Local News

The Future for Mining in Snow Lake Looks Bright.

The Hudbay 4th quarter report we reported on yesterday also includes Manitoba developments.  President Peter Kukielski says they continue to move forward at their Snow Lake deposits. He explained in early 2019 they announced a significant increase in reserves and an updated mine plan for Lalor which is projected to more than double the annual gold production for the mine.  He added through the refurbishment of the nearby New Britannia gold mill and related infrastructure upgrade in Snow Lake Lalor’s annual gold production is expected to increase to approximately 140 thousand ounces at sustaining 450 dollars per ounce starting in 2022 noting he believes Lalor is on track to become one of the best gold mines in Canada.


Kukielski also mentioned the discovery of the new 1901 deposit in the Snow Lake area last year.  He also noted Hudbay continues to implement improvements to the legacy Flin Flon tailings impoundment area in line with higher industry wide standards for tailings dam safety following the failure of other tailings dams in recent years with spending of approximately 20 million dollars a year from 2020 to 2022.

You Can Learn More About Banned Books.

The Flin Flon Public Library is celebrating Freedom to Read Week with a display of banned books this week.  Administrator Elizabeth Andres says this is an annual event that encourages all Canadians to think about their commitment to intellectual freedom and intellectual freedom is guaranteed under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and that freedom can never ever be taken for granted.  She notes even in Canada books and magazines are banned at the border, they never make it into Canada.  Andres adds her favorite banned book is The Lorax and that’s because when people look at that they think of Dr. Seuss what a funny little guy, he’s speaking to the trees but actually back in 1971 people saw that as a dangerous piece of political commentary and they said it was propaganda and they banned it in many places.


Freedom to Read Week runs all this week through Saturday.

Northern Saskatchewan Patients will Benefit from Expanded Services in Saskatoon.

The government has announced residents in central and northern Saskatchewan will soon have improved access to magnetic resonance imaging or MRI services.  The Saskatchewan Health Authority has awarded a contract to Mayfair Diagnostics to deliver publicly funded community based MRI services in Saskatoon and to continue to provide MRI services in Regina.


Health Minister Jim Reiter says expanding community based MRI services in Saskatoon will benefit thousands of additional patients in central and northern Saskatchewan each year and help meet the growing demand for MRI exams across the province.  Mayfair Diagnostics will provide a minimum of 45 hundred exams per year in Saskatoon with services expected to begin in August.

It Was a Busy and Fun Weekend at Denare Beach.

Unusually warm weather added to the success of the 41st annual Denare Beach Winter Festival over the weekend.


Some of the event winners included for turkey curling team Poultrygeist made up of Brendley and Hayley Feiber, Phil Cardell and Shakey with twelve teams entered in the competition.  Denare Beach Village Council won the turkey curling challenge against Creighton and Flin Flon Councils.  86 adults and 31 kids entered the fishing derby with no fish caught so draws were made for the prizes. Boot Hockey was won by the team of Shay McCullum, Paxton Dareichuk, Greg Morin and Hendre Gouws.  First in Kids Got Talent was singer Charlene Custer, Second gymnast Cora Anaka and third singer Hallie Norman.  In the trapper events the winner for girls was Easter Dubinak and for boys Glen Campbell.


Community Projects Can Benefit From Funding.

Co-op Community Spaces has provided 8.5 million dollars to 115 projects since 2015.  Social Responsibility Supervisor Lindsay Arnott says they are accepting applications for projects that help protect, beautify and improve spaces across western Canada.  She explains they provide funding for capital projects that really are designed to bring people together and bring communities together so they fund projects in three different categories including recreation, environmental conservation and urban agriculture so things like playgrounds or skate parks, nature centres, community gardens, community kitchens that’s a lot of the type of projects that they fund.


Between 25 thousand and 150 thousand dollars of capital funding is available per project with application forms available online at www.communityspaces.ca until March 2nd.


Hudbay Reports Solid Results for Their Fourth Quarter and the Past Year.

