All-season road dreams could be reality: minister

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With limited transportation infrastructure in the North, the $400 million reserved for the three territories’ infrastructure projects might bring some NWT all-season road projects closer to reality.

Infrastructure Minister Wally Schumann, left, Speaker Jackson Lafferty, Premier Bob McLeod, Minister of Transportaion Marc Garneau, Whati Chief Ernest Nitsiza, MP Michael McLeod took a flight over Whati to view the area where an all-season road is being planned for the community. Minister Garneau was in Yellowknife Aug. 28 to announce the dedication of $400 million for the three territories that will be divided out among successful Government, Aboriginal group and private contractor bids for transportation projects.
photo courtesy of GNWT

Building new infrastructure in the region’s extreme climate, with dispersed populations and high construction costs is the reason the federal government is making special provision for the three territories through the National Trade Corridors Fund, said federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau, in Yellowknife Aug. 28.

“I’ve just come back from a fly-over of the proposed Tlicho all-season road. Trade and transportation corridors are one of the backbones of the economy and we are contributing to their efficiency and reliability in Canada including the North,” said Garneau.

The deadline of Sept. 5 is looming and time is short for territorial governments, Indigenous groups and private sector organizations to get their proposals in.

Ethel Blondin Andrew, chairperson with the Sahtu Secretariat Inc. (SSI), said, “We’re really putting all our effort behind the GNWT application. The minister is putting four hundred million dollars out there and there are competitive projects, so, we are just focusing on the Mackenzie Valley. We want the completion of the highway, that’s a resolution (SSI) did in 2014 and it still stands.”

Blondin Andrew said the working group is using consistent methods to ensure the completion of the Mackenzie Valley highway to gain access all the way to Inuvik. Currently work is being done on the first 14 kilometres of the highway from Norman Wells to Canyon Creek.

“We want completion of the highway and to secure the money is the first step and the details come later,” she said. “Although the GNWT has done extensive work on all that and we’ve been working with them. That’s where we’re at, we just at the part where we work together with the GNWT.”