Enoch Cree Nation paving main drag with $15M infrastructure loan

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The work, touted by CIB as their first investment in an Indigenous-led enabling infrastructure project in Alberta, will add a multi-use trail and improved lighting, drainage and pedestrian crossings to what was once a wagon trail.

The enhanced seven kilometres of the road will connect the village core 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,” the release read. “Throughout construction, community members will benefit from valuable training and employment opportunities.”

An artist’s rendering of the Arena Road paving project underway on Enoch Cree Nation. Photo by Hand-out /Canada Infrastructure Bank

The work is expected to build capacity for larger projects in the future.

“A crew of over 30 Indigenous employees — from Enoch administration and finance, to the road construction and development crew — are advancing the project.”

CIB expects the work to be substantially completed by the end of the year.

Enoch Cree Nation Chief Cody Thomas said the upgrade is an accomplishment for the entire community.

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“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),” he said in the release. “Moving forward these projects will lay the foundation and help look after the next generations to come.”

Troy McDonald, the nation’s senior manager of infrastructure, said having access to a CIB loan helps his division plan for those larger projects.

“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.”

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