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Adventures of the Gillam Cohort Part 4

December 14, 2012 — 

Gillam Cohort, Post #4
December 3, 2012

Allison enjoys the Gillam Santa Parade from the comfort of her living room window.

Allison Braves the Cold…NOT

With only two weeks left in Gillam, we experienced our first “snowstorm”.  I don’t know if the locals would consider it a snowstorm, but to my southern roots, it was a snowstorm.  Walking to school was a new experience, with snow to my knees and being knocked over by the wind.  What I have learned in Gillam so far is that nothing closes down due to the weather.  Even with the winter storm warning broadcasted throughout most of the day, my Grade 4 students still had to go out for recess.

The Sorels get the better of Allison's socks every time!

Another event that was not hindered by the weather was the Santa parade on Sunday. The town was out in full force to either participate in the parade or to watch (I believe more were in the parade then watching though).  Even the Grinch made an appearance. I was fortunate enough to enjoy the parade from the comfort of my living room and did not have to endure the -30 degree weather outside.  However, it was a great event for the town!

~ Allison Steedsman

P.S. I have learned that when you take your Sorel’s off here, half of your socks fall off too.  It is a technique I have yet to master.


Dave Participates Like a Local

Lynn-Marie and I attended a town meeting held by Manitoba Health regarding the amalgamation of 11 regional health authorities (RHA) into 5, as part of a cost-saving program to streamline services.  Under this plan, the Burntwood and Nor-man RHAs will be combined into the Northern RHA.  Northern RHA will coordinate the delivery of health services for all of northern Manitoba north of Grand Rapids, excluding Churchill.  This is a huge geographical area.

The room was full of local residents.  There is concern among the community, as with other communities across Manitoba, that health care service does not meet demand.  There is a shortage of doctors.  With the expected population growth due to hydroelectric generating station construction (Conawapa and Keeyask), people fear that the gap between service and demand will grow.

The projected town growth will affect all services, including the town school.  Most of the town infrastructure was built in the 1960s-70s, when the Kettle generating station was constructed.  Now, the town is planning for expansion.  A new school is on the five year provincial plan.  The foundation for a new housing subdivision is currently under construction.  The gas bar at the Co-op is moving to a new location shortly in order to make room for the expansion of the local Co-op store.  The new road to Gillam will shave 80 km off the old route around Stephens Lake.  Fox Lake First Nation currently provides a job referral service regarding the Keeyask project for its members.

Gillam is no stranger to the boom-bust cycle.  Gillam was home to over 3,000 people, and used to have several restaurants, a bakery, hardware store, and bus station.  Presently, there are about 1,200 residents in Gillam.  It will be interesting to see how Gillam responds to the future challenges and opportunities of future hydroelectric development.  It cannot be overstated how much influence Manitoba Hydro has on Gillam, MB.

~ Dave Overgaard


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