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Remote First Nations To See Benefits From Winter Roads Project

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Remote First Nations To See Benefits From Winter Roads Project

New Investment Means Longer Season For Asheweig Winter Roads

SIOUX LOOKOUT - The McGuinty government is improving road safety and lowering transportation costs for several First Nations in the Far North by supporting the realignment of their winter road network, Northern Development and Mines Minister Rick Bartolucci announced today.

"A mild winter that shortens the seasonal road's lifespan has serious economic consequences for Far North communities," said Bartolucci. "That's why we're supporting a project to build bridges and move sections of the Asheweig winter road to higher ground. By avoiding the wait for low-lying areas and deep waterways to freeze enough to support heavy vehicles, residents in this area will benefit from a winter road that lasts longer, is safer and more cost-effective."

The Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC) is contributing $958,649 toward the Asheweig Winter Roads Corporation project to finish realigning two segments of its seasonal roads network to higher ground and around large water crossings. The project involves building a route that circumvents Big Trout Lake to reach the First Nations communities of Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug and Wapekeka, and mapping a new easterly route north of Kingfisher Lake.

The not-for-profit corporation is owned by the six remote fly-in First Nations communities of Kasabonika, Kingfisher Lake, Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug, Wapekeka, Wawakapwin and Wunnumin Lake. At nearly 475 kilometres, the corporation's winter roads system is the province's longest.

"Ontario is charting a new course for constructive, cooperative relationships with Aboriginal peoples living in Ontario," said David Ramsay, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs. "Through this relationship of mutual respect, we aim to develop productive partnerships, collaborate on key initiative and achieve real progress on common goals."

This funding is just one way the McGuinty government is improving transportation for residents in the Far North. Other recent initiatives include:

•    Investing $3.5 million in 2005-2006 winter roads

•    Investing nearly $6 million to build a new harbour and connecting road for Fort Severn

•    Investing $38,800 in the first phase of a Mushkegowuk Council transportation study

Today's winter roads investment is part of the government's Northern Prosperity Plan. It has four pillars: Strengthening the North and its Communities; Listening to and Serving Northerners Better; Competing Globally; and Providing Opportunities for All.

Laura Blondeau
Minister's Office - Sudbury
(705) 564-7454    

Michel Lavoie    
MNDM/NOHFC - Sudbury
(705) 564-7125



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