Town welcomes federal infrastructure funding

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The Town of Hay River will receive a significant share of infrastructure funding announced by the federal government.

The town will get $4,606,875 from the feds to help pay for a new wastewater lift station. The municipal share of the project will be $1,535,625.

The federal government will also contribute $5,630,025 for the rehabilitation of three roads – Caribou Crescent, Beaver Crescent and Riverview Drive. The town’s share of the project will be $5,670,975.

The funding was announced in Yellowknife on Aug. 13, the same day as a town council meeting in Hay River.

Mayor Kandis Jameson told council the funding was good and exciting news.

Judy Goucher, the town’s senior administrative officer (SAO), also welcomed the funding.

Judy Goucher: Hay River SAO. NNSL file photo

“We are extremely happy with this decision,” Goucher told The Hub. “It’s going to do a lot for the Town of Hay River in terms of allowing us to stretch our dollars to deal with aging infrastructure.”

The SAO noted the road improvement projects will update any in-ground infrastructure that needs to be replaced or repaired, bring roads back to grade and pave them, add curbs, and possibly install sidewalks.

“The reason why the town is paying equal or perhaps a little bit more is the criteria of the (federal) program does not apply to in-ground infrastructure,” she explained.

“The program as a whole is basically 75 per cent federal, 25 per cent municipal, and that’s why with the lift station you’ll see that our percentage of the overall projected cost is about 25 per cent.

β€œIn the case of those three roads, there’s in-ground work that needs to be done, as well. So that’s why the town will fund that infrastructure.”

Goucher said the projects might only involve sidewalks after the people who live on the streets are consulted, because it would be considered a local improvement that would be cost-shared with property owners.

As for when the road work might begin, Goucher said that is expected to be 2020, adding it had originally been hoped to start the four-year phased project in 2019 and finish in 2023.

She said that, if the project starts in 2020, the town might look for opportunities to compress the work so that is still might be concluded in 2023.

Goucher said the new wastewater lift station will position the town to be ready when the new fish plant comes on line, and prepare the town for future growth because the current system is at capacity.

The wastewater lift station, which will be the eighth for the town, will be located in the area of the new fish plant.

Goucher noted that, once a contribution agreement is signed for the lift station funding, design can start hopefully this year and a tender could follow for construction in 2020.

The infrastructure funding for Hay River was part of $31.3 million in federal support announced for 19 projects in the NWT from the Investing in Canada infrastructure plan.

Along with Hay River, federal money will go to Gameti, Whati, Wekeeti, Inuvik, Behchoko, Fort Simpson, Norman Wells, Tuktoyaktuk and Yellowknife.

The various communities and Indigenous groups are contributing more than $14.2 million to the various projects.

“Investments in local infrastructure, including cultural, recreational, road and water projects help our communities provide efficient and reliable services for Northerners in the region,” said NWT MP Michael McLeod in making the announcement in Yellowknife. “This is an excellent example of what can be done when all levels of government work together to build stronger, more self-sustaining communities.”

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