Archive | Mining Railway, Road and Other Infrastructure

Laying the tracks for future prosperity in the North – by Betsy Kennedy (National Post – July 8, 2020)

https://nationalpost.com/

The Bayline railroad has been a part of our Cree family for decades. My grandfather, Adam Dyck, who grew up in Split Lake, Man. (now known as the Tatskweyak Cree Nation) worked the Bayline, the affectionate name for the Hudson Bay Railway, which runs for 1,300 kilometres through northeastern Saskatchewan and northern Manitoba.

My father, uncle and son worked for the railway and I have another uncle who was born on the train. His name? Bayline Dyck. Not to be outdone by my uncle, I was born at a railroad work camp south of Churchill, Man.

We are like many First Nations families who have been tied to the railroad for generations and that is why we cannot stand idly by and watch it die. For us, and for non-Indigenous communities of northern Manitoba, it is a lifeline. Continue Reading →

Why Building of the Alaska Highway is Still an Epic Feat 75 Years Later (TranBC – August 10, 2017)

https://www.tranbc.ca/

Driven by wartime urgency, the building of the Alaska Highway remains an epic accomplishment, 75 years later. The highway began as a dream.

In the 1920s, the United States wanted a route through Canada to connect Alaska – its largest and most sparsely populated territory – with the 48 states south of the 49th parallel. Some 800 kilometres of land lay between Alaska and the rest of the US. With no overland way across northern BC and the Yukon to Alaska, the northernmost US state was reliant on air and marine transport.

Back then, Canada was just not interested – there was little to be gained, and the next decade brought the Great Depression.

Wartime Drive Continue Reading →

Thunder Bay: Warm temperatures still hampering winter road access to northern First Nations – by Heather Kitching (CBC News Thunder Bay – March 9, 2020)

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/thunder-bay

Fort Severn and Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug still waiting on infrastructure components

Warm weather continues to play havoc with winter roads to northwestern Ontario First Nations. Roads to all communities are now open to at least partial loads, according to the Nishnawbe Aski Nation’s winter road update published Friday.

However roads to three communities – Deer Lake, Bearskin Lake and Eabametoong – remain open to only partial loads, and some roads that are listed as open to full loads may need to restrict them at times.

Fort Severn’s road just opened at the end of February, approximately two weeks later than usual, and Chief Paul Burke has already sent a crew out to address problems, he said. Continue Reading →

NEWS RELEASE: Ring of Fire – Indigenous, municipal and business representatives support Federal Regional Impact Assessment of all access routes (March 6, 2020)

(Ontario Legislature, Toronto, March 2, 2020) Today, indigenous, municipal and business representatives from North-Western Ontario were at the Ontario Legislature to advocate consideration of all access routes to the Ring of Fire chromite deposit. The East-West Ring of Fire Road Coalition outlined their support for an Environmental Assessment (EA) of all access road alternatives, including one starting in their area.

The Coalition is supportive of the federal government’s recent announcement to initiate a Regional EA process. The Prospectors and Developers Conference (PDAC) in Toronto provides the opportunity to remind federal and provincial Ministers of the Environment of the importance of the undertaking as well as potential implications for land use, the region’s economy, culture and indigenous rights.

The Mayor of Sioux Lookout Doug Lawrance outlined the details of July 2019 correspondence between the Coalition and (then) Federal Minster of Environment Catherine McKenna and current Ontario Minister of Environment Jeff Yurek. “Our request was that all access routes to the Ring of Fire be considered.” Lawrance went on to say, “We are pleased to see the announcement of the Federal Regional EA process – and are here today to remind both senior levels government of the importance of considering all routes.” Continue Reading →

Column: Historic Ontario road agreement puts First Nations in driver’s seat – by Brian Lilley (Sudbury Star – March 3, 2020)

https://www.thesudburystar.com/

It’s been labelled a historic agreement, an actual memorandum of understanding, a commitment of funds and the launch of an indigenous-led environmental assessment to build a road into one of the most remote parts of Ontario. Premier Doug Ford signed the agreement alongside Chief Bruce Achneepineskum and Chief Cornelius Wabasse in Toronto on Monday.

The agreement will see the Marten Falls and Webequie First Nations lead an environmental assessment of the proposed building of a year-round, paved road linking the two communities to points further south.

