ESGENOOPETITJ (CNB) - Micmac Road was officially re-opened today at Esgenoopetitj First Nation (Burnt Church) as part of a repaving project.

Residents of the community were joined by Premier Shawn Graham, Human Resources Minister Rick Brewer, who is minister responsible for the Aboriginal Affairs Secretariat, Ian Gray, regional director, Indians and Northern Affairs Canada - Atlantic region, and Chief Wilbur Dedam.

"Today's ceremony is an example of what can be achieved when federal, provincial and First Nations governments work together," said Graham. "The repaving of Micmac Road will increase the response time for emergency vehicles, improve traffic flow and provide additional safety for school children in time for the opening of the new community school this fall."

Micmac Road runs 2.4 km from the intersection of Peters Road on Route 11 to the Old Bridge Road. Graham said the rapid growth and development of this First Nation has led to increased traffic on the road, making its repaving a priority that will improve the quality of life for motorists and pedestrians.

"Canada is proud to support First Nations with infrastructure projects that address the health and safety needs of First Nations," said Chuck Strahl, minister of Indian affairs and northern development as well as federal interlocutor for Métis and non-status Indians. "This project demonstrates the ongoing commitment of the Government of Canada to improving infrastructure in First Nations communities and clearly illustrates what can be accomplished through partnerships."

The provincial and federal governments are contributing a total of $924,489. The provincial government is investing $449,489 through the Regional Development Corporation. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada is providing $475,000.

"The real winners today are the people of Esgenoopetitj First Nation," said Dedam. "By working together in an honest and respectful way, all three levels of government have made our community safer. I am happy about today's event and look forward to building on this positive relationship in the future."

Micmac Road is a non-designated roadway on the Esgenoopetitj First Nation that is owned by the provincial government. Once paving is complete, the road will be turned over to the community for operations and maintenance. The first phase of paving began in August 2009. The second phase is scheduled for later this summer.

"This is a great day for the residents of Esgenoopetitj," said Brewer. "The repaving of Micmac Road will improve driving conditions and increase safety for community members and visitors."