Marten Falls, Webequie deny ‘closed door’ approach in all-weather road agreements (CBC News Thunder Bay – June 4, 2018)

Neskantaga and Eabametoong say they aren’t being consulted over proposed Ring of Fire projects

Two northern Ontario Indigenous communities are calling on the province to “re-set” the process governing mining development in the Ring of Fire, saying they aren’t being properly consulted.

In a media release issued last week, Neskantaga and Eabametoong say “the approach the Wynne government is taking to roads in the Ring of Fire is a scandal and could be a nail in the coffin for our Aboriginal rights and way of life,” calling the process unreasonable and unfair.

Neskantaga and Eabametoong are among the nine Indigenous communities that signed an agreement with the province in 2014, which was to be a guideline for development in the Ring of Fire, a major deposit of chromite and other minerals in the James Bay Lowlands, about 575 kilometres north of Thunder Bay.

However, the two communities point to environmental assessment agreements signed May 3 between the province and the communities of Marten Falls and Webequie — which were also signatories to the 2014 agreement — as evidence the agreed-upon process isn’t being adhered to.

Proposed access roads

The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) said those agreements pertain to two all-weather access roads Marten Falls and Webequie intend to build. Marten Falls plans to build a road from the community to the north end of the Painter Lake forestry road, north of Nakina.

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