The first step in a provincial environmental assessment (EA) of a supply road to the Ring of Fire is underway.
Webequie First Nation, the community closest to the Far North mineral deposits, has initiated the EA study of a permanent road running from Webequie's airport to the fly-in exploration camps near McFaulds Lake in the James Bay lowlands.
The length of the proposed road is 107 kilometres. According to a document posted Jan. 25 on a community road project web page, the EA's terms of reference (ToR) are being prepared, which basically outlines the framework and the work plan for the study.
The ToR will be submitted to the Ministry bf the Environment, Conservation and Parks for review this spring.
The actual environmental assessment, slated to start this year, is a three-year process.
Since September 2017, Webequie, as the road proponent, has been tasked with selecting the route and doing all the consultation with the community, trappers, harvesters, and other land users.
SNC-Lavalin has been hired to provide the community with environmental and engineering support.
Besides assessing the potential adverse effects of the route, some preliminary engineering will be done to determine the types of bridges needed for water crossings.
Ontario's process is supposed to be running in co-ordination with a federal EA effort, but with Ottawa overhauling how it reviews major natural resource projects, it's unknown how this will impact the overall development of the Ring of...