Provincial, federal governments fund water infrastructure upgrades in northwestern Ontario

The federal and provincial governments are providing funding to two northwestern Ontario communities for water infrastructure upgrades.

The funding for projects in Terrace Bay and Red Rock was announced Monday.

The Terrace Bay project includes the replacement of water mains, sanitary sewers and storm sewers along Kenogami Road. Catch basins and manholes will also be installed.

In Red Rock, the funding will go toward upgrading the data collection and automatic control systems at the town’s water treatment plant, as well as water and wastewater infrastructure along Newton Avenue, Stadler Avenue, and Brompton Road.

The province is contributing about $1.7 million to the work, with more than $2 million from the federal government.

The two communities will also provide some funding, with Terrace Bay contributing about $613,000 to its project, and Red Rock about $748,000.

“Even though we are still in the middle of some challenging situations, it is time to be looking forward, time to be thinking about building, time to be renewing our commitment and our work, to making our communities more livable, more resilient and more sustainable places to live and work and raise our families,” said Thunder Bay-Superior North MP and federal health minister Patty Hajdu, who made the federal government’s portion of Monday’s announcement on behalf of federal infrastructure minister Catherine McKenna.

Projects to be tendered in coming months

“Green infrastructure is actually an essential part of growing our economy and providing communities and Canadians with more options to improve access to clean energy, transportation, more energy efficient buildings and better clean water, wastewater, stormwater infrastructure,” she said.

A timeline for the projects wasn’t provided, with representatives of both Red Rock and Terrace Bay saying the work will be tendered in the coming months, after their respective budget processes are complete.

“The residents of Red Rock thank both federal and provincial governments for supporting our project to replace and rehabilitate vital water and wastewater infrastructure,” said Red Rock mayor Darquise Robinson. “These measures will improve water quality, pressure and reliability, reduce maintenance costs and increase the longevity of this asset.”

Terrace Bay mayor Jody Davis said his community’s projects have been in the works for several years.

“Due to financial restraints, we weren’t able to finish it,” he said. “This will allow us to finish the project.”

“Since we started the project, we’ve had several major rain events, and it looks like every community is going to get more events like that due to climate change and the impact it has,” Davis said. “This is critical, to get this done as quickly as possible, for environmental reasons and the protection of our community.”