It’s a brave move these days when people in cities like Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver — far from the development — can hold protests to shut down major infrastructure while claiming they are standing in solidarity with First Nations. Continue Reading →

NEWS RELEASE: MATAWA FIRST NATIONS FORGE NEW WAY FORWARD LOOKING TO MAJOR COMPANIES TO ASSIST IN CONTROLLING DEVELOPMENT OF COMMUNITY INFRASTRUCTURE (March 2, 2020)

[Toronto, ON:] – Chiefs of the Matawa First Nations in Northern Ontario announced Monday they are creating a New Way Forward in developing community infrastructure in their traditional territory. Discussions are ongoing with PCL Construction, Enterprise Canada, Ontario Power Generation and EPCOR Canada to determine how best to meet the infrastructure needs in Matawa communities.

Matawa First Nations will play a lead role in developing Northern infrastructure and guiding the Emerging Northern Economy. Through new relationships with leading Canadian companies, an innovative new approach to financing and managing the construction the needs of these communities can be defined for Matawa communities who have long waited for crucial infrastructure that will bring their people the stability and hope that they deserve.

The announcement at PDAC 2020 in Toronto is the result of months of work looking at the control of development in the Matawa region while also preparing for future development needs. Matawa and these partner companies are discussing the creation of a corporation to oversee construction and financing of infrastructure across the region. Continue Reading →

The thin white line: How Northern Ontario’s winter roads are built and kept safe to drive – by Marcus Gee (Globe and Mail – February 24, 2020)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

Roy Moonias stands on a rise overlooking a frozen lake bathed in wintry moonlight. In the distance, the headlights of a big fuel truck appear. “It’s coming,” he shouts, holding up his phone to shoot some video.

Mr. Moonias has a professional interest in the truck’s progress: His men built the road it is travelling on. Open for only a few weeks a year, the winter road to his remote Indigenous community passes over muskeg, swamps, eskers, creeks and, finally, this lake. His crew has been striving since November to get it ready: Plowing, smoothing, flooding and clearing fallen timber until everything is just right, or as right as it can be on a road constructed of ice and snow on a foundation of muck.

Now, the road is set for its big test. Snowplows have cleared the ice on the lake, leaving a wide corridor lined by snowbanks that stretches a kilometre and a half from shore to shore. Crews have set up log posts fixed with reflectors to mark the way. Continue Reading →

‘Serious damage’: Businesses warn of looming layoffs, loss of sales as rail disruption drags on – by Jesse Snyder and Julia Mastroianni (Financial Post – February 19, 2020)

https://business.financialpost.com/

Businesses are warning of looming layoffs, lost revenue and a hit to Canada’s reputation, as rail disruptions drag on in the country.

A coalition of 39 industry associations wrote a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday, calling on him to “work urgently” with First Nations and police to bring the blockade to a peaceful end.

“The damage inflicted on the Canadian economy and on the welfare of all our citizens mounts with each hour that these illegal disruptions are allowed to continue,” the coalition said, which represents automotives, mining and numerous other industries. Continue Reading →

Infrastructure Bank to advise on proposed $1.6-billion Manitoba-Nunavut hydro link – by Bill Curry (Globe and Mail – February 5, 2020)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

The Canada Infrastructure Bank will advise proponents of a plan to bring hydroelectricity and broadband internet from northern Manitoba to several communities in Nunavut.

Known as the Kivalliq Hydro-Fibre Link project, it would lead to the construction of a 1,200-kilometre, 150-megawatt transmission line joining Gillam, Man., to four Nunavut communities on the northwestern shore of Hudson Bay, as well as inland to Baker Lake. The project would also include a fibre-optic link, bringing broadband internet to the region.

Proponents say the project would bring environmental benefits by replacing diesel power, while also supporting Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd.’s gold mining activity in the region. Continue Reading →

Thunder Bay: Warm weather creating ‘crisis’ for First Nations that rely on ice roads (CBC News Thunder Bay – February 4, 2020)

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/thunder-bay/

Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug is flying in fuel and pondering how to ship materials for a new school

Warm weather is playing havoc with the winter road network that connects remote First Nations in northwestern Ontario to the provincial highway system, according to the Nishnawbe Aski Nation.

