They’re calling it the “Corridor to Prosperity.”
This, from Greg Rickford, the Minister of Indigenous Affairs and Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines on the current progression of the Ring of Fire.
“There is great movement,” Rickford said. “We were in Sault Ste Marie just a couple of weeks ago focusing on the opportunities. The regional framework is over, almost $30 million later. The previous government failed to get us to a place with shovels in the ground.”
Earlier, MyNorthBayNow.com reported the government is working on bilateral deals with each First Nations community along the proposed route, and it is moving along according to Rickford.
“We endeavoured to support corridor studies and options for communities to actually create access to this important region. We are moving ahead on bilateral agreements with indigenous communities most proximal to sites where mines can be opening. We are calling this the ‘Corridor to Prosperity.’”
Part of the corridor studies is the feasibility of creating a year-round road to these communities that previously had no access.
“This isn’t just about the Ring of Fire with all due respect,” Rickford explained. “It’s about creating opportunities in health, economics, and social elements for communities who desire to have road access.”
Rickford is optimistic that the bilateral agreements could be in place this fall, with environmental studies to be completed by the end of the year.
“It may sound aspirational to most, but we hope that we can get shovels in the ground to the Corridor of Prosperity as early as late winter or early spring. I think it is time that we start to set those goals and achieve those.”
Premier Doug Ford who attended the first day of the IPM was also asked about the Ring of Fire, as he had said in his campaign that you would see him on a bulldozer if that’s what it took to get the development underway.
“It is absolutely critical for our administration and no one knows that file more than Minister Rickford. As I said during the election, I am going to keep that promise. You’re going to see me on that bulldozer as soon as we can get going. It is one of the highest priorities for not only our government but all of Ontario,” Ford said.
“We couldn’t be more excited about the response from Indigenous leaders who just want to move forward,” Rickford said. “Build the roads and mines will come.”
The road option seems to have put the railway option a bit on the back burner. When asked about the chances of the Ontario Northland Railway running a railway through to the Ring of Fire, Premier Ford stated that he would have to defer that to Minister Rickford. Rickford was not available at that time and a request for a quote was not returned at the time of publication.