Liberals hedge on Ring of Fire promise – by Carol Mulligan (Sudbury Star – July 16, 2014)

The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.

Significant work is being done to establish a Ring of Fire development corporation and keep a campaign promise that it be done within 60 days of a Liberal government being elected.

But it’s not clear when the clock began ticking on that 60-day guarantee, says Michael Gravelle, who was reappointed Northern Development and Mines minister by Premier Kathleen Wynne.

Nor is it clear what exactly is meant by “establishing” the development corporation. Gravelle doesn’t know if the 60 days started when he was sworn in June 24 or when his government delivered its Throne Speech on July 3.

And he and his staff are working to determine what exactly will be in put place during the 60-day commitment.

“We are not there yet in terms of determining exactly what form it will take other than that we are grateful to have the opportunity to move this project forward and to have this kind of a timeline in place,” said Gravelle in a telephone interview Tuesday from Queen’s Park.

What matters is that he and ministry staff are working hard to set up the development corporation, conscious of the fact people are eager to hear how it will operate.

“We’re working on it, we’ve got a couple of models being worked on as we speak,” he said.

The campaign promise is another step in his government’s commitment to develop the chromite-rich Ring of Fire, said the minister.

It followed what he called the historic framework agreement between the province and the Matawa Council of Chiefs and the $1-billion commitment to build infrastructure to the Ring of Fire, about 540 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay.

That $1-billion commitment was reaffirmed in Monday’s provincial budget, a retread of the May 1 budget that triggered the election.

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