Only one community’s winter road was fully operational as of Jan. 31, according to NAN’s winter road report. Fifteen communities have roads that are open to light traffic and three to partial traffic. Six communities’ roads are still under construction, and six communities have roads that are closed due to weather.

“It is a developing crisis as many of our communities are running out of fuel and cannot haul anything in,” NAN Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler wrote on Twitter. “We need immediate government intervention.” Continue Reading →

Poor winter road conditions a growing concern for NAN – by Doug Diaczuk (tbnewswatch.com – January 31, 2020)

https://www.tbnewswatch.com/

Many winter roads throughout the region are still not safe and communities that rely on the network for supplies like fuel are worried about financial impacts

THUNDER BAY – Poor winter road conditions throughout the north are becoming a growing concern for remote First Nation communities that rely on the seasonal transportation network to bring in crucial supplies.

“It’s becoming more and more concerning,” said Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief, Alvin Fiddler. “Now that we are at the end of January, the fact that many of our communities still can’t haul big loads, so fuel or other supplies to the communities, is something we need to raise now with both Ontario and Canada.”

Work on winter roads normally begins in November and December, with trucks transporting full loads by mid to late January. “This year they are not even close,” Fiddler said. “Some communities need another 12 inches of ice before they can haul full loads of fuel to their communities.” Continue Reading →

Martin Falls delivers all-season road study update – by Rick Garrick (Wawatay News – January 24, 2020)

http://www.wawataynews.ca/

http://www.martenfallsaccessroad.ca/

Marten Falls delivered an update on its proposed all-season Community Access Road during a Public Information Centre session at the Valhalla Inn in Thunder Bay. “Marten Falls has been wanting an all-season road to the community for a long time and they’ve been working on it for a number of years now,” says Bob Baxter, Marten Falls citizen and member of the Community Access Road project team.

“We’re just in the environmental assessment stage and consulting stage right now to collect feedback from the public and the communities that will be affected.” Baxter says there has been mixed feedback from the community about the Community Access Road. “There’s problems like drug issues that they’re concerned about and the fluctuation of people coming up there to hunt,” Baxter says.

“On the positive side the cost of living would be brought down — the prices would somewhat come down so people would be able to purchase a lot more than they are purchasing now.” Lawrence Baxter, senior community advisor with Marten Falls, says the Community Access Road would be “very beneficial” for the community. Continue Reading →

Ottawa will take your comments on the Ring of Fire road – by Staff (Northern Ontario Business – December 19, 2019)

https://www.northernontariobusiness.com/

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. Continue Reading →

CN Rail strike ends with tentative deal with union, but fallout continues for farmers, miners – by Emily Jackson and Naomi Powell (Financial Post – November 26, 2019)

https://business.financialpost.com/

Canadian National Railway and Teamsters Canada reached a tentative agreement to renew the collective agreement for 3,200 conductors and yard crews, ending a week-long strike that choked the country’s rail capacity at a critical shipping time for farmers.

Employees can return to work as early as Tuesday at 2 p.m., with normal operations resuming Wednesday at 6 a.m., according to statements from CN and the union. The parties have agreed to no further job action during the ratification process, which is expected to take eight weeks.

Details of the agreement will not be revealed until members vote on the deal by secret ballot, but the union previously said the dispute was over long hours and fatigue that led to what it characterized as dangerous working conditions. Continue Reading →

Nutrien forced to shut down largest mine due to CN strike – by Eric Atkins (Globe and Mail – November 25, 2019)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

The week-long strike by 3,200 Canadian National Railway Co. train conductors has forced the shutdown of Nutrien Ltd.’s potash mine in Rocanville, Sask.

Nutrien, the world’s largest fertilizer company, said on Monday it will halt output at its largest mine for two weeks beginning Dec. 2., as the impact of the strike at Canada’s largest rail company widens.

“It is extremely disappointing that in a year when the agricultural sector has been severely impacted by poor weather and trade disputes, the CN strike will add further hardship to the Canadian agriculture industry,” said Chuck Magro, Nutrien’s chief executive officer. “Any further disruption will be harmful to our business, the Canadian economy, and Canada’s competitive position and reputation as a reliable supplier of fertilizer and food.” Continue Reading →