Governments partner to invest in community infrastructure

Currie Dixon, MLA for Copperbelt NorthAs submitted to the Whitehorse Star on Friday, July 29, 2016
by Currie Dixon, Minister of Community Services

Our government knows that improving the territory’s infrastructure is critical for our economy, and for maintaining the quality of life for communities throughout Yukon.

This week our Member of Parliament Larry Bagnell and I announced that the Government of Yukon and the Government of Canada would be spending over $78 million on 17 road, bridge and other infrastructure projects throughout the territory. Just a few weeks ago, I traveled to Ottawa to sign an agreement with the federal government to access new infrastructure money that will fund 21 projects around Yukon, worth $68 million, specifically for drinking water and wastewater. Yukon was the first jurisdiction in Canada to sign onto this new agreement and to access this money. Altogether, MP Bagnell and I have announced over $150 million in infrastructure funding for Yukon since March.

These investments have many benefits for Yukon. Repairing and upgrading roads and bridges facilitate economic activity; water and wastewater projects maintain and improve the quality of life for small communities throughout the territory; and the construction of these infrastructure projects creates jobs and economic activity for Yukon businesses.

Both the Government of Canada and the Government of Yukon have made infrastructure investment a priority and through our close working relationship and partnership, we’ve been able to make these considerable investments. For the Yukon government’s part, we’ve been able to do this while maintaining a balanced budget and avoiding taking on any net debt. Were it not for our strong financial position, these investments wouldn’t be possible.

Small Communities Fund

Community Services Minister Currie Dixon and Yukon MP Larry Bagnell at the announcement earlier this week of over $78 million in federal/Yukon investment for road, bridge and other infrastructure projects in Yukon.

Likewise, the work occurring in Yukon municipalities would not be possible without the support, participation and input of municipal governments. Over the course of the past year, we have worked closely with Mayors and Councils to identify projects and ensure that our priorities are aligned. In Faro, upgrades will be done to the sewage lagoon and, in Haines Junction, a new wastewater station and building will be constructed. In Whitehorse, 6th Avenue will be reconstructed between Ogilvie and Jarvis Streets. In many cases, projects occurring in municipalities would not have been possible without this investment from the governments of Canada and Yukon.

There is also significant work occurring beyond our municipalities. This week’s announcement also included around $40 million in funding for bridges and highways. Over the course of the next few years, the Nares River Bridge in Carcross, the Yukon River Bridge in Carmacks, the Nisutlin Bay Bridge in Teslin and the Fox Creek Bridge near Lake Laberge will see replacement, rehabilitation, or improvements.

As these various projects roll out, I look forward to seeing the economic and social benefits that they will bring over the course of the coming months and years.