Thirteen communities in the NWT will be moving ahead with a wide range of municipal infrastructure projects following the allocation of $16 million in federal funding towards the initiatives.
“Construction on some of these projects will start as early as this summer and be complete as early as this fall,” said GNWT minister of Municipal and Community Affairs Robert C. McLeod, who jointly announced the funding today in Yellowknife with NWT MP Michael McLeod.
All told, the 13 projects – which range from road repairs to recreation centre retrofits – will cost just under $50 million to complete, with community governments, funded largely by MACA transfers, kicking in the other $33.6 million. Some projects, such as the utilidor upgrade in Inuvik, are seeing as much as 75 percent of their costs covered by federal money. Others are getting far less, like the Katlodeeche First Nation’s arena, which is seeing only 8.3 percent of its cost covered by the feds.
Although a press conference was deemed appropriate, the federal portion of the funding is not technically new money; the $16 million comes from the federal Small Communities Fund established by the previous federal government, which allocated $25.8 million to the NWT for projects undertaken from 2014 to 2024. That said, MP McLeod promised that “in the new budget [to be tabled in Ottawa next week] we’ll see new monies announced and new programs that will have different criteria.”
The roughly $10 million left over in the Small Communities Fund will be allocated as other NWT communities submit their applications.
“We’re anticipating additional announcements later this year, and many other NWT community governments are in the process of preparing their applications for approval,” said McLeod.
Although Yellowknife is under the population cutoff to be eligible for Small Communities Fund money, the City is preparing an application for a different pot of federal money, the National Regional Component, says minister McLeod.
“We just haven’t reached Yellowknife yet. There will be additional new monies announced that Yellowknife will certainly be able to draw down on, especially in the green infrastructure area, for instance, wastewater facilities.”
The money announced today may not be new money and may not be a particularly large amount, but MP McLeod made it clear that much bigger allotments of federal cash, especially those earmarked for key transportation infrastructure like highways, was on its way.
“The money for the transportation initiatives is being drawn down in three different bundles, the first one is approved, the second one, the agreements have all been worked out and you should hear about it in short order, then there’s going to be a third bundle.”
Could he say what was going to be included in the second bundle?
“I think that’s something you should talk to the transportation minister about, I’d rather not be announcing before the announcement, and speculating on which ones are actually going to stay in the bundle; it still has several steps to take before it will be announced.”
Projects Receiving the Funding
Pool and Youth Center Retrofit, $650K
Community Road Rehabilitation, $528K
Fitness Center, $597, 685
Wastewater Systems Upgrade, $1,545,334
Water Treatment Plant Upgrade, $431,666
Cement Floor for Arena, $600,000
Franklin Street Sewer Replacement, $1,445,000
Community Road Chipseal, $1,445,000
Utilidor Replacement Project, $5,729,334
Katlodeeche First Nation
Katlodeeche First Nation Arena, $1,500,000
Solid Waste Site Upgrade, $1,125,000
Recreation Center Expansion & Modernization, $24,500,000
Paulatuk, Gameti, Wekweeti
Water Treatment Plants, $9,500,000