September 30th in nearly all provincial parks with full services and amenities available. Parks Minister Laura Ross notes with a number of exciting special events taking place it’s a great opportunity to get out to a park, take in an activity or two and experience the beauty of fall in Saskatchewan parks.  To book fall camping and to pre-register for fall special events visit http://parks.saskatchewan.ca.

Its Back to School in Creighton Tomorrow

Students from Creighton Community School are getting ready to go back to school tomorrow.  Principal Patty Korchinski explains opening day…..

 

“The grade one to twelve students start on September 1st.  They’ll all go to their home rooms and get their timetables and meet their teachers.  Our Pre-K and kindergarten students should have messaging from our teachers telling them when to come.  They’ll have a soft start coming in next week and we just get rolling on Thursday.”

 

              If you need more information you can call the school at 306-688-5138 or check their Facebook page and Instagram account.

Improvements are Coming to Northern Provincial Parks

The Manitoba government is investing 1.1 million dollars from the Provincial Parks Endowment Fund to support park enhancements across the province. In the north accessibility improvements including washrooms, building access and picnic tables are taking place at Clearwater Lake, Paint Lake, Pisew Falls and Wekusko Falls.  Beach improvements include picnic shelters and washrooms at Bakers Narrows Wekusko Falls and boat launch upgrades at Bakers Narrows, Clearwater Lake, Moose Lake and Grass River. Trail upgrades including signs, non-modern washrooms and bridge boardwalk repairs will take place at Clearwater Lake and Moose Lake.

            Launched in 2021 with an initial investment of 20 million dollars the Park Endowment Fund is expected to generate approximately one million dollars per year to enhance visitor experiences at Manitoba’s provincial parks.  Priorities for the fund are determined through a process involving engagement of citizens and stakeholders.

A 45 Million Dollar Environment Protection Project in Northern Manitoba Has Been Completed

As part of the Manitoba government’s commitment to protect the environment and expedite work to clean up orphaned and abandoned mine sites the 45 million dollars multi-year remediation project at the Ruttan Mine is now complete.

         The mine, located near Leaf Rapids, has been closed since 2002. Remediation work began in 2006 and diverts clean water away from tailings and diverts impacted water to an open collection pit so contaminants can be removed before the water is discharged. The work also included covering exposed materials in tailings management areas with clay, peat, and grass to reduce the risk of contaminants entering the air and water. The province will continue to treat water and monitor the site to ensure environmental standards are maintained at this location.

          Environment Minister Jeff Wharton noted the government has made a strong commitment to expedite the cleanup of orphaned and abandoned mine sites to help protect our environment and the completion of this major initiative at the Ruttan Mine is another significant step toward that goal.  He added at its peak this multi-year project at the Ruttan Mine created more than 50 local jobs in northern Manitoba.

RCMP Calls for Service in Northern Manitoba Were Down Ten Percent in July Over July Last Year

RCMP report during July 2022 Manitoba North District reported decreases in all occurrence groups except crimes against property over July 2021.  Common police activities overall decreased 26 percent from 1107 to 822 with decreases in all sub-categories.  The largest decrease was in the breach of peace sub-category where occurrences were down from 530 to 359.  Persons reported missing also decreased from 235 to 164.

            Crimes against persons decreased from 1212 to 1020 with the largest decrease in sexual offenses down from 74 to 37 and assaults decreased from 945 to 811. Crimes against property increased from 1098 to 1386 with an increase in mischief occurrences from 824 to 1094 and theft over five thousand dollars increased from 25 to 35 occurrences.  And drug enforcement occurrences were down from 57 to 49 with possession down from 14 to 6.

COVID-19 Numbers are Both Up And Down in Manitoba

Manitoba public health reported 473 laboratory confirmed cases of COVID-19 for the week of August 14th to 20th an increase from 455 the previous week.  Winnipeg reported 195 new cases followed by the Northern health region with 93 down from 103 the previous week.  The volume of lab tests decreased to on average 324 people tested per day compared to 326 the previous week with a test positivity rate of 23.9 percent an increase from 23.8 percent in the previous week.  There were 60 hospital admissions down from 72 and 8 ICU admissions down from 19 the previous week.