Hudbay reports a net loss of 1.5 million dollars in the last quarter of 2019 compared to a loss of 3.5 million in the same quarter of 2018.  President and CEO Peter Kukielski says overall 2019 saw solid results due to their efforts on continuous improvement in mine performance while implementing various improvement initiatives across the business.  He explains the Constancia Mine in Peru achieved record mill throughput and record copper recoveries in 2019 and they are seeing the benefits of several metallurgical enhancements at the mill while the Lalor Mine in Snow Lake achieved record output in 2019 due to the successful mine ramp up to 45 hundred tonnes per day early in the year and the Triple Seven Mine in Flin Flon significantly increased mine output from successfully implemented efficiency initiatives.


Kukielski adds they are on track to deliver their next phase of growth including mining the high grade Pampacancha satellite deposit in Peru in 2020 and completing refurbishment of the New Britannia gold mill in Snow Lake by 2022.


A New Program Offers Assistance to Women Interested in Business.

Local Program Coordinator Krista Lemcke for Manitoba Entrepreneurial Hubs told the Flin Flon and District Chamber of Commerce Tuesday they offer help to women at any stage of business.  She explained basically they have two things that they do at the Hub.  One is that it is going to be a co-working space, they’re going to have events, pop up shops, they have a small office for rent so if you’re freelancing or if you’re from out of town, you want to meet clients, they have some space to work in a private office you’re welcome to rent and it’s free to rent until April 1st and then they also have the second half of the program which is specific to the women’s entrepreneurship program and they provide support, the programming and learning and all that good stuff for rural entrepreneurs.


Lemcke adds they are a one stop shop for business so they can help with path finding, business coaching and develop and deliver business training and they’re looking for input, ideas, support from entrepreneurs and referrals of anybody who could gain from their programs.  Their office is located in the former Co-op building on Main Street and you can call 204-687-6967 or email Krista@thehubs.ca.


Its Festival Time in Denare Beach This Weekend.

The 41st annual Denare Beach Winter Festival takes place this weekend.  Recreation Director Mel Durette says it starts tonight with the Mushers supper at the Denareplex at 5:30 followed a penny parade, kid’s events, turkey curling and fireworks at 8. She adds on Saturday they’ll start the day off with the pancake breakfast followed by the family fishing derby, unfortunately they don’t have the horse drawn wagon rides as the guy backed out and they haven’t been able to find anybody, there’s a concession with hot dogs and stuff, at 12:30 the Bingo starts, there’s boot hockey at 1 o’clock, a penny parade all day, there’ll be a Freezie mountain at 12:30, a crib tournament at 3:30 and there’s a King and Queen Trapper at 1:30.


The Festival wraps up Sunday with the Sno Drags at the Beaver Lake Day grounds with registration from 11 to 12 and races start at 1 with a concession available.

Hudbay is Moving Forward Towards Mine Development in Peru.

Hudbay has announced the community of Chilloroya has formally approved a surface rights agreement with Hudbay for the Pampacancha satellite deposit located near the Constancia mine in Peru.  With the completion of this agreement the company expects to be mining ore from the deposit in late 2020.


Hudbay President and CEO Peter Kukielski says Pampacancha adds high grade copper and gold ore to the Constancia mine plan lowering future cash costs for the mine and increasing operating cash flows at Constancia.  He adds Constancia is one of the lowest cost open pit copper mines in South America.


Hudbay expects growth capital expenditures associated with project development and acquiring the surface rights for Pampacancha to be approximately 70 million dollars in this year.  Some additional capital costs remain outstanding in recognition of current uses of the land by certain community members and the company intends to enter into agreements to address these matters prior to commencing mining activities.

It Was Budget Night for the School Division.

The Flin Flon School Board presented their budget plan for the 2020-21 school year at a public meeting last night.  The Division has planned a budget of just over 14.9 million dollars for the year an increase of .30 percent from this year’s budget.  Direct provincial funding for the Division for 2019-20 was just under 9.4 million dollars and will increase by 1.36 percent or just under 128 thousand dollars for 2020-21. 


