Canada is partnering with First Nations to build healthier communities by investing in on-reserve infrastructure to meet their growing needs.
Today, the Honourable Seamus O’Regan, Minister of Indigenous Services, met with Chief Gabriel Atwin and the council of Kingsclear and visited their community and the new pedway underpass built with Gas tax Funds.
A key safety priority for the community, the pedway opened in December 2018, allowing for safer pedestrian and bicycle passage across New Brunswick Highway Route 102. The pedway now safely connects the community, which was previously separated by the highway.
Minister O’Regan also announced close to $30 million for on-reserve infrastructure projects in First Nations communities across the country, made possible due to the federal Gas Tax Fund, which includes $1.6 million for the pedway underpass.
During his visit to Kingsclear, Minister O’Regan also had the opportunity to visit the community’s upgraded wastewater treatment system. Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) provided more than $3 million for the wastewater treatment system upgrades, which were completed in July 2018.
“Investing in infrastructure is about investing in people; in their health and in their well-being. This is how we build safe and prosperous communities. Today I announced $1.6 million for the construction costs of the Kingsclear pedway. Investments like this help meet the urgent infrastructure needs of First Nations communities and are part of a long-term strategy for First Nations community infrastructure.”
The Honourable Seamus O’Regan, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Indigenous Services
“We are pleased with the announcement and federal funding for the pedestrian walkway, an essential piece of infrastructure in our community. For many years the safety of our community members has been compromised due to the dissection of our community by the [former TransCanada] highway. While more work is needed to address the safety concerns of all our community members, visitors and patrons to our community, this is a positive step towards ensuring our community members can safely travel by foot to access all areas of our community.”
Chief Gabriel Atwin
Kingsclear First Nation
Kingsclear is located 20 kilometres west of Fredericton, New Brunswick, on the west bank of the Saint John River. The community’s total population of approximately 1,044 people includes 310 members that live off reserve.
This pedway project became a high priority for Kingsclear after the death of a community member while crossing the highway last September.
The federal Gas Tax Fund, managed by Infrastructure Canada, delivers over $2 billion every year to 3,600 communities across the country. In recent years, the funding has supported approximately 4,000 projects each year. Communities select how best to direct the funds with the flexibility to make strategic investments.
Between 2014-15 and 2018-19, the ISC Gas Tax Fund allocations totaled $138.7 million towards hundreds of on-reserve infrastructure improvement projects.
Because many municipalities across Canada continue to face serious infrastructure deficits, Budget 2019 created a one-time transfer of $2.2 billion through the federal Gas Tax Fund to address short-term priorities in municipalities and First Nations communities. This will double the Government of Canada’s commitment to municipalities in 2018-19 and will provide much needed infrastructure funding for communities of all sizes across the country.
The total of close to $30 million ISC provided during 2018-2019 went to the following projects:
- $17.1 million for Manitoba school projects, which will provide infrastructure upgrades for four schools in the province.
- $4.57 million in British Columbia: $4.07 million to support a broadband connectivity project, and $500,000 on a road drainage project in Ahousaht First Nation.
- $4.6 million in Atlantic: $1.6 million for a pedestrian underpass in Kingsclear First Nation; up to $1.5 million for a fire hall in Sheshatshiu Innu First Nation; and up to $1.5 million for a fire hall in Lennox Island First Nation.
- $3.13 million in Québec for a district heating system in Oujé Bougoumou.