Public comments are being taken as part of a federal environment assessment (EA) of the first leg of the proposed north-south Ring of Fire road. The Impact Assessment Agency of Canada (formerly known as the Canadian Environment Assessment Agency) is inviting feedback for the upcoming EA of the Marten Falls Community Access Road Project.
The agency determined an EA was necessary on Nov.29. Ottawa wants the public to provide direction on what specific factors must be addressed for the environmental study and how the public should be engaged during this process.
A provincial environment assessment on the corridor began last March. Both levels of government are expected to coordinate their efforts in this process. Marten Falls First Nation, the road proponent, is a fly-in community of 325 at the junction of the Albany and Ogoki Rivers, about 170 kilometres northeast of Nakina in northwestern Ontario and about 100 kilometres southeast of the mineral deposits in the Ring of Fire.
Four potential routes are being considered to connect Marten Falls to the provincial highway system (Highway 643) at the north end of the Painter Lake forestry road near Aroland First Nation, according to report prepared by AECOM Canada.
Depending on the route chosen and a myriad of other variables, the road could range in length from 140 to 250 kilometres. Construction could take five to 10 years and 15 to 50 bridges could be installed. The road would be two-lane gravel and built within a 100-metre right-of-way clearance to a width of 60 metres.