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Feds invest $2.7M into nine NWT projects

Meaghan Richens/NNSL photo. Cathie Bolstad, CEO of NWT Tourism at a funding announcement on Wednesday.

The Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNor) is investing $2.7 million into nine economic development projects in the Northwest Territories.

The benefiting projects range from tourism, film, and Indigenous cultural tourism to support for entrepreneurs, businesses and francophone markets.

MP Michael McLeod spoke at a funding announcement in Yellowknife on Wednesday. Meaghan Richens/NNSL photo

MP Michael McLeod announced funding for the following projects in Yellowknife today.

Tourism research and marketing

CanNor is investing $1,564,444 with NWT Tourism contributing $391,161 for a total of $1,955,605 towards a two-year project. The funding will go to NWT Tourism to "undertake tourism marketing activities in targeted markets, conduct market research and launch web-based tools to attract visitors," the media backgrounder states.

The funding is great news for the tourism industry said Cathie Bolstad, CEO of NWT Tourism.

Cathie Bolstad, CEO of NWT Tourism at a funding announcement on Wednesday. Meaghan Richens/NNSL photo

"The funding is enabling NWT Tourism to collect primary research in 2018/19 fiscal year, in partnership with Destination Canada, so that we have data regarding consumer attitudes, motivations from the international markets that visit our country," she said, adding that this data helps guide marketing.

The monies will also support NWT Tourism's current international marketing in China, Australia, Japan, Germany and South Korea said Bolstad.

"This funding is also enabling us to explore whether Mexico is a potential new market for the Northwest Territories," she said.

This fall, NWT Tourism will undertake a trade sales mission to Mexico to look into that possibility.

"The Northwest Territories is one of the most beautiful parts of this country and by investing in tourism, we can share that beauty with more of Canada and the rest of the world," said McLeod.

French language tourism sector promotion

The total cost of this project is $416,000, with $284,000 from CanNor, $38,000 from the GWNT, $31,000 from CDETNO, $17,000 from the Réseau de développement économique et d'employabilité and $46,000 in a joint investment from Employment and Social Development Canada and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

This funding will go toward tourism promotion like attracting investment from francophone markets and providing the NWT francophone community with "entrepreneurial capacity-building tools and training."

"It is going to enable the production of some of our flagship marketing materials in the French language," said Bolstad, as well as restore a French social media presence, in partnership with CDETNO.

Ecology North representative William Gagnon, left, MP Michael McLeod, CEO of NWT Tourism Cathie Bolstad and CDETNO executive director Francois Afane. Meaghan Richens/NNSL photo

Indigenous cultural tourism 

CanNor invested $122,00 with $56,750 from the GNWT for this one-year project.

The funding went towards organizing Indigenous cultural tourism workshops in all five regions of the territory.

Community campgrounds

CanNor invested $31,791 with $40,000 from the GNWT and $34,000 from Pehdzeh Ki First Nation.

This funding went toward improving campgrounds in Wrigley by renovating and installing new facilities at two existing campgrounds.


CanNor is investing $200,000 with $50,000 from the GNWT over two years to implement a marketing program to promote the territory's film industry and attract more outside productions.

Gwich'in cultural experience retreat

$54,420 from CanNor, $7,560 from the GNWT and $8,504 from the Gwich'in Tribal Council went towards a feasibility study which looked at how to turn an unused wellness centre in the Beaufort Delta into a Gwich'in Indigenous cultural experience retreat.

Northern Centre for Sustainability

CanNor invested $104,280 in this one-year project with $13,500 from Tides Canada and $12,570 from Ecology North.

The $130,050 in funding went towards planning work for the Northern Centre for Sustainability.

This building would be the first carbon-negative building in the North. William Gagnon, green buildings specialist at Ecology North, said the goal is to build by 2020, but it will depend on funding.

"We want to demonstrate that retrofitting buildings in the Northwest Territories makes sense on both the greenhouse gas emissions and on economic diversification standpoints," said Gagnon.

The building retrofitting economy gives a payback on investments, he said.

"So what we're finding is there should be a 9 per cent return on investment, on all the investments that we make in the built environment," said Gagnon.

A more detailed report from Ecology North will be available next week, he said.

Trailblazers conference

$155,900 in funding is going to the Yellowknife Chamber of Commerce to host three business capacity development conferences, including two for women entrepreneurs and one in support of Small Business Week. The chamber held its last Trailblazers conference in Yellowknife on International Women's Day.

CanNor invested $124,720 in this two-year project with $14,000 from the City of Yellowknife, $10,000 from the GNWT and $7,180 from the Yellowknife Chamber of Commerce.

CKLB equipment update

$284,000 will go the Native Communication Society of the NWT (NCS) which operates CKLB "to ensure they're able to continue Indigenous language programming in the Northwest Territories," said MP McLeod.

The funding will go to the NCS to upgrade its satellite communication infrastructure in the territory.

$247,000 of that investment is coming from CanNor, with an investment $27,000 from the NCS and $10,000 from Canadian Heritage.

Meaghan Richens/NNSL photo. MP Michael McLeod spoke at a funding announcement in Yellowknife on Wednesday.