Since the FFNRC was established, several local projects have received funding from Neighbourhoods Alive!, through the Neighbourhood Renewal Fund, such as the Community Youth Resource Centre, the Channing beach and playground restoration and the Ski Club. The FFNRC has also acted as the proponent of several other projects funded by the NRF. In 2010 the FFNRC’s main such project was the Flin Flon Parks Redevelopment, where in partnership with the City of Flin Flon the FFNRC undertook the comprehensive renovation and restoration of three of Flin Flon’s older playgrounds, namely Alder, Grandview, and Pop’s Park. This involved landscaping and the installation of picnic tables and a variety of new play structures, ranging from play booster units and toddler towns to the more traditional swings, slides, and see saws.

To see some before and after photos of these parks, please click here. (Parks Redevelopment photos)

One of the more volunteer-intensive NRF projects would have to be the Channing Beach and Playground Restoration. The Channing community has deep roots. Some call it the original Flin Flon, since Channing was the original reception point for materials and supplies barged north to the settlement from The Pas, even before there was a railroad. When the railroad did come in, Channing was also the main terminus point for the CNR, complete with roundhouse and railroad gangs. Flin Flon’s first main street was actually in Channing.

Although the Channing lakefront has a long history as a recreational and boating area, the facilities there had been in a serious state of disrepair for many years. The Channing Beach and Playground project sought to restore the beach, add a floating dock and boat launch, and to install new picnic tables and playground equipment, as well as doing a considerable amount of landscaping. That was largely achieved in 2010.

The driving force behind this project has been the Channing recreation committee, which has put hundreds of volunteer hours into it, and shown great initiative in fund-raising, both at the grassroots level through such events as a Skidoo poker derby and Sno-Golf tournament, and by seeking out a variety of other funders. It has been achieved through a successful partnership with the City of Flin Flon and the FFNRC, and there are plans for further developments in 2011.

For photos of the Channing project and some of the volunteer activities connected with it, please click here (Channing photos)

The NRF project which has had the most visible impact on downtown Flin Flon would have to be Pioneer Square. Its back story reads like a movie script. A disastrous fire obliterates a long-time downtown landmark, leaving a pile of ash and rubble where some of Flin Flon’s most legendary businesses had once stood. At first it looks like this will be a lasting blight on the local streetscape, but then a mysterious anonymous benefactor steps forward and offers to donate the land to the city if a park is built on it.  With that the Pioneer Square committee is born, an intrepid group who work tirelessly to create Flin Flon’s first ever public square. Some are sceptical in view of the costs and other technical challenges involved in making this square come to be.  Yet the committee perseveres, fund raises like crazy, gets the other pieces of the puzzle in place, and by September 2011 the first phase of the project is compete.

From its grand opening this September 10 it has been clear that the NRF-funded component of the project, the stage, is a very important part of the square. It featured front and centre in the opening ceremonies and also served as the launchpad for the city’s Culture Days celebrations on September 30 and the dancing down Main Street event on October 2.

Already it is clear that Pioneer Square is going to make a profound change in the centre of Flin Flon. For the first time our city has a public square, an open air centre for gatherings and performances, complete with stage and seating, a fountain, and a plaza adorned with a brickwork mosaic in the form of a compass.  It is hard to imagine a project of this scale that could do more to revitalize the heart of Flin Flon and the FFNRC is proud to have been part of it.

For some pictures of the Culture Days’ launch at the square, please click here.