The federal government on Thursday said it would invest $10 million to support Indigenous-led infrastructure projects across the NWT.
Yvonne Jones, parliamentary secretary to the minister of northern affairs, said the money would cover “critical infrastructure and housing needs as identified by First Nations.”
The funds will be divided between the Akaitcho and Dehcho regions, which each receive $5 million. A further announcement regarding Métis housing and infrastructure is expected on Friday.
Newly elected Dehcho First Nations Grand Chief Kenneth Cayen said he was “very surprised” by the funding. Most of the money will be directed toward repairs and upgrades for older homes, Cayen said, and potentially allow some families to access new homes.
“The fact that many Indigenous northerners don’t have a safe and affordable space to call home is unacceptable,” said Jones. She said the federal government would commit to “closing the infrastructure gap in Indigenous communities by 2030.”
Separately, with a snap election hoving into view, Ottawa on Thursday also announced more than $5 million for seven sewage and landfill-related projects across the NWT. The territorial government will contribute almost a further $2 million toward the upgrades.
Fort Smith is set to receive more than $1.4 million in combined funding toward a compost treatment facility that will divert organic waste and decrease landfill use by approximately 50 percent.
“This has enabled us to rethink what we do with waste and take the necessary action to manage it better,” Mayor of Fort Smith Lynn Napier was quoted as saying.
Other communities that will receive funding include:
- Town of Inuvik – $800,000
- Hamlet of Fort Resolution – $84,965
- Community Government of Behchokǫ̀ – $1,650,000
- Village of Fort Simpson – $1,000,000
- GNWT landfill work in Behchokǫ̀, Gamèti, Fort Providence, Wekweètì, and Whatì – $1,485,000
- Hamlet of Paulatuk – $465,000