The federal government is giving five Yukon communities a $1.8-million shot in the arm to help improve their recreation facilities and create construction jobs in the territory.
Yukon MP Ryan Leef and Whitehorse Mayor Dan Curtis made the announcement Tuesday morning.
“These upgrades will help create strong and healthy communities across the territory. They are also providing better and safe infrastructure, and supporting innovation in those communities,” said Leef.
Haines Junction is getting $170,000 to refurbish its 32-year-old curling rink, which has been closed for the past two winters. Watson Lake is getting a back-up heating system for its rec centre, and the Tr’ondek Hwech’in First Nation is getting $425,000 in federal tax dollars to expand its Danjoa Zho Culture Centre in downtown Dawson City.
In the capital, the Kwanlin Dun First Nation is getting a revamp for its skating rink and softball field, and the Canada Games Complex is getting a new emergency generator.
The generator will make the Canada Games Complex safer, and allow the city to include it as an evacuation point in its emergency preparedness plan, Curtis said. To pay for it, the city will pay nearly half the $1.2-million price tag.
“I hope we never have to use the emergency generator for anything that may happen, but that doesn’t mean that the City of Whitehorse and the Yukon territorial government aren’t working closely to form a partnership with the emergency measures services as well,” said Curtis.
The money is being delivered through the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency’s community infrastructure improvement fund.
In total, nearly $4.8 million will go towards various projects, when contributions by businesses, municipalities and First Nation governments are included.
For the Kluane First Nation, the funds mean a new fitness centre and renovations to its skating rink.
“I’m very pleased that the Canadian government has decided to assist us with our recreation complex,” said Kluane Chief Mathieya Alatini.
“The complex is up and operational. We’ve got ice in there now, and the kids are out skating. It’s great,” Alatini said.
She said the project was identified as a priority about a year and a half ago. The community formed partnerships with local mining and other companies. Together with their own money and the CanNor funding, they were able to get the project off the ground. While it’s not quite finished, the updated complex - which includes a temporary structure to enclose the outdoor rink - means there have been many more organized activities for kids in the community.
“Absolutely, the kids especially. They cannot believe that they get to go skating and don’t have to withstand the gale-force winds that we have in Burwash,” said Alatini.
About 20 local jobs were created by the Kluane project, she said.
The infrastructure fund was part of the federal government’s 2012 Economic Action Plan.
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