A new natural gas program aimed at expanding the service to rural, Northern Ontario and First Nations communities is getting a lukewarm reception from some. The provincial government says it will begin taking applications for the Natural Gas Grant, a $100 million program, starting in the spring.

However the decision to pull the plug on the Natural Gas Loan has left some communities feeling let down. Those include Marathon, Schreiber, Manitouwadge, Terrace Bay and the Municipality of Wawa.

They’ve been working on a project for the last two years with Northeast Midstream to bring natural gas to those communities. Chris Wray, Wawa’s CAO and Clerk/Treasurer, says the new grant program “effectively shrinks a $230 million commitment, $200 million in loans and $30 million in grants, to a $100 million grant.”