Mushkegowuk Council’s James Bay All-Season Road Feasibility Study wins Ontario Engineering Project Award of Merit from ACEC-Ontario (Morrison Hershfield Blog)

 

http://blog.morrisonhershfield.com/

The James Bay All-Season Road Feasibility Study won an Award of Merit at the 2021 Ontario Engineering Project Awards (OEPA) hosted by ACEC-Ontario. The OEPA program recognizes the dedication and innovation advancements of ACEC-ON’s member firms within the engineering industry.

This Feasibility Study was a collaborative effort between the Mushkegowuk Council (MC), Attawapiskat First Nation, Kashechewan First Nation, Fort Albany First Nation, Moose Cree First Nation and Taykwa Tagamou Nation. This unique project has the potential to provide significant benefits to these communities.

Andrew Harkness, Director and Senior Project Manager with Morrison Hershfield expressed that “This has been an important and exciting project for Morrison Hershfield. We appreciate the opportunity to have worked with the Mushkegowuk Council and the western James Bay communities. It was a great collaboration, where traditional knowledge, technical innovation and extensive community engagement all came together to produce a successful study outcome.”

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G7 leaders look to counter China’s Belt and Road Initiative with rival Build Back Better World scheme (Australian Broadcasting Corporation – June 13, 2021)

https://www.abc.net.au/

The Group of Seven richest democracies has sought to counter China’s growing influence by offering developing nations an infrastructure plan that could rival President Xi Jinping’s multi-trillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative.

The G7, whose leaders are meeting in south-west England, has been searching for a coherent response to the growing assertiveness of Mr Xi after China’s surging economic and military rise over the past 40 years.

US President Joe Biden and other G7 leaders hope their plan, known as the Build Back Better World (B3W) initiative, will provide a transparent infrastructure partnership to help narrow the $US40 trillion ($51.9 trillion) needed by developing nations by 2035, the White House said.

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A road to the Ring of Fire is ‘everything.’ Railway? Not so much – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – February 22, 2021)

https://www.northernontariobusiness.com/

Noront Resources exploration boss digs into the details of the 2021 exploration year

The mineral endowment in the Ring of Fire appears to be vast, deep, rich and long-lasting.

As compelling as the geological picture is of the world-class base and precious metal deposits in the Far North exploration camp, 500 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay, all anyone wants to talk about is, what’s happening with the access roads?

It’s a topic of discussion too with Noront Resources, the leading mine developer in the James Bay lowlands. “The road is everything,” said Ryan Weston, the company’s vice-president of exploration, at a recent web gathering of the Sudbury Prospectors and Developers Association.

“Without the road there’s no Ring of Fire development, which means there’s no exploration.”

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KWG forging ahead with Ring of Fire railroad – by Jim Moodie (Sudbury Star – February 7, 2021)

https://www.thesudburystar.com/

Capreol native and veteran railroader Tony Marquis came out of retirement to take on a project he believes could “give a real kickstart to rail in Northern Ontario.”

Marquis is now in charge of constructing a rail route to the Ring of Fire, as newly appointed head of Canada Chrome Corporation, a subsidiary of KWG Resources.

“When KWG spawned this new company they staked claims from the Ring of Fire to an area just outside of Nakina, by the Aroland First Nation,” said Marquis. “The claims are on an esker that basically comes straight down, so that’s how the railroad would be built, right upon the esker.”

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NEWS RELEASE: Marten Falls First Nation and Webequie First Nation Select SNC Lavalin and Dillon Consulting to Conduct Environmental Assessment for the Northern Road Link (January 28, 2021)

THUNDER BAY, ON, Jan. 28, 2021 /CNW/ – Marten Falls First Nation and Webequie First Nation are taking the necessary next steps to study the potential for road infrastructure development in Ontario’s remote north. The two First Nations today announced that SNC-Lavalin and Dillon Consulting have been selected to complete an Environmental Assessment on a proposed all-season road that will link the two remote First Nations and connect to emerging mining sites in the Ring of Fire area.

Says Chief Cornelius Wabasse of Webequie First Nation; “Following a competitive RFP process, our First Nations have awarded the contract for the Northern Road Link’s Environmental Assessment to SNC-Lavalin and Dillon Consulting.

The proposed Northern Road Link is a highly sensitive project that requires the most rigorous studies related to environmental, water, climate change, and cumulative effects. Given their previous studies done in Ontario Far North, SNC-Lavalin and Dillon Consulting are familiar with community principles when it comes to economic development, and we look forward to working collaboratively to generate the EA information to make an informed decision.”

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One step closer to the dream of an Alaska to Alberta railway – by Colby Cosh (National Post – September 30, 2020)

https://nationalpost.com/

On Sunday, the president of the United States, while horsing around on Twitter in his familiar fashion, announced that he intends to issue a presidential permit for a rail line running from Alaskan seaports to the Canadian bitumen capital, Fort McMurray, Alta.

If you were expecting this news to provoke jubilation in Alberta, you might have been a little disappointed. Clearance from the U.S. executive is a necessary piece of the puzzle now being pieced together by the Alaska-Alberta Railway Corporation, but unfortunately, it’s a thousand-piece puzzle.

And so far there is an absence of enthusiastic helpers to put their hands to the work. The Alaska-to-Alberta (A2A) rail concept has been around in various forms for decades. It doesn’t take a genius of enterprise to wonder why there is no freight link from south-central Alaska’s tidewater to the rest of the continental economy.

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Trump to approve $22B railway between Alaska and Alberta – by Sarah Rieger (CBC News Calagary – September 27, 2020)

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/

U.S. President Donald Trump says he will grant approval to a $22-billion freight rail project connecting Alaska and Alberta.

The president tweeted Friday that based on the recommendations of Alaska Senator Dan Sullivan and Congressman Don Young, he will be issuing a presidential permit approving the A2A Rail project.

The project would build a new rail line from Fort McMurray, Alta., through the Northwest Territories and Yukon to the Delta Junction in Alaska, where it will connect with existing rail and continue on to ports near Anchorage.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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‘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.

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