Federal funding denied for Northlands

People who live in Yellowknife's Northlands trailer park have been dealt another blow after the federal government denied funding to fix its aging water and sewer system.

Residents frustrated after waiting 2 years for an answer

CBC North's Katherine Barton explains why the federal government has denied funding to Yellowknife's Northlands Trailer Park. 1:40

People who live in Yellowknife's Northlands Trailer Park have been dealt another blow.

After two years of waiting for an answer, the federal government denied the city’s request for money to replace the subdivision's failing sewer and water lines this week.

The city had asked the federal government for money through the Green Infrastructure Fund on behalf of the people of Northlands.

The government said the subdivision's infrastructure needs don't fit the program’s criteria. It said the fund focuses on a few large-scale projects of regional or national significance.

Many residents, including Cheryl Fountain, are frustrated at the news, but also because they were left in limbo for so long.

Northlands resident Cheryl Fountain said she is frustrated it took the federal government two years to respond to the funding request. (CBC)

"Did we or did we not meet the criteria in the first place? And if we didn't, why did we wait for so long?" she asked.

MP said wait was ‘truly outrageous’

Western Arctic MP Dennis Bevington said it is "truly outrageous" that it took so long.

"It has kept the city and the people in Northlands in a state of limbo over that time. I think that the federal government has acted very badly in this regard," said Bevington.

Yellowknife Mayor Gordon Van Tighem said the city will continue to look for other sources of funding.

"It's given us one distraction that we don't have to deal with. We can now focus in on other strategies that may lead us to get to where we need to get," he said.

However, Van Tighem said this could be the end of the line for getting federal funding.

"Frustrating is probably a soft word. Disappointing is probably more the real term," he said.

The city is still trying to secure an interest-free loan from the government of the Northwest Territories.

Northlands will be back in the spotlight at the end of January when city administration will present council with a plan for the struggling subdivision.

In April 2010, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) announced it would no longer insure mortgages on homes in the trailer park until there was a plan to fix the aging infrastructure.

The CMHC estimated it will cost between $12 million and $18 million to replace Northlands’ aging sewer, water and road infrastructure.

About 1,100 people live in the park’s 258 units.