The Division is requesting a zero percent increase from the city noting due to the substantial decrease in property assessments, a one percent decrease in the Hudbay grant in lieu, the reduction in the provincial Tax Incentive Grant the proposed mill rate is 24.34 up from 21.46 last year but because of the mentioned changes the Division is not asking the city for any more money than last year at just over 4.9 million dollars.


The top two categories in costs are regular instruction at just over 8.2 million and just over 2.6 million for student support services.  Several requests were removed from the proposed budget but 105 thousand dollars will go to student support services for three educational assistants.

The Library Continues to Move Forward with Rebranding Plans.

At Tuesday night’s Flin Flon City Council meeting new Library Administrator Elizabeth Andres spoke on their plans for this year.  She noted Saturday opening has proven to be very successful with 80 people in during their 4 hours being open. Saturday openings and Monday closing will continue during their winter hours moving back to Saturday closing and Monday opening for the summer.  She noted their goal is to increase circulation numbers this year with 20 new members signed up in the past week alone and they are planning to bring in more types of books people are looking for.  They also plan to increase the programs available including inviting groups to come in and provide information on the programs they offer.  They will soon wrap up their logo contest and will begin a rebranding process so people know the library is about more than a place to get books.


Andres added due to the number of books not returned in past years a new library policy will require you to show your library card whenever you take out books and you will be responsible to return all books on your card or for the cost of books not returned.  She urges everyone to visit the library and get a card which can also be used to borrow audio and ebooks using the Libby library app.



A Byelection Will be Held in Flin Flon.

At last night’s City Council meeting Mayor Cal Huntley announced Councillor Guy Rideout has resigned from Council effective the end of this month for personal reasons.  Huntley praised him for the work he has done on Council adding he will be missed.  Council appointed Katy Anderson as the Senior Election Official for the purpose of holding a by-election on a date to be announced.


Council also confirmed the departure of Treasurer Lynn Brown who will be leaving soon for Saskatoon.


Councillor Karen MacKinnon reported since the announcement of the permanent closure of the Aqua Centre last Friday people have been asking how they can help so she noted the Community Committee will need help moving forward in raising funds for the new pool.  Mayor Huntley reported the present building is sealed off because it is unsafe and will have to be demolished as the cost of repairing the damaged infrastructure would be substantial.


And Mayor Huntley added the Flin Flon flag has flown over Thompson City and Hudson Bay Saskatchewan Town Halls due to wins by Flin Flon in the SnoRiders Sledtown Showdown with Flin Flon now up against McBride, BC in the competition.

There are Opportunities for Young People to Learn About Business.

Kylie McKinnon from the University College of the North spoke to the Flin Flon and District Chamber of Commerce yesterday about LYNK, Linking Youth Entrepreneurs with Networks and Knowledge.  She explained basically they’re trying to boost entrepreneurship and get it on the youth’s radar.  She says a lot of youth today don’t see entrepreneurship as an option leaving school or while they’re in school or they don’t really understand all the concepts around being an entrepreneur, they’re not seeing the value in buying a business that is pre-existing, becoming partner of an existing business, maybe it’s something as small as staring a business selling crafts at local markets and craft shows.


McKinnon noted as part of that they will be holding a LYNK event for youth during the day Monday followed by a gathering from 7 to 8:30 at the Community Futures Greenstone and Hubs location in the former Co-op building on Main Street open to local business people and others interested for discussions with urban organizations from Winnipeg who want to support northern entrepreneurs.  She would also like to hear from local business people willing to mentor young people interested in business.  You can get more information by emailing Kylie at kmckinnon@ucn.ca or call 204-687-0117.


Medical Staff Have to Come and Stay in Our Region.

The President of the Manitoba Association of Health Care Professionals Bob Moroz was in Flin Flon last week as part of this northern tour.  His union represents all health care professionals who are not doctors or nurses with about 300 in the north and he says staffing is the big issue. He explains it’s really really difficult to recruit folks to towns like Flin Flon or even smaller towns and when they do recruit, people stick around for a little while gain some experience and want to move onto a bigger centre down to Brandon, Dauphin or Winnipeg if they can so it’s a real problem with places like this so we’re chronically short staffed.  He says people come in and when they talk to them you can see the weariness in their eyes and it’s important for people to understand the work that they do and how hard they work and when there’s not enough of them they have to work harder as people still need those tests, people still need that physiotherapy, they still need the community programs that their members provide.


