Budget Boosts Spending In Northern Communities

Thursday, March 22, 2007 at 15:12



The NDP government delivered its budget for the coming year today — and it has earmarked new spending for a number of northern and Aboriginal programs and services.


Northern municipalities will be receiving $2.4 million more in revenue sharing funds compared to last year, bringing the total to $10.2 million.


A total of $3.7 million will be set aside for northern sewer and water programs, not including the funds that will be provided under the Northern Revenue Sharing Trust Account. Last year, northern municipalities received $1.3 million for sewer and water projects, not counting NRSTA grants.


Roughly $2 million in new money is being allocated for the North as part of the province’s commitment regarding joint community facilities for recreation and culture.


As well, the North is expected to see the lion’s share of another $2 million that has been budgeted to help the government consult with Aboriginal people on government actions that might affect treaty rights on traditional lands — and to assist Aboriginal people in gaining benefits from development activities.


Meanwhile, the Department of Northern Affairs’ budget will be increased 5.6 per cent to just over $6 million. Just over a third of the department’s funding is used to provide loans and grants to northern entrepreneurs — including trappers, fishers and wild rice harvesters.


According to a release, the provincial government says it is introducing over $6 million in new northern initiatives in this budget.