Canada and Alberta invest in infrastructure projects in Southern Alberta to strengthen the economy and build resilient communities
Lethbridge, Alberta, October 1, 2020—Canadians’ safety and well-being are top priorities for the federal government and the government of Alberta. The two levels of government are taking decisive action to support the regional economy and local communities in Southern Alberta, including Indigenous communities, which have been profoundly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Today, the Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development; the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities; and the Honourable Prasad Panda, Minister of Infrastructure for Alberta, announced funding for 4 projects in Southern Alberta.
The funding will help the University of Lethbridge provide an open administrative space and offices for Indigenous Elders and student counsellors. The renovated space will also feature an Indigenous gathering space for Elders’ Talking Circles, celebrations and other events, complete with a new smudging exhaust system.
In Cardston County, the funding will help re-build the main campus of the Red Crow Community College that was destroyed in a 2015 fire. This campus will provide training to create a talent pipeline for key industries in Southern Alberta, such as agriculture and agri-business, and to support long-term regional development. The new building will include classrooms, workshops, labs, academic and counselling spaces for students, administrative and program spaces for employees, as well as a library, cafeteria and daycare. It will also feature a museum and archival space, a cultural teaching and gathering space, and an area for Elders.
Medicine Hat College will use its funding to build a new 1,333 m2 extension, and re-purpose 861 m2 of existing space. The labs and classrooms will be expanded for simulations and teaching, and the central space will be renovated to an Indigenous gathering place for teaching and sharing. A new lift will also be installed to make the lower level more accessible, and a structure for future solar panels will be added to the roof of the building.
The Government of Canada is investing more than $21.9 million in these projects through the Community, Culture and Recreation Infrastructure Stream (CCRIS) and the Rural and Northern Communities Infrastructure Stream (RNIS) of the Investing in Canada plan. The Government of Alberta is providing $125,000, while funding applicants are contributing over $30.7 million.
“These are difficult times for all Canadians, but for those in rural communities, and those in Alberta, the pandemic has been particularly hard. We hear you and we will work with you to build an even stronger Alberta. Today, we announce a federal investment of $21.9 million to support four key projects for your province. This includes a new campus at Red Crow College to replace the building destroyed in the 2015 fire, and two Indigenous gathering spaces at the University of Lethbridge and at Medicine Hat College. Medicine Hat College will also use the funds to build a more energy-efficient and accessible building. The French Community of Calgary will improve its building and workspace. Many thanks to our partners at the Province and congratulations to all involved.”
The Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development
“Expanding educational opportunities for all Canadians, including Indigenous peoples, is an investment that pays dividends now and long into the future. We’re supporting community centres and colleges, like the University of Lethbridge likaisskini Gathering Space project and the Medicine Hat College Accessibility and Inclusion project, that build up stronger, more resilient communities. Canadians need to know their governments support them in all aspects of their lives so they can reach their full potential. Canada’s infrastructure plan invests in thousands of projects, creates jobs across the country, and builds stronger communities.”
The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities
“The federal government’s Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program together with the Alberta Recovery Plan provide these Southern Alberta communities with projects that will create hundreds of good paying construction-related jobs at a time when an economic boost is needed most. These projects also help ensure the province’s public facilities reflect and celebrate the full diversity of Alberta.”
Prasad Panda, Alberta Minister of Infrastructure
“The University of Lethbridge has benefited greatly from the contributions Indigenous peoples have made in shaping and strengthening the university community. Relocating Iikaisskini to a central location on campus is a fitting representation of the many critical connections the University has with Indigenous students, faculty, staff and communities.”
Dr. Mike Mahon, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Lethbridge
Through the Investing in Canada plan, the Government of Canada 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.
Since 2015, the Government of Canada has invested $4.8 billion in 337 infrastructure projects across Alberta.
To support Canadians and communities during the COVID-19 pandemic, a new stream has been added to the over $33-billion Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program to help fund pandemic-resilient infrastructure. Existing program streams have also been adapted to include more eligible project categories.
The new Canada Healthy Communities Initiative will provide up to $31 million in existing federal funding to support communities as they deploy innovative new ways to adapt spaces and services to respond to immediate and ongoing needs arising from COVID-19 over the next two years.
Office of the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development
Office of the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities
Office of the Minister of Infrastructure
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