Moroz adds the Health Regions have things in place to attract people to the north but it’s difficult to keep them here while those who are from the north tend to stay.


They Marched and Gathered to Remember and Call For Action.

The Women’s Resource Centre held their annual Women’s Memorial March and Red Dress Project Friday evening.  The Centre’s Brodie Hooper explained this marks 29 years Canadians have marched to honor the lives of murdered Aboriginal women and girls and the Red Dress Project was started by Jamie Black in 2014 and she described it as an aesthetic response to the issue of violence against women and girls.  Hooper noted the visual impact of the empty dress is to remind us of the staggering number of women who are no long with us.  She thanked those who marched with them in solidarity to mourn the loss of our sisters and to remember those who are still missing adding we stand together and ask for action, we ask for answers and we ask for justice.


Marchers made their way from Pioneer Square down Main Street and back to the Community Hall for refreshments, entertainment, a round dance and messages of support for the event.

Provincial Assistance is Being Requested Regarding Local Health Staffing Issues.

In January local resident Gail Baker sent a letter to Northern Health Region CEO Helga Bryant regarding the departure of Physician Assistant Jan Drutz from the Flin Flon Clinic. Bryant replied explaining he no longer had a physician supervisor and was thereby no longer licenced by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba. 


In a follow up letter last week Baker again requested Bryant attend an information meeting to discuss this issue and noted a petition circulated in Flin Flon against his departure obtained 900 signatures in two weeks.

Baker is forwarding information to the Region’s Board of Directors, the Premiers and Health Ministers in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, Mayor and Council and MLA Tom Lindsey asking them to investigate this situation as well as other issues she raised about staffing in local health care facilities.

The Flin Flon Aqua Centre Will Not Reopen.

City Council has announced they have made the emergency decision to close the Flin Flon Aqua Centre permanently and immediately.  An engineering review has revealed critical safely issues with the pool’s infrastructure that pose an immediate risk to employees and the public.  Repairing the issues would require significant overhauls of the existing facility at substantial cost. Therefore Council has made the decision not to re-open the Aqua Centre until a new facility has been built.


They add an application was submitted in September to the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program regarding funding for a new Aqua Center and recreational facility.  Council will focus on seeking a positive result from the funding request in order to move the vision of a new recreational facility forward.


Anglers will not Need a Licence to Fish in Manitoba During this year's Winter Family Fishing Weekend Tomorrow Through Monday.

Anglers will be able to fish without a licence province wide except in national parks where a federal licence is required.  Conservation limits apply to those fishing without a licence. Anglers should be sure conditions are safe before venturing onto the ice.  It’s important to let someone know where you are fishing and to wear appropriate clothing so the ice fishing experience will be enjoyable.


The province is also offering free park entry for the entire month of February.  Vehicle permits are not required in any provincial park.  For more information on fishing regulations view the Manitoba Anglers Guide at www.manitobafisheries.com.

Courses for People Involved in Business are Coming Up Soon.

University College of the North in partnership with the Manitoba Tourism Education Council is offering selected courses from the Administrators, Retailers and Business Series. UCN’s Craig Cowper says these are offered by video Zoom conference with different topics each day from February 24th to 26th.  He says students can register and come to the Mining Academy and attend a class, the instructor will be in Winnipeg presenting to us in Flin Flon.  He says there’s a variety of topics including Instagram for Business, Business Etiquette, Fundamentals of Human Resources, for the most part half day classes that students can attend.


The cost for the half day courses is $78.75 which includes GST and for information or to register you can call Craig at 204-687-7038 or email crcowper@ucn.ca.

Alpha Invites You to Join Them Next Week.

