THUNDER BAY, ON, Jan. 28, 2021 – Marten Falls First Nation and Webequie First Nation are taking the necessary next steps to study the potential for road infrastructure development in Ontario’s remote north. The two First Nations today announced that SNC-Lavalin and Dillon Consulting have been selected to complete an Environmental Assessment on a proposed all-season road that will link the two remote First Nations and connect to emerging mining sites in the Ring of Fire area.
Says Chief Cornelius Wabasse of Webequie First Nation; “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. 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. 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.
Chief Bruce Achneepineskum of Marten Falls First Nation said, “This road is an economic lifeline for our communities and it will bring jobs, training and prosperity where our youth currently have no opportunities. Our communities are also committed to a community directed process that responsibly studies the impacts and opportunities for road development in our traditional territory. The Environmental Assessment is essential to our 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. 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 both the Federal and Provincial environmental assessment requirements under a coordinated process pursuant to the Impact Assessment Act and Ontario Environmental Assessment Act. It is anticipated that the Environmental Assessment studies will take at least 3 years to complete.