Helicopters Magazine

Wawa receiving half a million to finance infrastructure projects

June 6, 2024  By Kyle Darbyson, Local Journalism Initiative, Sault Star

Minister of Indigenous Affairs and Northern Development Greg Rickford, centre left, visits the Wawa Municipal Airport Thursday afternoon to reveal that the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation is setting aside nearly $553,000 to fund three infrastructure improvement projects in the area. (Photo: Sault Star, Submitted)

The province is providing nearly $553,000 through the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC) to finance three infrastructure improvement projects in the Wawa area.

This money will go towards upgrading the Wawa Municipal Airport ($246,000) and the Michipicoten Golf Club ($108,848), while the remaining funds are being set aside to develop a new business/cultural space for Michipicoten First Nation ($198,000).

Minister of Indigenous Affairs and Northern Development Greg Rickford, who is also the chair of NOHFC’s board of directors, visited Wawa Thursday afternoon to make this announcement at the local airport.

Here, town officials will use this $246,000 to build a new accessible washroom, upgrade the lobby (with more comfortable seating, flip-ups tables and electrical outlets) and purchase an outdoor sand shelter to better maintain runways during the winter.


Last November, this airport was the scene of a scary plane crash which was caused by a miscommunication over runway snow removal, according to the Transportation Safety Board of Canada.

The three crew members on board the Mitsubishi MU-2B-60 managed to escape the totaled aircraft with only minor injuries.

While the crash wasn’t mentioned in a Thursday news release that accompanied Rickford’s announcement, Wawa Mayor Melanie Pilon said these airport upgrades will strengthen their relationship with companies like Alamos Gold, which runs a major mining operation northeast of town.

“The airport provides a critical service to the community including Alamos Gold Inc., who has also contributed to this project,” Pilon said in Thursday’s news release.

“The Municipality would not have been able to upgrade its airport facilities without the support of Alamos Gold Inc. and NOHFC. Thank you, Minister Rickford and the NOHFC board and staff for the support.”

Forthcoming upgrades to the Michipicoten Golf Club include installing an emission-free electric pump engine for the irrigation system, mounting a metal roof on the clubhouse and building an accessible ramp and rear deck for the building.

“The needed repairs to the clubhouse deck, roof and irrigation pump house will extend the life of the facility where many annual events take place that support local organizations like the Wawa Legion and Chadwic Women’s Shelter,” Municipality of Wawa CAO Maury O’Neill said in Thursday’s news release.

“The golf course helps to attract and retain visitors to the community, contributing to the local economy and, with the support of NOHFC, will be around for years to come.”

Meanwhile, Michipicoten First Nation members are using these NOHFC funds to develop the MFN Common, a new open-air market and cultural space where community members can sell traditional products and host events right next to Highway 17.

“While Michipicoten First Nation’s residential community is off the beaten path, the MFN Common offers a highly visible and welcoming presence along the TransCanada Highway for Michipicoten First Nation to engage with the wider community,” MFN director of operations Michael Reid said in Thursday’s release.

“With the help of the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation, we were able to create a great space for all to enjoy.”

The NOHFC is an operational service agency, established in 1988, whose goal is to promote economic prosperity across Northern Ontario by providing financial assistance to projects that can stimulate growth, job creation and skills development.

Since June 2018, the NOHFC has invested over $726 million in 6,128 projects across Northern Ontario, according to the group’s official website.

In April, NOHFC set aside over $3.1 million to finance seven film and television projects in Sault Ste. Marie.

These projects include the sports drama Warrior Strong ($1 million) and the horror anthology television series Tales From The Void ($500,000).

News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc., 2023


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