Churchill Northern Studies Centre Receives Funding Through Arctic Research Infrastructure Fund

Sheldon Kowalchuk
Resource Conservation Manager
Wapusk National Park & Manitoba North National Historic Sites

Parks Canada staff guide the new water treatment unit at Nestor Two in June 2010 Parks Canada staff guide the new water treatment unit at Nestor Two in June 2010
© Parks Canada

In April of 2010, research facilities in the Churchill area received a huge injection of funds when the Churchill Northern Studies Centre (CNSC) was successful in obtaining $11,000,000 from Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) as part of the Arctic Research Infrastructure Fund (ARIF). The ARIF is an $85,000,000 program that is part of Canada’s Economic Action Plan. The fund is designed to invest in maintaining and upgrading key arctic research facilities.

The CNSC is the key research facility in the Churchill area and, with the new construction occurring at that site in addition to upgrades to existing infrastructure, the CNSC will continue to be the centre of attention for many researchers in the Churchill region for years to come. The CNSC is a launching point to access the northern portion of Wapusk National Park (NP). The funding proposal by the CNSC also included a number of partners that have a research interest in WNP. There are a number of outlying research camps and facilities in Wapusk NP that have supported researchers in their work and some have been in operation for nearly four decades.

In total, approximately $750,000 will be spent on research infrastructure within Wapusk NP over the two-year life of this program. The implementation plan for the work in the park is split into two key phases. The design, acquisition and transportation of materials by over snow vehicle is occurring in 2009-10. The majority of the construction will occur in the summer of 2010.

The investment in Wapusk NP will occur at four locations. The Nester One research camp is owned by the Province of Manitoba and activities at this location include the construction of a new washroom building and upgrades to the viewing tower and kitchen building. At the Nestor Two research camp, operated by the Hudson Bay Project, two new buildings will be constructed to replace the existing bunkhouse and kitchen building. A new water and wastewater treatment unit will also be installed to provide potable water to the camp in addition to treating all wastewater. Parks Canada will be constructing a backcountry cabin, washroom building and a water and wastewater treatment unit at Broad River and a fenced compound, backcountry cabin and shed at Owl River.

There has always been a great interest by researchers to work in this part of the world and that is likely to continue in the future. The funding provided by INAC was a timely source of funds to improve research facilities in the Churchill area and in Wapusk NP and will leave a legacy for years to come.

Hauling building materials to Nestor Two in March 2010 Hauling building materials to Nestor Two in March 2010
© Parks Canada