The Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) has achieved financial close on a $15.4 million loan to Kahkewistahaw Business Landing Limited Partnership, wholly owned by Kahkewistahaw First Nation (KFN). The CIB’s investment will accelerate the Kahkewistahaw Landing Infrastructure urban reserve project.

The long-term financing is the CIB’s second opportunity under the Indigenous Community Infrastructure Initiative (ICII) and its first investment in Saskatchewan. The First Nations Bank of Canada and Indigenous Services Canada have also contributed to the project.

“We are proud of this partnership which will help deliver socio-economic benefits to the Kahkewistahaw community in Saskatoon,” said Ehren Cory, CEO, Canada Infrastructure Bank. “This investment is the second of many to come under our Indigenous Community Infrastructure Initiative. We are committed to collaborating with First Nation, Métis and Inuit communities to help develop inclusive and sustainable infrastructure.”

The CIB’s investment will be used for enabling infrastructure such as road works, utilities and broadband connectivity. The enabling infrastructure will allow KFN to build a multi-use gathering place that will house: a medical centre providing culturally sensitive social services, commercial and office space, a conference centre and hotel and the headquarters for the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations.

“Working with the CIB has been a very positive experience for us,” said Chief Evan Taypotat, Kahkewistahaw First Nation. “The CIB really took the time to understand every aspect of this project and work with our team as a true partner in developing a financing model that works within our specific circumstances. We’re extremely pleased to have them as our project partner alongside the City of Saskatoon, Indigenous Services Canada, the First Nations Bank of Canada and Export Development Canada. We thank all for helping Kahkewistahaw First Nation in this step towards sovereignty.”

Kahkewistahaw Landing will help foster greater self-sufficiency and independence for First Nation businesses and professionals by improving their access to the provincial business capital of Saskatoon. The investment will benefit the KFN community members and the broader Indigenous population that resides in Saskatoon.

“I see this financing structure as a game changer in terms of First Nations’ infrastructure project financing,” said Chris Sicotte, Board Chair of the Kahkewistahaw Economic Management Corporation. “The missing link for Indigenous community led major projects, has always been a good mechanism to allow for financing the underlying infrastructure which has hindered the progress of many First Nation’s projects based on the issues surrounding on-reserve lending. The CIB’s financing is a very elegant model that addresses these issues and I believe will be a major catalyst for the development of many First Nations infrastructure projects across Canada.”

Featured image: (KEMC Developments)

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