Planning for Northern Link Road environmental assessment begins in the Ring of Fire area – by Logan Turner (CBC News Thunder Bay – May 4, 2021)

The environmental assessment (EA) process for the third and final proposed road project in northern Ontario that will connect remote Matawa First Nations to the provincial highway network and create a road to the proposed Ring of Fire mineral development is underway, as of May 4.

Marten Falls and Webequie have begun to consult First Nations and other stakeholders and draft the terms of reference — essentially the work plan for the EA — for the Northern Link Road, a proposed two-lane, all-weather 120-kilometre road that will connect with two other proposed roads in Treaty 9 Territory: the Webequie Supply Road and the Marten Falls Community Access Road.

“We are leading the planning and assessment of this project to ensure that environmental risks to our traditional ways of life are thoroughly assessed and mitigated,” Chief Bruce Achneepineskum of Marten Falls First Nation said in a press release.

The current phase of the assessment is expected to last several months, and will determine the scope and the issues that must be considered by the environmental assessment. Once a draft terms of reference is completed, there will be a comment and revision period before it is submitted to the Ontario government for review.

It is expected the process to draft and submit the terms of reference will take at least 12 months, before the actual environmental assessment can begin.

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