              Manitoba health is advising that all children aged 5 to 11 can now receive a booster dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine especially children with an underlying medical condition and there should be a minimum six month interval between the child’s last dose and the booster dose.  Appointments are currently available at regional vaccine sites, public health offices, pharmacies and medical clinics.

Creighton Council Learned About Reduced Funding This Week

At their meeting, earlier this week Council reported receiving a letter from the government of Saskatchewan Ministry of Government Relations regarding the Northern Municipal Revenue Sharing Grant for 2022-23.  The Northern Municipalities Regulations require that each municipality be informed in writing of the amount of its Northern Municipal Revenue Sharing Grant including an explanation showing how the amount was determined.  For 2022-23 all municipalities experienced a 4.84 percent reduction in MRS Grants from the previous year due to a 4.84 percent reduction in provincial sales tax revues earned by the province.  All municipalities must be compliant with the MRS eligibility requirements to receive the full grant.  The Town of Creighton has satisfied all six MRS requirements and will receive the full grant of one million one hundred and eighty-one thousand three hundred and sixty-five dollars.  Council said they have made allowances in their budget so Town operations will be fine as they’ve seen reductions in the past.

A Warning Has Been Issued About a Scam With Threats to Personal Safety

Saskatchewan RCMP is advising the public of a text message scam that has been recently reported within their jurisdiction.

 

In each report, the complainant received a text message from a sender claiming to be from an escort company accusing the victim of having used their services without paying. The sender then demands payment and advises the victim that if they do not pay their personal safety or that of their family or friends will be in danger. These text messages have also been accompanied by graphic images of violent scenarios including assaults and homicides.

 

The Saskatchewan RCMP would like to remind you to remain vigilant when receiving unsolicited text messages, never provide personal or sensitive information to the requestor and never send money even if the message sounds urgent.

 

If you or a family member has been contacted by a scammer report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre even if you didn't give them any money.  If you or a family member did lose money as a result of fraud contact your local police as well as the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

MKO Status Card Assistance

MKO Status Card Assistance at the Kikiwak Inn For those who live in or near Opaskwayak Cree Nation and are looking for assistance in obtaining new status cards, or who may need support in the process, there is support available today and Thursday at the Kikiwak Inn by Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO). MKO has been working to ensure that Northern residents have improved access in obtaining their treaty access cards, as many do not have the opportunity to make it to Winnipeg to make an appointment. There is no cost to access this service. MKO staff will be at the Kikiwak today from 9 am to noon, and from 1 to 3, and from 9 to noon on Thursday. You must bring one piece of government ID, such as a drivers license, MPI ID, a passport, Manitoba health card or a status card that has expired within the last year. Staff can help fill out and send the completed applications to Indigenous service headquarters for processing.

A Summit will Focus on Rural and Northern Physician Shortages

Doctors Manitoba in conjunction with the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce will convene a stakeholder summit this fall to assess rural and northern Manitoba Physician shortages. 

              The summit to be held September 21st in Portage La Prairie will bring together a variety of health, economic development and community leaders to review current challenges, examine physician recruitment and retention best practices from within Manitoba and from other Canadian jurisdictions, participate in facilitated discussions and build consensus about the actions and strategies needed to attract and retain more doctors in rural and northern Manitoba.

              Chambers President Chuck Davidson notes their members told them in a recent survey that health care system recovery and investment is their top concern because accessible, reliable and efficient care enables Manitobans to flourish wherever they reside while ensuring the region is attractive to potential new residents and investment.  Follow up steps will include the development of a formal report for the consideration of government and health care system representatives as well as information to be shared with municipalities, rural and northern hospitals, community leaders and media.

The President of UCN Has Received a Contract Extension

University College of the North has approved a five year contract extension for President and Vice-Chancellor Doug Lauvstad running until July 31st, 2028.    

              UCN’s Governing Council Chair Becky Cianflone explains UCN has experienced significant growth during Doug’s first five years having seen enrolments increase by over one-third to 32 hundred, a doubling of revenue for their community and industry training program from 800 thousand to more than three million dollars annually. Under Doug’s Leadership, UCN created the department of Reconciliation, Research, and Academic Innovation to strengthen reconciliation.

