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Food forest on list of innovative upgrades to Timiskaming facilities

Temiskaming Native Women’s Support Group is receiving nearly $6 million for retrofits

The Temiskaming Native Women’s Support Group will receive nearly $6 million in federal funds to retrofit educational facilities and create a food forest.

Announced on May 8, the funds include $5,733,419 from the Green and Inclusive Community Buildings (GICB) program, and $250,000 from the Natural Infrastructure Fund (NIF) for the organization’s facilities in Kirkland Lake and Temiskaming Shores.

“We are looking forward to these upcoming projects that will support northern Indigenous communities,” Bertha Cormier, executive director of the Temiskaming Native Women's Support Group, in a May 8 news release.

“As we move towards a more sustainable future, Keepers of the Circle is embracing new ways to further our participation in the green economy, including through our buildings.

“We are excited to create a new Indigenous-led and designed outdoor green space in Kirkland Lake that provides more opportunities for community members to connect with the land and their culture.”

The funds will go toward retrofitting educational facilities to make them more energy-efficient, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and improve air quality. Work includes improved HVAC systems, lighting, roofs, doors, and windows.

Accessibility ramps will be repaved, and a navigation application will be available for mobile devices so users can get information on how to get around the building based on their mobility needs.

Both hubs are also being expanded, creating the Resiliency Centre in Kirkland Lake and Community Gathering Space in Temiskaming Shores.

A food forest will be created in Kirkland Lake, where the Indigenous community will have a place to gather for seasonal ceremonies and community-wide celebrations. It will also be an outdoor learning site for people to learn about Indigenous land use and vegetation.

Serving communities across the Timiskaming District, the Temiskaming Native Women’s Support Group is a non-profit organization established to support the social, economic and cultural equity of Indigenous women.