Saskatoon, SK – The Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) and English River First Nation (ERFN), through their economic development arm Des Nedhe Group, announced financial close on a $27.3 million financing agreement. The CIB is extending the loan towards a new wastewater treatment facility and critical infrastructure on ERFN’s Grasswoods Urban Reserve near Saskatoon. The new facility will ensure Grasswoods Urban Reserve has the infrastructure necessary to enable long-term community growth.

Once the wastewater treatment infrastructure is completed in 2024, the facility will advance the transition away from septic wastewater systems, reducing environmental impacts and supporting sustainable growth. Its additional capacity will also allow Des Nedhe Group to provide wastewater treatment services to the neighbouring rural municipality of Corman Park, along with employment and training opportunities for First Nations community members.

Des Nedhe Group is currently developing ERFN’s 135-acre Grasswoods Urban Reserve, which will allow the community to lease the desirable land to commercial partners.

By tapping into the CIB’s Indigenous Community Infrastructure Initiative, ERFN can access affordable capital to accelerate and future-proof their community. ERFN, through Des Nedhe Group, will own and operate the facility, with initial operations and training led by Saskatchewan Water Corporation (SaskWater).

The CIB is proud to partner with English River First Nation and Des Nedhe Group to invest in critical infrastructure at the Grasswoods Urban Reserve. Our $27.3 million investment will accelerate construction of a new wastewater treatment facility, providing the community with the certainty they need to plan for future development. As part of our mandate, the CIB is committed to collaborating with First Nation, Métis and Inuit communities to help deliver inclusive and sustainable infrastructure which will benefit future generations.” – Ehren Cory, CEO, Canada Infrastructure Bank

“This unique partnership with English River First Nation, Des Nedhe Group, the Rural Municipality of Corman Park and Saskatchewan Water Corporation, enabled by CIB financing, signals an important step towards economic reconciliation. We look forward to ensuring we can advance future economic development for years to come.” – Vice-Chief Jenny Campbell, English River First Nation

“Innovative business ventures like the one we’re creating between Des Nedhe Group, English River First Nation and our partners have the power to not just drive revenue in the short term, but most importantly, support long-term self-determination for the community. At Grasswoods Urban Reserve, we’re leading the way with progressive environmental technologies and creating a sustainable future where economic success and environmental stewardship go hand in hand.” – Sean Willy, President and Chief Executive Officer, Des Nedhe Group

“Investments in essential infrastructure like modern wastewater treatment facilities are crucial to building strong, healthy communities. With the help of the CIB’s loan and operational training support from the Saskatchewan Water Corporation, English River First Nation will have the capacity to grow the Grasswoods Urban Reserve to accommodate a growing population and more economic opportunities.” – The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities

Quick Facts:

  • The CIB has a commitment to invest $35 billion over the long-term across its priority sectors, with a target to invest a minimum of $1 billion in partnership with and for the benefit of Indigenous Peoples.
  • Through the Indigenous Community Infrastructure Initiative, the CIB is investing in community-based projects which provide a service or a direct benefit to an Indigenous community or communities to help close the infrastructure gap.
  • This project represents the CIB’s second investment towards Indigenous wastewater treatment facilities.
  • EFRN’s on-reserve critical infrastructure and site development is expected to be completed within three years.
  • All CIB investments are subject to approval by its Board of Directors


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