Dwayne Nashkawa CEO of Nipissing First Nation. Photo credit: Rocco Frangione
Dwayne Nashkawa, the CEO of the Nipissing First Nation, says the community is facing a massive $177-million infrastructure deficit over the next two decades.
Areas that need attention are water and sewer, roads, seniors housing and telecommunications.
Nashkawa talked about the deficit to delegates attending the State of the North conference in North Bay which was organized by the Northern Policy Institute.
Nashkawa said about $11-million is needed for roads including about $4 to $5 million for Jocko Point Road over the next several years.
Nashkawa says there are no federal or provincial dollars for this work so the First Nation has to look at other ways to raise the revenue.
Nashkawa emphasizes that the Nipissing band council has made no decision on how to raise the money for the Jocko Point Road work.
“We’re exploring all options and everyone has to play a part,” Nashkawa told Moose News after his presentation.
He said NFN will be talking to the approximate 250 residents of Jocko Point and they’ll be expected to contribute to the solution “in the long run whatever that may be.”
Nashkawa says although there has been no announcement or decision made and that the talks are centring on idea at this time, one notion is that the residents who lease the land would have to pay more.
Nashkawa says right now the homeowners pay NFN $3,000 to $4,000 a year to enjoy waterfront property.
He says compare that to waterfront property owners in West Nipissing or North Bay who see a tax bill as high as $8,000 to $10,000.
Nashkawa says when the road was built about 50 years ago, construction standards were different and stumps were used.
He says half a century later the stumps are starting to emerge and the road needs to be safe for everyone.
“We have to take an honest look at how we can put the infrastructure in there that’s required for the long term” he said.
“Anything we look at will be on a cost-recovery basis. It’s not an effort to grab money from people.”
Nashkawa again stressed with Moose News that these were just ideas to help point out opportunities that can correct existing issues.