The Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) is providing a $15 million loan to support the Enoch Cree Nation Arena Road Rebuild Project in partnership with Enoch Cree Nation, Yekau Lake Settlement Trust, and River Cree Development Corporation.

Through the financing partnership, the main transportation artery within the Enoch Cree Nation reserve will be paved and upgraded to include pedestrian crossings and a new multi-use pedestrian trail.

The enhanced seven kilometres of the road will connect the village core area to the economic hub of the community and future on-reserve developments. Once completed, the upgraded access road, street lighting and pedestrian safety features will support community well-being, enable economic development and offer safer commuting for all users.

“Our loan will enable Enoch Cree Nation to upgrade a critical transportation artery on its reserve. The project fills an Indigenous infrastructure gap and supports community well-being and economic development. As our first investment in Alberta towards Indigenous-led enabling infrastructure, this partnership will help the First Nation’s capacity to develop and deliver future infrastructure projects,” said Ehren Cory, CEO, Canada Infrastructure Bank.

Throughout construction, community members will benefit from valuable training and employment opportunities, which will create capacity within the community. The project expands Enoch Cree Nation’s in-house civil construction and maintenance capabilities, allowing the First Nation and its band-owned contracting company to perform and deliver on future larger civil projects. A crew of over 30 Indigenous employees – from Enoch administration and finance, to the road construction and development crew – are advancing the project.

A rendering of the upgraded road and new pedestrian trail. (CNW Group/Canada Infrastructure Bank)

“Having this project become a reality, is an accomplishment for all of us, as a Nation. Working with Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) helps secure our economic development and the future of infrastructure advancements within our community. Expanding and modernizing our current infrastructure has been long overdue and having a project like this will improve the quality of life for every Nation Member, and by this, ensure the safety of Maskekosihk (Enoch Cree Nation). Moving forward these projects will lay the foundation and help look after the next generations to come,” said Cody Thomas, Chief of Enoch Cree Nation.

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Enoch Arena Road is being financed through the CIB’s Indigenous Community Infrastructure Initiative, which lends to projects that deliver a direct benefit to Indigenous communities.

“Seeing this project become a reality for the Nation has been a very gratifying moment for not only the Infrastructure branch of Enoch Cree Nation, but to all our Nation members. Securing this loan from the Canada Infrastructure Bank, shows the country that First Nations are striving to better our own infrastructure to continue to pursue a higher quality of life for our people, now and in the future. Knowing that we could access this loan from CIB has helped us in the planning and development of our infrastructure,” said Troy McDonald, Senior Manager of Infrastructure, Enoch Cree Nation.

By tapping into CIB financing, Enoch Cree Nation, supported by its trust, the Yekau Lake Trust, will access affordable capital to accelerate and future-proof its community’s infrastructure needs. This partnership will address the current infrastructure gap while ensuring the community can continue to invest in its many other economic and social priorities.

“The day many Enoch Cree Nation band members have been dreaming about for decades is finally coming true. Upgrading an unsafe generationally used travel route in the Nation from what once was an old wagon trail will now be a modern City of Edmonton standard and designed built road. With the guidance and support from our Nation’s Chief and Council, we are slowly but surely closing a long existing infrastructure gap in our First Nation with this access to below-market-rate investment from the Canada Infrastructure Bank. With loan security being provided by our Yekau Lake Trust, we are securing our economic future by leveraging our existing assets for the benefit of the entire community,” said Ron Morin Jr, Capital Projects Coordinator, Enoch Cree Nation.

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The project is expected to reach substantial completion by the end of 2023.

Featured image: Construction is underway for the Enoch Cree Nation Arena Road. (CNW Group/Canada Infrastructure Bank)


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