Romano pressing for mid-August Ring of Fire tour – by Elaine Della-Mattia (Sault Star – July 19, 2017)

“There’s a few challenges that we’re addressing now,” Romano said during a Northern Ontario media conference call led by PC leader Patrick Brown. Romano, elected in a provincial byelection just more than a month ago, has been named Northern Ontario’s critic of jobs and the Ring of Fire.

He said that since starting his role about 40 days ago, he’s met with executives from NorOnt on three occasions and has established a good line of communications with them. “I’m running a lot of laps on this one,” he told The Sault Star. “There is an issue that needs to be resolved and I am trying to assist the Economic Development Corp., who is lead on this one, for their bid submission to NorOnt.”

Brown said if the PC’s form the next provincial government, he vows to build the Ring of Fire transportation corridor and dedicate the funds needed to do so in order to create opportunities in the North.

Premier Kathleen Wynne has said that the money committed in earlier budgets for the road infrastructure is still available and dedicated to the project but she wants to ensure that proper consultation is completed with the Indigenous communities in the rural north.

While NorOnt has yet to release official bid documents to the four communities who want the plant – the Sault, Timmins, Sudbury and Thunder Bay – they are expected to be released soon. The Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corp. is doing its due diligence and gathering information that will be used in their bid package.

Sault Ste. Marie has the potential makings for a ferrochrome facility with land zoned for heavy industrial use and close to transportation networks. It also has the skilled workforce available to fill the needed jobs.

One of the challenges already identified concerns the land where the ferrochrome facility could potentially be located and the impact of any decisions while Algoma remains in protection under the Companies Creditors’ Arrangement Act process.

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