Ahead of a federal election, Ottawa was rolling out funding and breaking ground on First Nation community infrastructure projects across Northern Ontario. Nipissing First Nation, west of North Bay, received $3.3 million to build a new road between the on-reserve communities of Yellek and Duchesnay.
The construction involves building a 2.1-kilometre paved road with shoulders, walkways and culverts. Local MP Anthony Rota said on Sept.6 that the road gives members “better access to critical services” and will improve community safety.
The province is chipping in $808,650 for the project while Nipissing First Nation is contributing $294,225. “In 2015, our citizens identified this linkage as a priority to address safety concerns stemming from both communities having only one access point,” said Chief Scott McLeod in a press release. “This critical new infrastructure will also open up land for development and lead to more centralized services to improve quality of life for our citizens.”
In the northwest, Kenora MP Bob Nault announced $1.4 million for the design phase of the much-anticipated Beren River Bridge to increase access to seven remote First Nation communities.
The communities involved are Deer Lake, Keewaywin, McDowell Lake, North Spirit Lake, Pikangikum, Poplar Hill and Sandy Lake, all home to 8,100 people. Access to these places is currently limited to winter, aircraft and barge. The project involves the design of a bridge across the Berens River, the extension of a permanent road, and the realignment of the winter road.