Yukon North Of Ordinary

News archive for January 22, 2013

CanNor to invest $1.8 million in six projects

The City of Whitehorse received $605,000 in federal funding toward a back-up generator for the Canada Games Centre today that will allow the recreation site to serve as an emergency shelter.

By Ainslie Cruickshank on January 22, 2013 at 4:09 pm

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

FEDERAL LARGESSE UNVEILED – Yukon MP Ryan Leef (foreground) discusses the federal funding during this morning’s news conference as Mayor Dan Curtis looks on. Pictured on the left: MATH’IEYA ALATINI

The City of Whitehorse received $605,000 in federal funding toward a back-up generator for the Canada Games Centre today that will allow the recreation site to serve as an emergency shelter.

The city will contribute $600,000 toward the project.

Yukon MP Ryan Leef announced the funding allotment today at the Games Centre, joined by Whitehorse Mayor Dan Curtis.

Through its Community Infrastructure Improvements Fund, the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, or CanNor, is investing $1.8 million over two years in six projects across the territory, Leef announced.

The projects will help improve community recreational facilities and create Yukon jobs, the MP said.

“The Canada Games Centre, obviously, is used by thousands of Yukon families throughout the year, and having a sound facility in place that can serve as an emergency shelter is an added advantage for the community of Whitehorse,” said Leef.

Curtis, who called the Games Centre the jewel of the Yukon, said he hopes the generator will never have to be used.

But “the worst thing you can do is not plan for an imminent tragedy that might happen, and we’re not immune to that; we’re not immune to that economically, we’re not immune to that demographically or geologically either, so we have to prepare,” Curtis said.

“This is just an amazing example of working in partnership and how we can get somewhere by working together.

“Through a variety of funding opportunities over the past several years, the City of Whitehorse has been able to make significant improvements to our infrastructure.”

CanNor is also providing:

• $145,400 for upgrades to tthe Kwanlin Dun First Nation’s skating rink and softball field (KDFN contributed $210,600 to the project);

• $382,770 for upgrades to the community skating rink and fitness centre in Burwash Landing (the Kluane First Nation contributed $287,346 to the project, while the local private sector contributed $262,130);

• $170,000 for upgrades to the curling rink in Haines Junction, which has been closed for the past two winters (the Village of Haines Junction contributed $175,000 to the project);

• $121,000 toward a back-up heating system for the recreation complex in Watson Lake (the Town of Watson Lake contributed $174,000 to the project); and

• $425,000 for renovations and expansions of the Danoja Zho Cultural Centre in Dawson City (the Trondek Hwech’in First Nation contributed $640,00 to the project, while $580,000 will come from the federal gas tax fund).

“Our cultural centre has been a major focal point in our community for over 15 years, and we are ready to refresh our facility and expand the cultural offerings and activities that take place within,” said Eddie Taylor, chief of the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in First Nation.

“The Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in are pleased with the support we’ve received from the Government of Canada for our efforts.”

“These facilities will promote healthy and active lifestyles within communities and provide opportunities for young people and community members to participate in sport and recreation,” said Leef.

“I’m very pleased that the Canadian government has decided to assist us with our recreation complex,” said Kluane Chief Math’ieya Alatini, who was also at today’s announcement.

“The complex is up and operational; we’ve got ice in there now and the kids are out skating, so it’s great.”

Alatini said she’s noticed there have been a lot more organized community activities since the complex opened.

“Everybody’s out there being more active,” she said, noting that the kids especially are excited about the skating rink.

The First Nation prioritized the rink about 18 months ago, setting aside land and approaching businesses and mining companies for contributions, the chief said.

In an interview following the press conference, Leef said the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation in Old Crow has applied for federal funding through CanNor for a recreation centre. That application is under review currently.

Darius Elias, the independent MLA for Vuntut Gwitchin, raised the issue of building a recreation centre in Old Crow several times during the fall legislative sitting.

Community Services Minister Elaine Taylor committed to continue working with the First Nation on the issue of recreation in the Yukon’s most remote community.

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