$11 Million for Nipissing Infrastructure - North Bay Nugget

Money announced Friday for a multi-use sports complex sealed the deal for the long-awaited project.

A $9-million infrastructure investment was one of several projects throughout the district to get the green light. Shovels are expected in the ground this year.

The projects are valued at $33.5 million. There are 1,373 projects across the province receiving a portion of $2.4 billion in joint provincial and federal funding.

In most cases the cost is divided equally between the federal, provincial and municipal governments.

"It's going to take a little pressure off of communities," said Nipissing MPP Monique Smith, adding the money will start flowing into municipal bank accounts this year.

"These are all shovel-ready projects and we intend on seeing the investment move forward."

Mayor Vic Fedeli said there's a lot of anxiousness about the sports complex.

"We really needed to get our infrastructure house in order. We needed to ensure that our sewer, water and roads were in great shape before we started to invest in a sports complex," he said.

"This is going to be a great economic tool."

The complex will include three soccer fields - two of which will have artificial turf - two baseball diamonds, changerooms and lighting.

"We're going to have all the things you would expect to have in a world-class facility," Fedeli said, adding sports organizations had direct input into what should be included in the facility.

"We didn't want to create something nobody wants. Their fingerprints are on the blueprints."

Fedeli said the city will announce soon where the complex will be situated.

North Bay will also go ahead with a $14-million project to reconstruct Algonquin Avenue from Copeland to Oak streets. The entrance into the downtown will include cobblestone walkways, a courtyard, refurbishment of the water fountain and realignment of Second Avenue and Galt Street.

"We should be going to tender in two weeks and construction will begin early July," Fedeli said.

"We heard the term ‘shovel-ready' and we were ready. We spent money on an engineer last year with hopes that we could apply to a program like this."

West Nipissing Coun. Guy Ethier said the municipality anticipated good news and is happy it came through.

He said the $2 million from the province for Minnehaha Bay will help finance the reconstruction of the wharf, restaurant, disabled parking and accessibility, parking and secure slips.

"This is a multi-phase project and it will be very very unique for Northern Ontario."

But not everyone was happy.

East Ferris Mayor Bill Vrebosch said he was disappointed none of his township's projects were selected.

"I thought we had a strong business case," he said.

Vrebosch said the projects, such as upgrading ditches and the reconstruction of Quae Quae Road, will be put on the backburner until municipal officials can find the money.


For more information, please visit www.nugget.ca

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