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Millions for water and wastewater
Federal government ponies up $35M to help fund 26 projects across NWT

John McFadden
Northern News Services
Monday, September 12, 2016

The federal government is investing about $35 million on 26 water and wastewater projects across the NWT.

The funding announcement was made by Federal Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi and Robert C. McLeod, the NWT minister responsible for infrastructure, on Sept. 6 in Edmonton.

McLeod, the former municipal and community affairs (MACA) minister, said the territorial government is providing about 25 per cent of the costs of the projects in addition to the federal funding.

According to a news release the projects will help create good jobs and grow the middle class while building a strong foundation for a sustainable economic future.

McLeod said clean water is critical to residents of the NWT and local businesses will benefit from this funding as well.

"Investing in community public infrastructure supports local governments to manage their needs, increase the capacity and lifespan of local assets, and ensure that services to residents are enhanced," McLeod said. "These strategic investments create economic opportunities for our residents and businesses that have a significant impact towards the overall management of the water, and wastewater systems of the Northwest Territories."

McLeod said the $60,000 that is being spent not on specific communities but on research is essentially to determine whether trucked or piped water works best for any given community.

McLeod said it is incumbent of the territorial government to pursue federal money when it is made available.

"Any opportunity we have to access any federal dollars for any project in the NWT big or small we take advantage of this," McLeod said.

"One of the things you learn as a representative of the NWT is to take advantage of money pots if we can get them."

Mark Pocklington, senior administrative officer for Nahanni Butte, said the community has not had specific drinking water issues but that the water treatment retrofit should help ensure that their water remains safe.

"This retrofit will mean that water treatments like chlorine will be added to our water automatically," Pocklington said. "We would still need someone to monitor the system but eventually no one will be needed to push a specific button."

Grant Hood, senior administrative officer in Inuvik, said the funding allows the community to move forward with these sewer system upgrades much more quickly than they would have been able to otherwise.

"These systems are aging, 50-years old in some cases," Hood said. Not only does this funding mean that we can get them replaced starting next year, but we can also now afford to look at other much needed projects in our community."

The City of Yellowknife also received more than $16 million from the feds in the same funding announcement. The money will be used for water and sewer upgrades as well as improvements to the city's 25 bus shelters including making access to them easier for accessibility challenged bus riders.

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