CIB lending $7.9 million to Netmizaaggamig Nishnaabeg for critical infrastructure

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

The Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) has agreed to lend $7.9 million to Netmizaaggamig Nishnaabeg to build commercial and residential development on reserve.

Funding will be used for construction of approximately one kilometre of new road, the extension of water services tied into the existing water treatment system, the extension of existing fixed wireless broadband and the electrification of 55 new building lots.

Construction is expected to conclude by the end of 2023. To-date, 10 new homes are under construction, with early watermain and road works underway.

“Water, electricity and internet are essential to supporting long-term community and economic growth,” said Ehren Cory, CEO at CIB. “Through our $7.9 million partnership with Netmizaaggamig Nishnaabeg, we can ensure this critical infrastructure is prioritized to accommodate more community services, businesses and residences.

“As part of our mandate, the CIB is committed to collaborating with First Nation, Métis and Inuit communities to help deliver inclusive and sustainable infrastructure which will benefit future generations.”

Multi-family affordable and social housing, market and staff housing and commercial spaces will be constructed on the fully-serviced lots Nishnaabeg is an Ojibwe First Nation of more than 1,000 members in northern Ontario, about 55 kilometres east of Marathon on the shore of White Lake. As a result of limited developable land and lack of existing high-quality housing, only 32 per cent of its membership live on-reserve.

In 2021, Netmizaaggamig Nishnaabeg added over 1,000 hectares of land to its nearby Pic Mobert North reserve, on which this project will be situated. Netmizaaggamig Nishnaabeg has already completed a land use plan for the newly added lands, which includes the new mixed commercial and residential subdivision.

With mining and forestry projects underway in the region, this investment will ensure Netmizaaggamig Nishnaabeg has the infrastructure necessary to attract more off-reserve Nation members to the community.

“For many years, my community’s growth and development was frustrated due to a lack of land,” said Louis Kwissiwa, Chief, Netmizaaggamig Nishnaabeg. “The recent expansion of our reserve land base provides a long overdue opportunity to proceed with urgently needed community housing and other community and economic development projects.

“The investment from the CIB was essential to completing the financing for this project, that includes community equity and funding from various other community partners.”

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