Atikameksheng Anishinawbek First Nation will receive more than $202,000 in federal support through the Community, Culture and Recreation Infrastructure Stream (CCRIS) of the Investing in Canada Plan.
The funding was announced March 3 by Nickel Belt MP Marc Serré, on behalf of Infrastructure and Communities Minister Catherine McKenna.
The funding is for the Atikameksheng Anishinaqbek Community Centre.
“This wonderful building has experienced many special occasions and it is time it received some well-deserved TLC,” said Gimaa Craig Nootchtai during the virtual press announcement, attended by Serré, Atikameksheng Anishnawbek CEO Pam Linklater, and Peterborough-Kawartha MPP Dave Smith for (on behalf of Laurie Scott, the Ontario minister of Infrastructure).
The provincial government will be contributing more than $49,400 to the community centre project, with Atikameksheng Anishinawbek contributing more than $17,000.
The funding will initially be used to upgrade assets in the kitchen, bathroom and main gym areas of the centre.
“These (assets) are well past their lifespan,” said Nootchtai. “And we also want to fill the quality and accessibility gaps that we have, so that we can meet the needs of our constituents, the community members and for our guests that come to the community centre.”
They also hope to remove obstacles to using technology in their programming and improve the safety of the building, as well as its efficiency.
“We're also excited to add energy efficient appliances and equipment which will help us to achieve a lower overall operation and maintenance costs,” said Nootchtai. “The renovations are a key part to our plan to address our carbon footprint.”
The plans for the renovations were laid out in the Atikameksheng Anishnawbek Comprehensive Community Plan, updated in April of 2020.
As future plans to relaunch the economy are considered, Serré said it’s vital to consider how communities can be “more viable and more resilient and sustainable places to live, work and play.”
“This is a really, really good project for your community,” said Serré. “And this is a joint government support for refurbishing the community centre.”
Nootchtai said the community is looking forward to putting the community centre to good use when the pandemic and renovations are finished.
“The space is used for so many events, workshops and celebrations for our community, and we have greatly missed those opportunities to host those events,” said Nootchtai. “And once again, we'll be able to gather in a communal space where we can celebrate all those life events, weddings, ceremonies, programming, and also our rentals to our sister community of Sudbury’s celebrations.”
Jenny Lamothe is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter at Sudbury.com. She covers the Black, immigrant and Francophone communities.