Article appeared in the May 19, 2011 issue of the Interlake Spectator…An informational evening, called “The Inside Scoop”, hosted by the Arborg Chamber of Commerce and the Arborg-Bifrost Community Development Corporation (ABCDC), took place at the Arborg Community Centre on May 10, 2011. The more than 40 people who took it in learned what their business, community organizations, and government players have been up to in the on-going effort to create prosperity and make Arborg a vibrant place to live, work, and play.
Numerous presentations, covered topics on Arborg’s housing shortage, first impressions of Arborg, youth and age-friendly resources, business initiatives, and water management in the Arborg-Bifrost area.
Ron Johnston, President of the Arborg Chamber of Commerce was the first, among many, to speak. He gave an overview networking opportunities for businesses, work in identifying common problems, the benefits of joining the chamber, and ways the chamber helps to promote Arborg.
Rob Thorsteinson, Deputy Mayor gave a talk about the business development focus of the town, and work on the town’s drainage issues. While, Harold Foster, Reeve of the RM of Bifrost, spoke about how the RM is partnering with Arborg on sewer and water projects, as well as giving an update on the large number of roads and culverts washed out during the recent spring melt.
Melodie Klassen, from Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural initiatives (MAFRI), discussed the results of a “First Impressions Community Exchange Program”, undertaken through MAFRI in 2010, between the towns of Morris and Arborg. The exchange showed how Arborg is seen through the eyes of visitors. The resulting information is being used to inform future community planning initiatives.
Representatives from community groups made presentations: Carissa Rempel, director of The Bridge youth drop-in centre, announced extended hours for the centre as it addresses the community’s need to provide more options for teens in Arborg; Kristin Kristjanson, president of Arborg’s Age-friendly club, gave an over-view of activities at the club, including the introduction of a “Stepping Up” exercise program. Kristjanson put the call out for new members, and hopes that younger people will join the group, which she say is age-friendly, but not solely for seniors.
Several very in-depth presentations were made, by Pat McCallum, Economic Development Officer for ABCDC, and James Johnson, ABCDC’s president. McCallum gave a thorough run-down on efforts being undertaken to tackle the housing shortage in Arborg. Johnson’s focus was on all the minutiae involved in moving Arborg forward, from attracting new businesses, to signage, to property, and tourism.
A joint presentation was made by Eric Fridfinnson, spokesperson for the Bifrost Agricultural Sustainability Initiative Cooperative (BASIC), which represents the interests of farmers and businesses in Bifrost, and Maurice Bouvier, Coordinator of water management planning with the Provincial government. Bouvier discussed the Bifrost Excess Water Management Initiative, a program created in response to the on-going water situation.
The two are working cooperatively on water management for the area. The province is conducting studies and is looking at innovative solutions to the solving the problems rather than moving the problem from one region to another.
A report, that looks at economic and environmental impacts, and types of crops that are water tolerant, will be completed by the summer of 2012.