EEL RIVER BAR FIRST NATION (GNB) — The provincial and federal governments have announced funding for water, wastewater and infrastructure improvements in northern New Brunswick.

Eel River Bar First Nation and the Village of Charlo will be connected to water services from the Village of Eel River Crossing to provide residents with a reliable source of drinking water that is also intended to support population growth in the region. New sewer services are meant to ensure cleaner water in the Eel River Estuary, protecting local ecosystems.

“The provincial government takes its responsibility to protect water sources and the environment seriously,” said Aboriginal Affairs Minister Jake Stewart. “The investment in potable and wastewater infrastructure will ensure the communities of Eel River Bar First Nation, Charlo and Eel River will continue to flourish for generations to come.”

Stewart spoke on behalf of Justice Minister and Attorney General Andrea Anderson-Mason, who is also the minister responsible for the Regional Development Corporation.

Three other road and bridge improvement projects in Eel River Bar First Nation, Nash Creek and Robinsonville will ensure travellers have access to safe and reliable roadways.

“Everyone deserves safe, clean, drinking water and our government is making significant investments to ensure communities across Canada have modern water and wastewater infrastructure and can build a healthy, sustainable future,” said Indigenous Services Minister Seamus O’Regan. “This project will greatly improve the quality of life for Charlo and Eel River Bar First Nation residents by increasing access to public water services, while maintaining a clean environment where people can live, work and raise their families.”

O’Regan spoke on behalf of federal Infrastructure and Communities Minister François-Philippe Champagne.

The provincial government is contributing more than $3.3 million for the four projects, while the federal government is investing more than $5.4 million. Eel River Bar First Nation is contributing $563,660 toward one project.

“In the spirit of reconciliation, we are pleased to be collaborating with our neighbours, the municipalities of Charlo and Eel River Crossing, on the water interconnection project,” said Eel River Bar First Nation Chief Sacha LaBillois. “Bringing water to the Aboriginal Heritage Gardens is monumental for Eel River Bar, as it will be the first step in a bigger project that will allow us to showcase the contributions that the Mi’kmaq people have made to society.”