Dauphin, Manitoba - Rural and Northern Manitobawill benefit from more than a dozen new projects jointly announced today by the governments of Canada and Manitoba. Included in the $14-million investment under the Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund (MRIF) are two broadband networks for more than 90 communities in the Parklands area and Northern Manitoba, and 12 municipal infrastructure projects which include significant investments in upgrades to municipal wastewater treatment systems. Manitoba Premier Gary Doer and Reg Alcock, President of the Treasury Board and Minister Responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board, on behalf of Stephen Owen, Minister of Western Economic Diversification and Minister of State (Sport), made the announcement today. “The new Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund will focus 80 per cent of its funding on projects in northern and rural Manitoba, ” said Premier Doer. “These projects are a good mix of the type of work communities are designating as their first priority.” “These are strategic investments that will have a lasting impact on the future economic development of rural and northern Manitoba,” said Minister Alcock. “The Government of Canada continues to support infrastructure projects – the base of all communities.” The Rural/Northern Federal Provincial Local Consultative Committee (FPLCC) on Infrastructure recommended the connectivity and green projects to MRIF. FPLCC is a local government body that was created to provide input in the project selection process for MRIF. “We are extremely pleased to see the two levels of government working together to improve the quality of life for Northern Manitobans,” commented Reg Meade, President of the Northern Association of Community Councils (NACC). “Clean water and the ability to connect to global information means a lot to our communities, many of which are isolated. The NACC is proud to have played a role in securing these projects as part of the FPLCC.” “Our communities will benefit greatly from the projects announced today under MRIF,” said Ron Bell, FPLCC member and President of the Association of Manitoba Municipalities (AMM). “Access to high speed information is important in ensuring that our rural communities are able to maintain a current level of global communication. Improvements to our water and waste systems are essential to the health and viability of our citizens and the future of our rural and northern environments.” The governments of Canada and Manitoba each committed up to $5.13 million for their share of the fourteen projects announced today in partnership with matching contributions from local governments, with the exception of the Broadband Communications North (BCN) connectivity project. MRIF support for the Broadband Communications North connectivity project is on a matching federal-provincial basis. Above and beyond MRIF, BCN was a successful applicant under Industry Canada’s Broadband for Rural and Northern Development (BRAND) Pilot Program and as a result, is eligible for further federal assistance subject to successful negotiations with Industry Canada. Consisting of matching one-third federal, provincial, and local contributions in most cases, the Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund (MRIF) will invest $120 million in communities across Manitoba. Manitoba Aboriginal and Northern Affairs provides the local one-third contribution for communities under its jurisdiction. Twenty per cent of the Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund is earmarked for communities with a population of over 250,000. The remaining eighty per cent is for the other 198 municipalities and 50 unincorporated Northern Community Councils in rural and northern Manitoba. More information on Canada and Manitoba infrastructure projects can be found at www.infrastructure.gc.ca or www.infrastructure.mb.ca. Federal funding for this initiative is included in the fiscal framework. For additional information, contact: Dougald Lamont Communications Officer, Western Economic Diversification Canada (204) 983-0280 Jacqueline Petrus, Communications Coordinator Canada Manitoba Infrastructure Secretariat Winnipeg, Manitoba (204) 945-8778 Toll-Free: 1-800-268-4883 Secretariat Website: www.infrastructure.mb.ca Graham Gork Communications Coordinator, Communication Services Manitoba (204) 945-5795 http://www.gov.mb.ca WD Toll-Free Number 1 888 338-WEST (9378) World Wide Web Site: English: http://www.wd.gc.ca French: http://www.deo.gc.ca Backgrounder Fourteen Northern and Rural Connectivity and Infrastructure Projects Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund (MRIFf) Canada-Manitoba Infrastructure Programs Unless indicated otherwise, the amounts shown represent federal, provincial and local contributions under MRIF, cost shared on a one-third basis. Connectivity Projects Parkland Community Futures - $4 million - Parkland Telecommunications Network A wireless broadband network will be developed for up to 56 communities in the Parklands region, reaching a population of 27,000, as well as 