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Early engagement period on Northern Road Link draft terms of reference closes

Road will enable regional economic development by connecting Ring of Fire area to the provincial highway network
Northern Road Link map
(Northern Road Link website map)

The early engagement period for the Marten Falls First Nation and Webequie First Nation’s Northern Road Link (NRL) project’s Draft Terms of Reference (ToR) is now complete, which enables the project to advance to the next phase of review and engagement.

The Notice of Commencement for the Draft ToR review period was announced on November 24, 2021, to provide the public and Indigenous communities the opportunity to provide early input on the NRL over a 45-day period.

Originally scheduled to close on January 8, 2022, the project’s First Nation proponents provided more time for early engagement till January 31st, 2022. This was a voluntary step by the project, which means it was not required for the environmental assessment process, but this early input opportunity was provided to Indigenous communities and other stakeholders to enable early engagement and to encourage communities to reflect on the draft ToR in advance of the formal comment period that begins after the ToR is submitted to MECP as a proposed ToR. This step is anticipated to take place in early spring.

The NRL is a proposed multi-use road that will link the proposed Marten Falls Community Access Road (MFCAR) and the proposed Webequie Supply Road (WSR).

The primary purpose of the NRL is to enable economic development in the region by connecting the Ring of Fire area to the provincial highway network.The NRL all-season road will also connect the remote community of Webequie First Nation to the provincial highway system.

The NRL is an Indigenous-led project by Marten Falls First Nation and Webequie First Nation. Marten Falls First Nation and Webequie First Nation have volunteered to submit the project to the highest level of regulatory scrutiny, an Individual Environmental Assessment (EA).

The NRL project team extends our gratitude to those who participated in the early engagement period of the ToR. Your input will be considered as the Draft Terms of Reference is revised and submitted to the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks for review.

The ToR is the first step of Environmental Assessment under the requirements of the Ontario Environmental Assessment Act, RSO 1990, c. E.18 and it sets out a framework and work plan for addressing legislative requirements to build and complete the project. Indigenous communities, government agencies, municipal officials, members of the public and other interested persons are encouraged to continue engaging with the NRL throughout the EA.

Further consultation and engagement opportunities under the regulator’s oversight will be organized throughout the EA process and communicated through newspaper advertisements, radio, mail-outs, social media posts and on the project website.