Indigenous cultural camps, road upgrades, trails development, wastewater and solid waste management projects across the Northwest Territories all received a financial boost Tuesday from the federal government as well as various communities and Indigenous groups.
MP for the NWT, Michael McLeod along with Alfred Moses the territorial minister for Municipal and Community Affairs (MACA) made the funding announcement outdoors at the teepee overlooking Frame Lake beside the Legislative Assembly building.
Nineteen infrastructure projects in total are receiving funding with more than $31 million of it coming from the Feds and more than $14 million from communities and Indigenous groups.
They include cultural camps for the Indigenous community governments in Gameti, Whati and Wekweeti and in Inuvik for the Nihat Gwich’in Council.
These new camps will provide community members with a place to host culturally significant events and local traditional gatherings.
Funding will also go to upgrading the Ko Gocho Centre in Behchoko and the teepee at the Edhaa Historical Site in Fort Simpson to increase its lifespan.
Road upgrades will happen in several communities including Hay River, Fort Simpson, Norman Wells, Tuktoyaktuk and Yellowknife.
McLeod says further investments in trail development, wastewater and solid waste management projects will also benefit communities across the territory.
“Investment in local infrastructure…helps our communities provide efficient and reliable services for Northerners,” McLeod said. “This is an excellent example of what can be done when all levels of government work together to build stronger, most self-sustaining communities.”
Both McLeod and Moses were adamant that this funding announcement has nothing to do with pending federal and territorial elections with McLeod noting that the NWT received more in federal funding last year than this year.
After the announcement, McLeod addressed the Internet outage that plagued much of the territory on Monday.
“It’s time the Internet providers across the Northwest Territories start looking at having a plan B. A lot of the system, especially along the highways, are exposed and are very accessible to those who want to do damage to the Internet,” McLeod said. “We need to take a step back and see how we can avoid having the system shut down for a couple of days or even part of a day where it causes havoc for communities and puts safety of individuals at risk. We have to deal with redundancies.”
McLeod says he expects to meet with officials from Northwestel to see how backup plans could work.
RCMP are investigating two major Internet outages in the NWT in less than a month along Hwy 3 between Yellowknife and Behchoko as acts of vandalism.