By Colleen Birchwood
Helping to grow Neepawa and the surrounding RMs
Although the Neepawa Area Development Corporation (NADCO) currently has a high profile because of its role in the expansion of the Beautiful Plains Medical Clinic in Neepawa, NADCO has a long history of promoting and enhancing opportunities for growth. Since 1960, NADCO has championed economic development in Neepawa and the surrounding municipalities of Rosedale, North Cypress-Langford and Glenella-Lansdowne.
Murray Parrott, the elected chair of NADCO, describes the organization’s role as providing government agency to manage projects that need to have a form of accountability. On top of creating and executing opportunities for Neepawa and the surrounding area, NADCO acts as a liaison between local governments and supports business inquiries, making referrals to appropriate agencies.
“NADCO is here to support our community and help to grow the region’s marketplace,” said Parrott. “We will provide resources to help make entry into our marketplace a successful one.”
With no paid employees, NADCO operates with a lean but efficient team of stakeholders, including the chair and two representative councillors from each municipality. Parrott also works closely with Marilyn Crewe, the economic development officer with the Town of Neepawa.
Crewe currently represents NADCO on the Westman Opportunities Leadership Group (WOLG) working towards attracting a world-class soybean facility. The WOLG and its development partners secured $75,000 in provincial funding from the Manitoba Department of Municipal Relations through the “Partner 4 Growth” program.
“The community of Neepawa and the Neepawa and Area Development Corporation [were] instrumental in helping secure provincial funding,” said Ray Redfern, chair of the WOLG, in a media release. “They led the fund development process and were instrumental in guiding a successful application, of which we are most appreciative. This is another good example of how our five-member communities are working together to a common goal.”
WOLG has an action plan to follow to prepare all levels of government and partners to begin the attraction process.
NADCO is also one of the sponsors of an entrepreneurial event called “What’s the Big Idea?” headed by Crewe and Minnedosa’s economic development officer, Chantelle Parrott, in the spirit of Dragon’s Den. The annual event supports local entrepreneurs who have business ideas but need funds and resources to get their idea off the ground.
The expansion of the Beautiful Plains Medical Clinic is what led NADCO to become a member of the Construction Association of Rural Manitoba (CARM). NADCO purchased the clinic in 2008.
Operated by the Beautiful Plains Clinic Committee, the clinic will now undergo its third major expansion. The expansion includes a 1,920-square-foot addition to the existing building, including eight new examination rooms, a soundproof office space, storage areas for medical supplies and two new suites for medical students.
“We’ve just finished renovations to the clinic and now we are preparing for the addition,” said Parrott. “The clinic has grown and we now have eight doctors and an optometrist.”
CARM provided the resources NADCO needed to move the project along.
“They had all the forms we needed for RFPs and they helped with printing copies of the blueprints. They were a one-stop shop for everything we needed,” said Parrott. “They walked us through the whole thing.”
After reviewing three formal bids, NADCO recently signed a deal with Kerf Construction. The Neepawa and District Medical Committee reviewed the bids and recommended NADCO select Kerf. Construction began at the beginning of May and should be completed by fall.
From connecting to contractors to the work to offering COR certification to local contractors, CARM has already provided significant value to NADCO for the Beautiful Plains Medical Clinic project.
With several projects on the horizon, the Neepawa area will see more growth. NADCO previously supported the development of a business case that will offer assisted living for seniors.
Earlier this year, the Town of Neepawa conducted a feasibility study that showed there is support for up to 50 new apartments for seniors. The same study also showed there is market potential for a 60-room hotel. The analysis projected that there would be 55 per cent occupancy the first year, climbing to 63 per cent in year three.
If these proposed projects proceed, the estimated economic impact would be significant, creating new jobs and offering alternative housing for residents and a more attractive option for visitors staying overnight in Neepawa.
“As with all NADCO projects, whether minor or major, it is the positive support, expertise and willingness of many local rural and urban volunteers that have made our region strong and proactive,” said Parrott. “NADCO plans to continue its support for the area and its businesses to bring sustainable success for many years to come.”
Photos courtesy of the Neepawa Area Development Corporation