Lakehead to host winter road forum

The Ontario government is helping improve seasonal winter roads in Ontario’s Far North by investing $20,000 in a regional planning forum, Northern Development and Mines Minister Rick Bartolucci announced yesterday.
“This forum will address issues related to the effective planning and design of winter roads linking our most remote and isolated northern First Nation communities,” noted Bartolucci.
“Winter roads are essential to reducing the transportation costs for people, supplies, and materials moving to and from Far North communities during the winter,” he added.
The funding will be used by the Nishnawbe Aski Development Fund (NADF) to organize and present the 2007 Winter Road Forum, which will take place in Thunder Bay on June 12-13.
The goal of the forum is to facilitate information sharing among Far North communities and the provincial and federal governments, and to enhance winter road planning strategies.
The forum will seek the input of remote First Nations on proposed improvements regarding the existing winter road network.
“Realigning winter roads to higher ground is an example of how the seasonal network can be improved through better planning,” said Bartolucci.
“At a time when climate change is affecting the durability of winter roads, it is important that we help Far North communities remain connected via road links as long as possible to continue to move people, goods and services.”
“We appreciate the Ontario government’s commitment to addressing First Nations winter road access and transportation issues,” said Harvey Yesno, president/CEO of NADF.
“The upcoming forum will play a significant role in helping aboriginal communities to maximize the benefits of their annual winter road networks and continue to build new opportunities for a better future,” he added.
The government’s support for winter roads is part of the Northern Prosperity Plan.