The Daily Press is the city of Timmins broadsheet newspaper.
TIMMINS – The Mushkegowuk Tribal Council is considering the idea of teaming up with a Southern Ontario rail company to purchase the rail division of Ontario Northland with an eye to expanding rail service on the James Bay Coast and eventually to the Ring Of Fire mining development.
Mushkegowuk grand chief Lawrence Martin revealed Thursday afternoon that his organization has been approached by TGR Rail Canada Ltd, which is one of the companies bidding on the divestment of Ontario Northland Transportation Commission.
“They gave us a proposal to consider in which we would look at an MOU (Memorandum Of Understanding) to discuss the possibility of a partnership with them,” said grand chief Martin, speaking to the Aboriginal Energy Symposium.
He said TGR Rail Canada, based out of Toronto, is one of the companies approved by the province as eligible to purchase Ontario Northland rail operations provided they do it in a partnership with a Northern Ontario organization such as Mushkegowuk.
“At this point I can say it is a proposal. We are looking at it. We cannot make any comments on it except to say we will be talking about it with our chiefs next week, and we will bring it up to our assembly that we have in Kashechewan next week,” said Martin, adding that he hopes the project is approved by the chiefs.
“If that is the case, then we will go into our communities and have consultations,” Martin added. He said that he likes the idea of a partnership with TGR.
“These guys are different,” said Martin. “They don’t want to talk about treaties. They said they need land to lease from us, all they need to know is how much we want for it.”
Ron Dancey, the chairman of the board for TGR Rail, confirmed for The Daily Press that there is indeed a bid on the table for the partnership and to purchase Ontario Northland rail operations. Dancey said he could not discussion dollar amounts at this time.
“We’ve had discussions along those lines, yes,” said Dancey. “We would like to be able to take over the ONR and bring it up to standards and start making it into a proper railway.”
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