THUNDER BAY – The community of Cat Lake First Nation will receive needed support and help following a meeting in Thunder Bay with community leadership, federal Minister Seamus O’Regan and Kenora MP Bob Nault.
Bob Nault, Member of Parliament (Kenora riding) joined the Honourable Seamus O’Regan, Minister of Indigenous Services in a meeting with Chief Matthew Keewaykapow and the leadership of Cat Lake First Nation and Windigo Tribal Council to sign an interim agreement.
“Together, we made substantial progress to bring both short and long-term support to the people of Cat Lake First Nation,” stated Nault. “I was very pleased that this meeting resulted in an agreement to address the housing issues in the community.
“I was particularly satisfied that the agreement addresses the need to appoint a Project Manager and Financial Advisor to support and oversee these housing projects. In addition, the agreement will also provide support for a fulltime Housing Manager to review and provide regular updates regarding the housing conditions within the community.”
The interim framework agreement outlines the next steps needed to provide immediate support to the people of Cat Lake First Nation, as well as the timeframe to implement this plan. These steps include:
• $3,500,000 in funding to support 15 new housing units, as well as additional funding for demolition, site preparation, and shipping of materials;
• $2,100,000 in funding to repair 21 existing housing units;
• $2,000,000 in funding to for the delivery and installation of 10 portable housing units;
• Expediting 7 new housing units that are currently under construction, as well as construction on two new duplexes (a total of 4 housing units);
• The appointment of a Project Manager and Financial Advisor to support these housing projects, as well providing for financial literacy training and an ongoing position of Housing Manager in the community;
• The completion of the winter ice road, which is necessary for vehicles to transport the materials required for repairs, renovations, and construction of homes;
• The construction of a temporary warehouse structure to store materials and;
• Identification of additional priority housing units for repair and replacement.
In addition, a medical assessment is currently underway in the community. On February 14, a pediatric respirology doctor was in Cat Lake First Nation to conduct a medical assessment and treat individuals identified by the community. From February 17-20, an infectious disease specialist was in the community to further assess and treat patients as appropriate.
The results of the medical assessment will be reviewed once available. Furthermore, Indigenous Services Canada also increased the nursing staff in the community nursing station to provide additional supports.
“I would like to offer my sincere condolences on the recent passing of a community member of Cat Lake First Nation. My thoughts are with you during this time of healing,” concluded Nault. “I would also like to thank those present at the meeting yesterday for their commitment and dedication to addressing the challenges faced by the community.”