              Going forward the Governing Council will be directing the executive of UCN to develop a new five-year strategic plan that will advance the mission of UCN to provide quality education, training, and research that will support the growth and prosperity of northern and Indigenous people of Manitoba.

 

34 Million Dollars Will Flow This Year to Support Community Initiatives

The Manitoba government is opening the 2022-23 intake of applications for the new Arts, Culture and Sport in the Community Fund.  Sport, Culture and Heritage Minister Andrew Smith explains the new fund will provide grants to support the arts, culture and amateur sport sectors. It will include three programs.  The first is capital projects where organizations will be able to apply for up to five million dollars on a 50-50 cost sharing bases for large projects that will support the development and renewal of spaces and facilities used for arts, culture and sport programming and activities.  Under community celebrations events, festivals and celebrations that promote cultural exchanges and are rooted in inclusion and belonging can receive full funding up to five thousand dollars and under small capital and special initiatives projects can receive between 50 and 100 percent of eligible expenses depending on the projects overall cost and will support such initiatives as organizational development opportunities, training and technology, volunteer and equipment development.

              For more information or to download application forms visit www.manitoba.ca/acsc.

University College of the North has Appointed Helga Bryant as Their Next Dean of Health

Bryant will be taking her position as Dean of Health in May after recently announcing plans to retire as CEO of the Northern Health Region in the spring.

              In a release UCN notes Bryant has been a registered nurse since 1974 and has lived and worked in northern Manitoba for more than a decade and comes to UCN with over two decades of executive leadership experience in Manitoba’s health system.  Since 2011 she has served as the Chief Executive Officer of the Northern Health Region.  Prior to that she was the Executive Director and Registrar of the College of Registered Nurses of Manitoba, Vice-President and Chief Nursing Officer with the Health Science Center in Winnipeg and spent 30 years in clinical and leadership roles in Brandon.

              UCN President and Vice-Chancellor Doug Lauvstad notes in addition to her leadership skills Helga brings extensive knowledge to UCN of Manitoba’s health care system and particularly health care issues in northern Manitoba.

The Manitoba Wildfire Service Advises That Wildfire Danger Levels are Low to Moderate Throughout the Province

In their latest update the Wildfire Service reported on the fire at the Saskatchewan Manitoba border.  Estimated at 2300 hectares they are working with crews from Saskatchewan to enhance fire protection in the area located 37 kilometers north of Flin Flon.  Wind conditions over the next 24 to 48 hours may produce increased smoke activity in Flin flon.  Local fire crews are focusing on protecting several remote properties in the area.

               As well less than one kilometer east of Mathias Colomb Cree Nation the fire is estimated to be just under 58 thousand hectares.  Due the vicinity of the wildfire the community had been evacuated.  Favorable weather conditions and progress on firefighting efforts have decreased the risk to the community and critical infrastructure and some community members are beginning to return home.

              And in the Burntwood Lake area the fire is approximately 24 thousand hectares but is not an immediate threat to any community or properties.

Beatrice Wilson Health Center Vaccination and Breast Cancer Screening

Walk in Vaccination clinics are running today at the Beatrice Wilson health center from 4 to 7pm as the Manitoba government opened up vaccination to children ages 6 months and up.
Clinics will also be running tomorrow and Wednesday by appointment.
Breast Cancer screening is also starting in the OCN today at the health center and running until the eleventh.
The unit will also be set up in the Pas at the primary health care center from the 15th to the 25th.
To book appointments call the health center and speak with one of the public health nurses.
 

Memorandum of Understanding Signing

The Manitoba Government signed a memorandum of understanding with Mosakahiken Cree Nation, and Opaskwayak Cree Nation.

This agreement will allow for revenue sharing that will see up to 45 percent of revenues collected from timber returned to the reserves.

The two-year pilot agreement will allow both nations, along with the province to test the approach and prepare for a long-term agreement in the future.

This agreement is the first of its kind for Manitoba, and could create many different opportunities for homes, jobs and gatherings for the communities involved.

Sidney Ballantyne, Chief of OCN stated, “In the spirit of reconciliation, this is a great first step that allows us to assert our sovereign rights as the Opaskwayak Cree Nation”.  

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