Another trade mission possible
Keewatin leaders to discuss business in Winnipeg

Jennifer Pritchett
Northern News Services

RANKIN INLET (Sep 30/98) - Keewatin connections to Manitoba are getting stronger all the time.

Leaders across the region are planning a trade mission to Winnipeg, similar to last February's Manitoba trade mission in Rankin Inlet and Arviat where more than 50 delegates met to strengthen business ties in the region.

Leaders passed a resolution at the leaders' meeting in Coral Harbour recently to seek GNWT funding to send Keewatin leaders and business owners to Winnipeg to promote Northern products.

Rankin Inlet Mayor John Hickes said that such a trip would give Northern businesses an opportunity to find a market for Northern products.

"We have products to market, but we haven't been able market them mostly because of transportation...," he said. "We don't have access to the southern market, but why not go down there where we can meet more people."

Hickes also said that the funding recently allotted by both the Manitoba and federal governments to study the possibility of building a road and powerline from Churchill to Arviat encourages businesses to strengthen connections to the south because of the increasing potential for Northern businesses.

"If we have a road to the Keewatin, there's opportunity for Keewatin businesses," he said. "We could have light manufacturing here. Right now, we get our windows from Hay River, but with a road this could change. We could service the rest of the region."

With a road, he added, transportation costs would be significantly cheaper and Northern businesses would be able to compete in the southern world.

"We buy a lot of goods down south, now let's send our products down," he said.

Hickes also said that the division of the territories is bringing some long-awaited attention to the North and it's the Keewatin's time to get in on the market.

"Nunavut is opening the possibilities -- people are saying they drive cars up there, they have boats..."

The trade mission in Winnipeg is still in the planning stages, but Hickes said that sometime in November has been discussed.