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McGuinty Government Invests $3 Million In Northern Winter Roads

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McGuinty Government Invests $3 Million In Northern Winter Roads

TORONTO - The McGuinty government is investing $3 million to deliver positive change by connecting the province's remote First Nations communities to permanent highway and rail systems, Northern Development and Mines Minister Rick Bartolucci announced today.

Minister Bartolucci's tour of northwestern Ontario and several Far North communities began in Thunder Bay today, where he met with First Nations representatives.

"Providing reliable winter access for residents in the Far North is a high priority for this government," said Bartolucci. "I am very pleased that so many First Nations communities are benefiting from the province's investment in the winter roads program."

Thirty-one remote First Nations communities that rely solely on air or water transportation at other times of the year are connected to permanent highway and rail systems each winter by seasonal roads built over frozen ground and waterways.

The majority of this winter's 3,000 kilometres of roads are now under construction, with some already completed and open to the public. In most cases, the communities cost-share and manage the construction of winter roads, which are typically in use from January to late March, weather permitting.

"The annual winter roads program plays an important role in helping Aboriginal communities promote their economies through enhanced access to other areas of the province," said Michael Bryant, Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Native Affairs. "This is in keeping with our goal of working closely with these communities toward increased opportunities for a better future."

Up-to-date information on winter roads is available from each community. A list of road construction projects and a map are attached. Online, the map and community contacts may be found at: http://www.mndm.gov.on.ca/mndm/nordev/PDFs/winterroads0304eng.pdf.

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