The Alpha Course is starting a new session at the Flin Flon Alliance Church at 6 Tuesday evening.  Pastor Reg Friesen says Alpha has a lot to offer.   He explains if you’ve ever wondered if there’s more to life than just the day to day the Alpha Course is a great way to discover there’s so much more to be experienced so they just want to invite folks to join them.  He says it’s going to be a lot of fun, the perfect evening to find out more about Alpha, enjoy a great meal, some music and a video.  He adds if you decide you want to do Alpha the film series starts the following week, each Tuesday dinner is served, there’s a short video, time to talk about things noting Alpha really does create a great environment where we can explore the Christian faith, ask questions and share points of view.


To register or for more information you can call the Church at 204-687-8498.


Free Computer Courses are Starting Next Week.

University College of the North in Flin Flon is offering free computer classes.  The College’s Craig Cowper says they start next Tuesday and these courses are free, no cost to attend, they cover the basics and most of them run Tuesday, Wednesday Thursday evenings from 6 to 9 pm.  He notes next week they’ve got Intro to Computers and it’s an introductory type course getting the basics for people who perhaps haven’t had a chance to work with computers much so don’t be shy about coming out, if you don’t have any experience this is the time to come learn.


From March 10th to 12th they will offer Introduction to Microsoft Excel and from the 17th to the 19th Introduction to Microsoft Word.  For information or to register for these or other courses such as Food Safety February 19th and First Aid on February 27th and 28th contact Craig at 204-687-7038 or email crcowper@ucn.ca.


Student Activities Highlighted a Flin Flon School Board Meeting.

A light agenda and no presentations made for a brief meeting Tuesday night for the School Division’s Board of Trustees.  Trustee Amy Sapergia Green reported for Superintendent Tammy Ballantyne that students in grades ten and eleven participated earlier this week in a domestic violence session with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.  Some classes at Ruth Betts will be taking part in the Red Dress Walk Friday and all schools will be closed this Monday for Louis Riel or Family Day.


Board Chair Murray Skeavington thanked senior administration for work done on the budget as well as community contributions.  The public is welcome to attend the budget meeting Wednesday night at 6:30 in the Division office at 9 Terrace Avenue.


We Can Gather to Remember Friday.

The Women’s Resource Centre is holding their annual Women’s Memorial March and Red Dress Project Friday evening.  The Centre’s Brodie Hooper says they will meet in Pioneer Square to honor the lives of missing and murdered Indigenous Women and all women’s lives lost.  She explains older students from local schools will be gathering at the Women’s Resource Centre to help them hang the dresses from 10 to 11 am and then in the evening February 14th at 5:15 sharp they’ll be marching down Main Street and then back to the Community Hall to gather for refreshments and then they’ll be having local drummers and singers performing as well as a round dance for our community.


If you need more information you can call the Women’s Resource Centre at 204-681-3105.

Local Businesses Can Learn More About Accessing Funding.

The Communities Economic Development Fund encourages local Chamber of Commerce members and local business owners to complete their online survey.  Their CEO Oswald Sawh explains their main question is have you tried to access capital in the last 12 to 24 months and when they say access to capital its asking for loans or any source of funding relating to either expanding your business or starting up a new business, so its geared towards just questions relating to or around that whole access to capital issue that they talk about a fair bit.


You can complete the survey conducted by Leger Marketing online at legerweb.com/CEDF2020 with a deadline of 11:59 pm February 19th.


You can learn more about CEDF and starting a small business at their Flin Flon office located in the Community Futures Greenstone office in the former Co-op building on Main Street.



A Coffee House will Support a New Pool.

A Local Roots Aqua Center Coffee House Benefit is coming up Saturday.  One of the organizers Ann Ross says it’s a family friendly night of music.  She says they will have Colin Davis, John Taylor, Marylou Spooner, Reimer Reason, Harold Romo, Holly Freeborn, Ron Burwash, Kevin Allen with Megan Reimer and Syd Tippet.


The Coffee House gets underway Saturday at 7 in the Flin Flon Community Hall. Tickets are at the door at 10 dollars for adults and 5 for children 12 and under. Ross adds coffee, tea and juice will be provided and if you wish you can bring your own apps, desserts or snacks. There will also be a penny parade and the FlinFlonopy game can also be purchased.


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