Sault MP Terry Sheehan was in Sault Ste. Marie today to announce $7.4 million in funding for the Sault Canal Powerhouse.
The funds will be used for critical infrastructure improvements to stabilize and conserve the Powerhouse, which dates back to 1895 and the opening of the Sault canal. It’s the second phase of restoration on the site. Work got underway a couple of weeks ago.
Phase One began in 2019, with $6.3 million in federal funds triggering investigative work, which included removing some of the infrastructure to probe water seepage issues and assess future needs.
“We’re looking at an almost $14 million investment in this historian site, that is so important,” said Sheehan. “Interestingly enough, talking with park staff, the Sault canal was the first canal in Canada, that was electrified. This is before everyone was talking, like they are in recent years, about going green. I mean the Sault canal was going green in 1895, using hydro electricity to power our canal system. That’s pretty awesome.”
Sheehan has visited the canal a few times over the past eight years and is impressed with the historical preservation efforts. “I am so pleased with what the park staff have done their work, with their vision,” he said.
“Collaborating with the local indigenous communities as well as the local business community and the communities carte blanche, like all over.”
Sheehan recalled his four terms with city council and how during that time he would receive calls because the park at the Sault canal was in need of repair.
“It needed repair for a variety of reasons, because of its age, because of the environment. In fact, some of these areas were shutdown for a few years, because of safety reasons.”
The circumstances gave Sheehan great encouragement to advocate for continued support for parks across Canada,, including here in Sault Ste. Marie and St. Joseph Island. “There’s been a lot of work that has transpired.”
Phase Two is expected to take two years to complete.