Neechi Commons Multi-stakeholder Cooperative Inc.
Neechi Commons Multi-stakeholder Cooperative Inc. (NCMSC) was founded in March 2022 and received its incorporation papers in June 2022. It was designed to host businesses and social services that benefit its north-end Winnipeg neighbourhood and beyond. The businesses and social services were to be operated by tenants, with a special focus on a regional, healthy foods hub and health services. The reopening of Kookum’s Bakery and an Indigenous arts centre, education and training, and long-term inclusive housing (above or beside the parking lot) were also envisioned.
In July the new cooperative held a well attended public meeting at Barber House in North Point Douglas and explained that financing was being assembled to allow Neechi Foods Co-Op Ltd. to transfer ownership to the Multi-stakeholder Cooperative. However, two days later the sale of Neechi Commons to the South East Resource Development Council (SERDC) was completed by Neechi’s commercial lender. It was quite a shock because Neechi and the new owner had been unaware of each other’s plans. Subsequently, a child, youth and family support agency of the SERDC expressed strong interest in the possibility of Neechi returning to Neechi Commons to host some social enterprises that would complement their own programs. However, SERDC’s investment corporation removed the equipment and fixtures that would have been relevant to Neechi, for use elsewhere. As a result, NCMSC will be dissolved.
The Multi-stakeholder Cooperative was incorporated as a not-for-profit entity. Any surpluses were to be used for community benefit. Its control structure prioritized community groups that provide services in the Lord Selkirk Park and North Point Douglas neighbourhoods as well as tenants. There also was a ‘Friends of Neechi Commons’ membership category open to individuals and to organizations based in other parts of the city.
Neechi Foods Co-Op Ltd. created Neechi Commons at 865 Main Street and operated it from 2013 to 2018 with a huge investment of personal funds and volunteer time. In addition, from 1990 to 2016 Neechi Foods operated Neechi Foods Community Store at 325 Dufferin Avenue.