The Dryden Observer

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Large federal investment – $60 million for grid power in Pikangikum, $16 million for housing, $1.2 million for safe water

By Dryden

Observer Staff

The past week has seen close to $80 million in federal funding announcements for First Nations infrastructure projects in the Northwest.

The largest of them all came Aug. 17 as Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Carolyn Bennett announced $60.2 million in funding for Wataynikaneyap Power to build a 117-kilometre power line with associated infrastructure from Red Lake into the local distribution system at Pikangikum First Nation.

Construction on the power line will begin in fall 2017. Completion is expected in fall 2018.

“I am thrilled that Pikangikum can look forward to a constant source of power to allow our local services to operate normally,” said Pikangikum Chief Dean Owen. “We look forward to a safer and healthier future with power for heat and light on a consistent basis. Pikangikum can now move forward with infrastructure, economic development and community growth. It’s very exciting! We will now be able to turn on our Christmas lights in the Christmas days to come.”

Funds for housing

The Kenora Riding received a significant chunk of the federal budget’s $66.2 million investment in First Nations housing, drawing over $16 million for housing builds and upgrades in 17 Grand Council Treaty #3 First Nations.

They include: Ojibways of Onigaming First Nation ($1,675,600), Ochiichagwe’babigo’ining Nation AKA Dalles ($292,200), Grassy Narrows First Nation ($1,151,600), Anishinabe of Wauzhushk Onigum First Nation AKA Rat Portage ($1,426,000), Shoal Lake No. 40 First Nation ($1,534,900), Wabauskang First Nation ($210,000), Naotkamegwanning (Whitefish Bay) First Nation ($1,084,100), Lac Seul First Nation ($1,398,120), Wabigoon Lake Ojibway Nation ($432,200), Iskatewizaagegan No. 39 Independent First Nation ($1,540,000), Anishnaabeg of Naongashiing ($1,010,600), Couchiching ($1,026,600), Nigigoonsiminikaaning ($755,000), Rainy River ($1,153,180), Seine River ($906,600), Mitaanjigamiing ($934,400) and Lac Des Mille Lacs ($32,782).

Ending long-term drinking water advisories

On Aug. 18, Kenora MP Bob Nault joined Minister Bennett in announcing $1.2 million to support eight water infrastructure projects in Grand Council Treaty #3.

Through these investments, the Government of Canada is working with First Nations on sustainable approaches to eliminate long-term drinking water advisories by March 2021. The communities receiveing funding are: Wabauskang ($231,574), Anishinabe of Wauzhushk Onigum ($150,000), Grassy Narrows ($100,000), Northwest Angle #33 ($115,117), Northwest Angle #37 – Animakee Wa Zhing #37 ($183,057), Shoal Lake #40 ($30,000), Obashkaandagaang – Washagamis Bay ($100,000), Bimose ($326,000).

Dryden Native Friendship Centre gets $100K FedNor boost

Indigenous families in the Dryden will benefit from a safer and fully-accessible facility for cultural education, development and wellness as a result of a $100,000 investment from the Government of Canada.

The contribution will be used to install a security system and accessibility lift, as well as renovate the second floor of the Dryden Native Friendship Centre, an important community asset that provides a variety of services for off-reserve Indigenous people.

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