Diane Archie: Update on Community Access Program

Ministers' Statements and Speeches

Yellowknife — June 4, 2021

Check against delivery

 

Mr. Speaker, I would like to update Members and the public on the Community Access Program administered by the Department of Infrastructure.

The Community Access Program provides contribution funding to communities across the Northwest Territories for the construction and rehabilitation of transportation and marine infrastructure. The program is application-based with a bi-annual intake of proposals. These projects support the development of a strong northern workforce through construction activities, economic and training opportunities.

Mr. Speaker, our Regional Superintendents work closely with the communities to support projects that meet local priorities. I am pleased to report that communities take advantage of opportunity. In 2019-2020, 22 projects were supported across all five regions. This resulted in over $1 million dollars invested into transportation and marine infrastructure. Projects ranged from building and maintaining ice roads, community trails and access roads, to completing necessary marine facility upgrades. In addition to employment, the construction and maintenance of these projects provided valuable work experience in the operation of heavy equipment, modern road construction and environmental protection techniques, and project management.

Mr. Speaker, the benefits of this program extend beyond the construction phase. These trail and dock projects improve quality of life for residents by increasing access for on-the-land activities like harvesting and educational programming, allowing for more convenient community and regional road transportation access for residents, and furthering economic activity like tourism. There is also a sense of community pride and accomplishment that comes along with delivering and completing these community-based priority projects.

The Community Access Program provides funding for construction projects to meet specific community needs such as: access roads to hunting, fishing, wood harvesting and community recreational areas; trails connecting to the community for walking, hiking, recreational, and traditional activities; docks and wharves to support boating and marine activities, harvesting, and recreational uses; and winter access to granular sources.

Mr. Speaker, the Department of Infrastructure is doing its part to support the 19th Legislative Assembly’s goal of increasing economic and training opportunities across the Northwest Territories through the Community Access Program. We have seen great uptake in the communities, and we are continuing to work closely with leaders to identify future projects to be considered under the Community Access Program in 2021-2022.

Quyanainni, Mr. Speaker.