[ONTC Railway] New Deal tops priority list – by Jennifer Hamilton-McCharles (North Bay Nugget – December 28, 2012)


Advancing a proposed New Deal to revitalize the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission is Nipissing-Timiskaming MP Jay Aspin’s top priority heading into 2013.

“It’s got to move ahead . . . everybody has got to get behind this – everybody,” said Aspin, suggesting the ONTC and its assets are too important to be piece-mealed or lost altogether.

Aspin has thrown his support behind the General Chairperson’s Association’s proposal which calls for the transfer of ONTC assets to a new ports authority. And he has been helping the group, which represents unionized workers at the ONTC, gain support for the plan.

But Aspin said his role will also be to advocate for approval in the House of Commons to make the James Bay and Lowlands Port Authority a reality once the application is to the federal government has been completed.

The plan, which also requires provincial approval, includes establishing a rail line rather than a road to ship thousands of tons per day of chromite, nickel and other materials from the Ring of Fire site.

In a year-end interview Thursday, Aspin said the next item on his priority list is to make way for the arrival of the North Bay Battalion hockey team by securing a federal contribution toward the $12-million in renovations at Memorial Gardens.

The city is seeking a $1-million contribution from each of the two senior levels of government as part of its plan to finance the renovation project – a condition of the 15-year deal with the Ontario Hockey League team.

“We need to come to the table,” said Aspin, noting the work at the arena is long overdue.

For the rest of this article, please go to the North Bay Nugget website: http://www.nugget.ca/2012/12/28/new-deal-tops-priority-list