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Wednesday , 28 July 2021
Arthur C. Green/Lakeland Connect

Two broadband and wireless projects for Lakeland Indigenous communities

The Government of Canada has announced more than $2.9 million in funding for two broadband and wireless projects in Lakeland Indigenous communities.

The governments of Canada and Alberta continue to invest in infrastructure during this extraordinary time to enhance citizens’ quality of life, meet the needs of communities, and create jobs in light of the impacts of COVID-19.

In the Lakeland Region, Prasad Panda, Alberta’s Minister of Infrastructure, announced more than $2.9 million in funding for two broadband and wireless projects in Indigenous communities. The projects are funded under the Rural and Northern Communities Infrastructure Stream of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program.

“The Alberta government is pleased to endorse these broadband and wireless projects that will help improve the lives and livelihoods of families and businesses in Saddle Lake Cree Nation and Cold Lake First Nations and neighbouring areas,” Prasad Panda, Alberta’s Minister of Infrastructure said. “The provision of reliable digital connectivity is critical to supporting learning opportunities, social activities, economic development and community growth within these regions.”

In Alberta, the Government of Canada has invested more than $5.1 billion in over 430 infrastructure projects since 2015 under the Investing in Canada Plan.

A project for the Saddle Lake Cree Nation will receive more than $2.6 million in federal funding. The project will upgrade the internet and cellular infrastructure for the Nation, which will improve the resilience of the broadband and cellular connectivity.

“Saddle Lake Cree Nation is excited to have improved access to cellular and broadband communication,” Ken Large, director of Public Works and Housing, Saddle Lake First Nation said. “Through the last year during COVID-19 our community has been challenged with broadband capacity. This important project will provide our Nation with new opportunities for improved education, economic growth and critical service delivery. Through this partnership with the federal and provincial government Saddle Lake Cree Nation members will experience an improved quality of life on reserve.”

Cold Lake First Nations’ reserves will also benefit from another project receiving $241,544 in federal funding. This project will install Long Term Evolution equipment on both existing and new towers.

“Our nation is excited to be upgrading our existing broadband network and is thankful for the support of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program,” Chief Roger Martens, Cold Lake First Nations said. “Increased internet connectivity is a priority for our community members and is something that we have been striving towards for several years. The new infrastructure will lead to more opportunities for training, education, and entrepreneurship but will also increase overall community well-being.”

Under the Investing in Canada Plan, the federal government is investing more than $180 billion over 12 years in public transit projects, green infrastructure, social infrastructure, trade and transportation routes, and Canada’s rural and northern communities.

Providing communities with reliable and sustainable infrastructure is a shared priority for both governments. Infrastructure Canada is investing more than $2.9 million in these projects. This funding is conditional on federal requirements regarding Indigenous consultations and environmental and/or impact assessments being met.

The project will upgrade the internet and cellular infrastructure for the Nation, which will improve the resilience of the broadband and cellular connectivity.

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About Arthur C. Green

Arthur C. Green is from Whitbourne Newfoundland and graduated from the CNA Journalism Program. Arthur also studied Business Marketing and Political Science at Memorial University in Essex England and St. John's Newfoundland. Green has worked for such organizations as CBC, CBC Radio, NTV, Saltwire, Great West Media, CKLB Radio, Vista Radio, and Postmedia. He also loves Jiggs Dinner!