SNC Lavalin and Dillon Consulting to conduct environmental assessment for the Northern Ontario Ring of Fire link

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

SNC-Lavalin and Dillon Consulting have been selected to complete an environmental assessment on a proposed all-season road that will link two remote First Nations and connect to emerging mining sites in the Ring of Fire area.

“Following a competitive RFP process, our First Nations have awarded the contract for the Northern Road Link’s Environmental Assessment to SNC-Lavalin and Dillon Consulting,” said Chief Cornelius Wabasse of Webequie First Nation.

It is anticipated that the Environmental Assessment studies will take at least three years to complete.

“The proposed Northern Road Link is a highly sensitive project that requires the most rigorous studies related to environmental, water, climate change, and cumulative effects,” said Wabasse. “Given their previous studies done in Ontario Far North, SNC-Lavalin and Dillon Consulting are familiar with community principles when it comes to economic development, and we look forward to working collaboratively to generate the EA information to make an informed decision.”

An agreement was announced in March 2020 between Marten Falls and Webequie First Nations and the Ontario government to proceed with the planning and development of the Northern Road Link. The proposed infrastructure project is considered to be critical to future economic development in the north.

“This road is an economic lifeline for our communities and it will bring jobs, training and prosperity where our youth currently have no opportunities,” said Chief Bruce Achneepineskum of Marten Falls First Nation.

Communities are also committed to a process that responsibly studies the impacts and opportunities for road development in our traditional territory.

“The Environmental Assessment is essential to community-decision making. Without understanding the potential environmental and other implications of a northern road, we won’t be able to make informed decisions about the future of our lands,” Achneepineskum said. “We look forward to working with SNC-Lavalin and Dillon Consulting to collect and study the information we need to make the best decisions.”

The environmental assessment report will be completed to meet federal and provincial environmental assessment requirements under a coordinated process pursuant to the Impact Assessment Act and Ontario Environmental Assessment Act.

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