Future Directions For The Far North Of Ontario
The Ministry of Natural Resources is working with Nishnawbe Aski Nation and Far North First Nations to develop a community-based land use planning process that will establish a network of conservation lands across the Far North totalling at least 225,000 square kilometres.
Land use planning will also identify where sustainable economic development in the Far North may take place.
Progress to date includes:
- Ontario and Nishnawbe Aski Nation have been working together to develop principles and processes that will guide land use planning across the region. Land use planning will recognize the unique ecological and cultural features of the Far North while allowing for areas of sustainable economic development that benefit First Nations communities.
- Individual First Nations communities are taking the lead while working jointly with the ministry to develop community-based land use plans for their local areas. The incorporation of traditional Aboriginal knowledge will be an important component of these plans. At present, six communities are in advanced stages of planning: Cat Lake/Slate Falls, Eabametoong/Mishkeegogamang, Moose Cree and Constance Lake. Ten others have initiated discussions with the ministry.
- The provincial government has committed $30 million over four years (2008 to 2012) to support consultations and engagement and other key components of the Far North Planning Initiative including science and information, sustainable land use planning and resource management in the Far North.
- The Ministry of Natural Resources has so far allocated $3 million in funding to Nishnawbe Aski Nation and Far North First Nations for community engagement, mapping of traditional land uses and collection of traditional Aboriginal knowledge, and to help communities build land-use planning capacity.
- The Far North Advisory Council, made up of representatives from resource industries and environmental groups, provided input to the Minister of Natural Resources concerning land use planning, conservation, resource management and development.
- The Far North Science Panel, made up of scientists from within and outside government, is providing input on a broad range of issues related to ecosystem management, resource development, carbon sequestration, areas of protection, and improving understanding of threats to the natural values of the Far North and ways to mitigate those threats.
- The ministry will continue to seek input from First Nations, northern municipalities, resource industries, environmental groups and the general public.