Monday, April 22, 2024
HomeContractorsInfrastructure agreement could lead to Ring of Fire road construction

Infrastructure agreement could lead to Ring of Fire road construction

Ontario Construction News staff writer

The Ontario government, Marten Falls First Nation and Webequie First Nation have signed an agreement to develop community infrastructure projects that could support future development opportunities in the area, including building all-seasons roads to the mineral-rich Ring of Fire region.

Through the Community Development Agreement the province will support shovel-ready infrastructure projects that could include construction of health and training facilities, recreation centres, commercial buildings and labour force development programs. Completed projects would “improve the well-being and readiness of the First Nations” to participate fully in the construction connecting the Ring of Fire to manufacturing hubs in the south.

“I want to commend Marten Falls First Nation Chief Bruce Achneepineskum and Webequie First Nation Chief Cornelius Wabasse for their vision and commitment to building stronger communities,” said George Pirie, Minister of Mines. “Their leadership and dedication to making progress on these important infrastructure projects is helping to build the corridor to prosperity. These roads would enhance the well-being and livelihoods of their communities by improving access to critical goods and services.

“The road network would also unlock the generational critical minerals potential in the Ring of Fire region.”

Marten Falls and Webequie First Nations are currently leading three Environmental Assessments (EA) for the roads that would become the corridor to prosperity. Today’s agreement would commit the province and the two First Nations to work together to make decisions about the construction, ownership and operation of the road network, should the EAs be approved.

The collaboration is expected to speed up project timelines.

“As we move forward to now begin to consider road construction and operations, our commitment remains to be strong stewards of our lands and our environment, in balance with being active partners in growing economic opportunities and benefits for both our communities and other First Nation communities,” said Marten Falls First Nation Chief Bruce Achneepineskum.

The three parties are all committed to ensuring their collaboration will continue to be grounded in the foundational principles of Bimachiiowin. For Marten Falls and Webequie First Nations, that means enhancing the communities’ well-being and livelihoods, including a focus on long-term sustainability to protect the land and the people’s future in a good way.

Together, the Webequie Supply Road, Marten Falls Community Access Road and Northern Road Link would connect these two First Nation communities to the Ontario highway network and provide access to the mineral deposits in the Ring of Fire, should the necessary approvals be received.

Ontario’s Ring of Fire region, located approximately 500 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay and covering about 5,000 square kilometres, is one of the most promising mineral development opportunities for critical minerals in the province.

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