Pictured at Saturday's announcement are (from the left): Cape Breton-Canso MP Rodger Cuzner, Paqntkek First Nation Chief Paul Prosper and Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Lloyd Hines.

AFTON: The federal and provincial governments are contributing to a highway project near a First Nations community in Antigonish County.

Rodger Cuzner, Member of Parliament for Cape Breton—Canso, on behalf of Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, and Lloyd Hines, Nova Scotia Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal, announced up to $15.3 million in federal-provincial funding for the Highway 104 Paqtnkek Interchange Project.

“The Government of Canada is working in close partnership with the Province of Nova Scotia to ensure we make smart infrastructure investments that help grow the economy, promote sustainable development and increase public safety,” Cuzner said. “By supporting the development of important transportation infrastructure, like Highway 104 and the Paqtnkek Interchange, we help create increased opportunities for Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation and area residents.”

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The federal government is contributing over $6.4 million through the Building Canada Fund – Major Infrastructure Component (BCF-MIC), with the Government of Nova Scotia providing up to $8.9 million.

Contributed photo
Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Minister Lloyd Hines addressed the crowd at Saturday’s funding announcement.

“Today’s provincial and federal investment will help improve safe access to the Paqtnkek reserve,” Hines noted. “The new interchange will also create economic opportunities by providing access to the land for residential expansion and commercial development.”

This collaborative project, in partnership with the Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation, involves the construction of a large diamond interchange, including new north and south connector roads and highway underpass. These improvements will significantly reduce travel times for residents of the Paqtnkek community, and increase safety and traveller mobility to and from Highway 104. Most importantly, the new interchange will provide improved 100 Series highway access to reserve lands that were previously disconnected from the highway.

“The Highway 104 interchange project represents a true partnership between the Crown and Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation,” said Paul (P.J.) Prosper, Chief of Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation. “This relationship of trust and mutual support will ensure a legacy of growth and opportunity for our community and beyond.”