Assessment continues for Webequie road

·2 min read

THUNDER BAY, ONT. — An environmental assessment continues for the development of the Webequie Supply Road, which will pave the way for a major connection between Webequie First Nation and the Ring of Fire mining sector.

“We are not at the road-building phase yet,” said Webequie Chief Cornelius Wabasse. “We have just updated the public on the process.”

The 107-kilometre proposed winding road would span from the Webequie community through to the heart of the exploration activities, Wabasse says.

“By air, it’s only 70 km,” he said. “The purpose of the supply road is to allow the community to benefit from the movement of supplies, materials and people to future mining developments from Webequie First Nations airport, so it’s really to benefit the community and other parties that could be part of that.”

Wabasse anticipates that the road could also serve as the main transportation passage for the exporting of mined materials from the excavation sites.

“That’s something that we are working on,” he said. “We’re still working on how things are gonna roll out. But that’s what we’re hoping for — to flow things through the community.”

Webequie First Nation, which is a member of Matawa First Nation and closely affiliated with Nishnawbe Aski Nation, is about 540 kilometres north of Thunder Bay with a population of 850 on-reserve and 200 off-reserve people who are either studying, working or living away from the community for various purposes.

Wabasse says the supply road would provide long-term benefits for the community with many business opportunities for their members. The community is working with both the provincial and federal governments to find funding for the project, Wabasse says the mining industry is not involved at this time but is there to help them if they need it.

Sandi Krasowski, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Chronicle-Journal