1,800 businesses, 50 schools and 27 healthcare institutions. Broadband Communications North Inc. (BCN) - $2.8 million - Sustainable Northern Connectivity Strategy This project will see the development of broadband access for up to 37 communities in Northern Manitoba, resulting in better, more affordable telecommunications service for up to 30,000 residents, 250 public institutions and up to 350 local businesses. MRIF funding for this project will be provided on a 50-50 basis by the governments of Canada and Manitoba. In addition, BCN was a successful applicant under Industry Canada’s Broadband for Rural and Northern Development (BRAND) Pilot Program and is eligible for further federal assistance subject to successful negotiations with Industry Canada. Green Projects Interlake RM of Fisher - $237,900 - Solid Waste Disposal Project The Fisher Branch and Hodgson waste disposal sites will be decommissioned and transformed into waste transfer stations. In addition, the Poplarfield waste disposal site will be further developed to include a recycling centre. This project will serve 830 households and divert up to 2,000 tonnes of solid waste per annum from landfill sites through improved recycling and composting practices. North Matheson Island Community Council - $531,000 - Matheson Island Lagoon A wastewater lagoon will be constructed at Matheson Island to provide a reliable sewage disposal service for the community and improve the quality of effluent flowing into Lake Winnipeg. Manitoba Aboriginal and Northern Affairs will provide the local share of the funding. Pine Dock Community Council - $576,000 - Solid Waste Disposal Project This project will see the development of a Class II waste disposal facility, providing better disposal for 65 households. Approximately 150 tonnes of solid waste per year that now ends up in landfill will be recycled or composted instead. Manitoba Aboriginal and Northern Affairs will provide the local share of the funding. Town of Churchill - $756,000 - Waste Transfer Station The Town will renovate an existing building to create a waste transfer station, recycling depot and composting cells. This facility will help protect the fragile local ecosystem and provide a solution to the problem of polar bears attracted to human garbage. North Central City of Portage la Prairie - $499,800-Portage West Sewage Pumping Station The existing Portage West sewage pumping station will be replaced to meet safety standards for personnel access and incorporate a wet well design that minimizes odor and toxic gas (H2S) formation. This pumping station serves the large commercial/retail business district at the west end of the City of Portage la Prairie, as well as businesses in the RM of Portage la Prairie. City and RM of Portage la Prairie - $379,800 - Landfill upgrade The Portage la Prairie solid waste landfill site will be upgraded to conform to provincial regulations respecting solid waste disposal and workplace health and safety. RM of Portage la Prairie - $429,900 - Oakville Sewer Upgrade The project involves upgrades to the Oakville lift station, removal of sludge from the existing wastewater lagoon cell and construction of new additional cell to meet current hydraulic loading standards. Parklands Town of Russell - $990,000 - Wastewater Treatment Upgrades A new secondary cell will be constructed adjacent to the existing cells and sections of the existing secondary cell berms will be upgraded. These upgrades will improve wastewater treatment for 550 existing households and provide for an expansion of up to 164 new households on the municipal wastewater system over the next 20 years. South Central Town of Carman - $603,000 - Water Treatment Plant Upgrade The water treatment plant will be upgraded to include a rotary drum vacuum filter to properly treat the lime sludge residue. This will improve the quality of the water discharged to the Boyne River. In addition, the dried lime sludge residue, left over as a result of the production of potable water, can be used in land application programs for soil pH adjustment. City of Winkler - $1,521,000 - Wastewater Treatment Facility Expansion This project will increase the hydraulic holding capacity of Winkler’s lagoon by 47 per cent, addressing the city’s wastewater needs for the next 20 years. The increased storage capacity will help meet the growth of wet industry within the area and Winkler can begin the development of 1,600 additional homes. South West Town of Hartney - $402,000 - Water Plant Upgrade The Town of Hartney will upgrade their original water treatment plant built in 1962. The new equipment will provide a better and safer treatment process for the town’s drinking water and ensure an adequate water supply for fire protection capabilities. Tourism Project Town of Ste. Rose du Lac - $261,930 - Tourism Infrastructure Upgrade This project is the first phase of the Town’s revitalization plan that includes construction of a tourist centre, utilities for serviced campsites and development of nature trails to increase the tourism capacity and generate economic spin-offs for local businesses.