The Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) and Netmizaaggamig Nishnaabeg (formerly Pic Mobert First Nation) finalized an agreement for the CIB to lend $7.9 million towards critical infrastructure required for commercial and residential development that will improve living standards on reserve.

The CIB’s financing enables the 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. The fully serviced building lots will accommodate multi-family affordable and social housing, market and staff housing and commercial use for the benefit of community members living on-reserve.

“Water, electricity and internet are essential to supporting long-term community and economic growth. 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,” said Ehren Cory, CEO, Canada Infrastructure Bank.

Netmizaaggamig Nishnaabeg is an Ojibwe First Nation of more than 1,000 members located in northern Ontario, approximately 55 kilometres east of Marathon, along the eastern shores 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.

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“For many years, my community’s growth and development was frustrated due to a lack of land. 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. Our experience with the CIB was an extremely positive one and they are clearly committed to the growth and development of Indigenous communities,” said Louis Kwissiwa, Chief, Netmizaaggamig Nishnaabeg.

The CIB’s investment helps address an economic and structural lending gap by enabling Netmizaaggamig Nishnaabeg to access flexible and affordable financing to grow and strengthen their community. 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.

“Communities need modern and well-built infrastructure to thrive. The Canada Infrastructure Bank’s financing will help the Netmizaaggamig Nishnaabeg build up their community to improve the quality of life for generations to come. Congratulations to the Chief and Council on this important work,” said Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services and MP for Thunder Bay-Superior North.

Featured image: (CIB)

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