CIB invests $27.3 million in Indigenous-owned wastewater facility near Saskatoon

Ontario Construction News staff writer

The Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) and English River First Nation (ERFN) announced financial close on a $27.3 million financing agreement. The CIB is extending a loan to build a new wastewater treatment facility and critical infrastructure on ERFN’s Grasswoods Urban Reserve near Saskatoon.

The new facility will ensure Grasswoods Urban Reserve has the infrastructure necessary to enable long-term community growth.

“The CIB is proud to partner with English River First Nation and Des Nedhe Group to invest in critical infrastructure at the Grasswoods Urban Reserve,” said Ehren Cory, CEO, Canada Infrastructure Bank. “Our $27.3 million investment will accelerate construction of a new wastewater treatment facility, providing the community with the certainty they need to plan for future development.”

Completing the wastewater treatment infrastructure in 2024 will enable the transition away from septic wastewater systems, reduce environmental impacts and support sustainable growth. Its additional capacity will also allow Des Nedhe Group to provide wastewater treatment services to the neighbouring rural municipality of Corman Park, along with employment and training opportunities for First Nations community members.

Des Nedhe Group is currently developing ERFN’s 135-acre Grasswoods Urban Reserve, which will allow the community to lease the desirable land to commercial partners.

“At Grasswoods Urban Reserve, we’re leading the way with progressive environmental technologies and creating a sustainable future where economic success and environmental stewardship go hand in hand,” said Sean Willy, president and CEO, Des Nedhe Group.

By tapping into the CIB’s Indigenous Community Infrastructure Initiative, ERFN can access affordable capital to accelerate and future-proof their community. ERFN, through Des Nedhe Group, will own and operate the facility, with initial operations and training led by Saskatchewan Water Corporation.


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