Sidelined First Nations vow to halt Ring of Fire road construction plans – by Staff (Northern Ontario Business – August 24, 2017)

Eabametoong, Neskantaga want their say on Far North development 150

Two remote First Nation communities left on the curb by Queen’s Park’s monumental Ring of Fire roads announcement are prepared to erect a stop sign to Far North development.

Leadership from Eabametoong and Neskantaga First Nations are upset with Premier Kathleen Wynne’s “divisive approach” in negotiating agreements with individual communities of the Matawa tribal council as a strategy to run roads into the region with their approval.

In an Aug. 24 news release, Neskantaga Chief Wayne Moonias said he’s prepared to put the brakes to that. “The reality is that all the roads to the Ring of Fire traverse the territory of our nations, and nothing is happening without the free, prior, and informed consent of our First Nations.”

Wynne delivered long-awaited news on Aug. 21 in Thunder Bay that preparatory work was starting immediately toward construction in 2019 of a shared east-west community-industrial road into the Ring of Fire mineral belt and the first leg of a north-south corridor. The communities of Marten Falls, Nibinamik, and Webequie First Nation all stand to benefit with permanent roads connecting them to the provincial highway system.

Frustrated over the pace of negotiations with the Matawa communities, Wynne insisted for months she was prepared to make good on her government’s $1-billion Ring of Fire infrastructure promise, but only with those First Nations who were considered mine-ready.

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