The federal government is providing over $16 million in funding to support 13 infrastructure projects throughout the Northwest Territories.
The money is being distributed as part of the Government of Canada’s Small Communities Fund, which targets communities that have fewer than 100,000 residents.
Infrastructure projects in communities from Hay River to Inuvik will benefit from Wednesday’s announcement.
Funding ranges from $125,000 for a new arena on the K’atl’odeeche First Nation reserve near Hay River to $4,297,000 for a utilidor upgrade in Inuvik.
The Town of Hay River itself will benefit from the funding, with $4,223,000 being allocated for the expansion and renovation of the Don Stewart Recreation Centre.
The project is expected to cost roughly $25 million, and should be completed in time for the 2018 Arctic Winter Games which Hay River will co-host with Fort Smith.
“Strategic investments in infrastructure will allow us to build strong, sustainable and inclusive communities as well as create long-term prosperity,” said Michael McLeod, the MP for the Northwest Territories.
“Municipal officials are in the best position to identify what those needs are and the federal Small Communities Fund is just one way the Government of Canada will help them do that.”
McLeod says the purpose of the Small Communities Fund is to provide predictable, dedicated and transparent money wherever needed.
For projects in the NWT, the federal government will fund up to 75% of their total costs.
“Infrastructure is so much more than concrete, water pipes, roads, bridges or buses and train tracks,” added McLeod.
“Infrastructure is about people. It’s what connects Canadians to their communities and allows them to be active.”
Even though Yellowknife has fewer than 100,000 residents, the city is funded under the National Component of the New Build Canada Plan instead of the Small Communities Fund.
In order to be eligible for federal dollars, governments must submit an application through the territory’s department of municipal and community affairs (MACA) before it’s passed on to the Government of Canada.
Under the program, municipalities will still be responsible for financing the project themselves, but can then seek reimbursement through a claims process with MACA.
“Without support from the Government of Canada, these projects would not be possible,” said MACA minister Robert C McLeod.
“Construction on some of these projects will start as early as this summer and will be completed as early as this fall.
“These projects will support the delivery of programs and services to residents and importantly provide economic opportunities through employment and business to NWT residents and companies through construction.”
MP McLeod says much larger allotments of federal cash are coming to the territory, and could be announced ‘very soon.’