Pre-election budget goodie to fund Berens River bridge and road – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – April 22, 2024)

Infrastructure project would bring permanent road to Indigenous communities and connect lithium deposits to markets

Ottawa appears willing to put some significant funding dollars behind the long-overdue Berens River bridge and road project in northwestern Ontario.

Yet it still remains a mystery on how much is being allocated to this key piece of Indigenous-led infrastructure project that will link seven remote communities to the provincial highway system for the first time and allow a lithium mine development company to connect to the marketplace.

A line item in last week’s federal budget — as part a raft of $9 billion in new spending for Indigenous people and communities over five years — makes mention of funding for the Berens bridge and all-season road.

But the government, inexplicably, lumped funding for the Berens project together with another all-seasons road project in Saskatchewan, for the sum total of $89 million. Little in the way of details was available from Indigenous Services Canada, the department designated to receive the funding.

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