Indigenous-led partnership KSMM 2020 has been awarded a $16.9 million contract from the Ministry of Transportation for work on a 20-kilometre stretch of Highway 17B running through Garden River First Nation and Echo Bay.
The project includes paving work on Highway 17B and intersection improvements at Syrette Lake Road. Fully paved shoulders for cyclists and pedestrians, right and left turn lanes, a curb and new lighting will be added. Culvert, gutter and guide rail work will also be included.
The contract requires that one-third of the contract value must be done by Indigenous businesses or members.
“This project has been a dream for our community for quite some time and to be involved in the planning from start to finish is what we define as meaningful relationships with the Ontario government,” said Garden River First Nation Chief Andy Rickard in a news release. “We look forward to this amazing opportunity to build a pool of skilled members, enhance our capacity, ensure economic benefits and add more safety measures within our community.”
According to a previous story from SooToday, the project will see a number of Garden River First Nation community members receive training and jobs as a result of KSMM 2020, a unique partnership between Garden River First Nation, Miller Paving Limited and Shwe Miikaan Corporation, a construction company that’s owned jointly by Shawanaga, Magnetawan and Henvey Inlet First Nations.
“This partnership between Garden River First Nation, Shwe Miikaan Corporation and Miller Paving will help ensure that Highway 17B remains a reliable option for residents of Garden River First Nation,” said Sault Ste. Marie MPP Ross Romano via news release. “This initiative supports local jobs and brings economic benefit to Garden River First Nation.”
Construction is expected to begin in summer 2021 and be completed in fall 2022.