Winter Roads Program Connects Remote Communities
Province Invests In Better Access To Services And Supplies For Ontario's Far North
TORONTO - Communities in Ontario's Far North will benefit again this year through investments by the Ontario government under the winter roads construction program, Northern Development and Mines Minister Michael Gravelle announced today.
"I understand how crucial winter roads are for the economic and social well being of residents of Far North communities," said Gravelle. "I am pleased that our government's support of an annual winter roads construction program is once again helping remote communities have more economical, safe and convenient access to services and supplies."
The McGuinty government has committed nearly $3.5 million to the 2007-2008 winter roads network. With this funding, 23 First Nations communities or winter road organizations and the Town of Moosonee will build seasonal roads measuring a total of nearly 3,000 kilometres, about the driving distance from Sioux Lookout to Whitehorse, Yukon Territory.
Winter roads are built over frozen ground and waterways to connect communities in the Far North to the province's permanent highway and rail systems. Weather permitting, the winter roads are in use from late January until late March. The winter roads are built and maintained by First Nations communities or winter road corporations, which are expected to contribute the remainder of the funds required.
This funding is one more example of how, working together with Ontarians, the McGuinty government has supported improvements to economic and community well-being in the Far North. Other examples include:
- Investing $20,000 in a 2007 regional planning forum in Thunder Bay to help address First Nations' winter road access and transportation issues
- Investing $70,000 in 2007-08 to allow First Nations to explore the development of a Northern Ontario Winter Road Transportation Authority
- Investing $637,000 through the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation to help the Asheweig Winter Roads Corporation re-align approximately 140 kilometres of its winter road network to traverse higher ground and avoid major water crossings
- Investing a total of $16.5 million through the Winter Roads Program since October 2003 to build seasonal roads in Ontario's Far North.
Information on winter road conditions is available from each community. A list of road construction projects is attached. A map of the winter road network and community contacts may be found at: http://www.mndm.gov.on.ca/mndm/nordev/wroads/default_e.asp