Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Selinger vows $2M for rec, community projects in north

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PREMIER Greg Selinger campaigned in northern Manitoba Thursday, where he promised $2 million for recreation and community projects.

Selinger made the vow while campaigning with Keewatinook NDP candidate Eric Robinson in the Island Lake region.

He said a re-elected NDP government would support new recreational opportunities in the north through grants, up to a maximum $75,000, to help build and renew playgrounds, ball diamonds and outdoor rinks.

Selinger said the program would be designed to meet tight deadlines in transporting building materials to remote northern communities because of the short winter-road season.

Earlier in the day, Selinger delivered a speech to the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce where he warned a delay in Manitoba Hydro's Bipole III transmission line project it could stall Manitoba's economic growth.

Selinger said after the speech Bipole III also has to proceed as planned to bring stability to the Manitoba market.

"It's a $54-billion economy, which is more than $4 billion dollars a month," he said. "If you did not have electricity in Manitoba because you don't build the additional converter stations and additional transmission, that could stall the economy and stalling the economy could have very serious consequences for our economic prosperity. That's why we need to build it now."

The Tories say they'll cancel the west-side route in favour of a shorter and less expensive route down the east side of the province without hurting export plans or the economy.

Four years ago, the NDP decided to build the new line, to be the third bringing power south from northern dams, to protect the boreal forest on east side of Lake Winnipeg, and a bid to designate it as a UNESCO world heritage site.

Selinger also said a re-elected NDP government would continue plans to build the Keeyask dam and the larger Conawapa generating station.

He said the two dams are needed for Manitoba Hydro to export more power to Minnesota and Wisconsin over the next 20 years, and earn Hydro $21 billion in anticipated revenue.

The province's newest dam, Wuskwatim near Thompson, is to come online in several months.

Selinger added Hydro is looking at exporting more power to Saskatchewan and tapping into the Alberta market.

His speech coincided with the release of a letter by University of Alberta professor David Schindler and 74 other scientists that supports the NDP's decision to route Bipole III down the west side of the province and away from the east-side boreal forest.

 

-- staff

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 30, 2011 A4

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