THUNDER BAY – Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Stan Beardy is concerned that the funding allocated by the Ontario government for land-use planning in the far north is not enough. Beardy made his remarks following the Ontario Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs’ (MAA) 45 million dollar announcement today of which two-million dollars will be set-aside annually, over three-years, for land-use planning in Northern Ontario.
“Land-use planning is essential to determine what areas need to be protected and what areas could be developed. Proper resourcing on a timely basis for community-driven land-use planning is a priority for NAN communities in order to create opportunities for all future economic activity. A more significant amount of funding is required to ensure proper-planning for an area that spans fifty-five million hectares, two-thirds of Ontario,” said NAN Grand Chief Stan Beardy.
The announcement by MAA also includes 13 million dollars to be used each year, over three-years, for skills training for First Nations, Metis and other Northern Ontarians. Beardy says despite the funding shortfall for land-use planning, it’s essential for NAN First Nations to take advantage of industry skills development.
“It’s vital that NAN community members take advantage of skills training opportunities to ensure that we play a major role in the development of all economic sectors including mining in the far north. NAN territory is home to new and exciting prospects such as the activity taking place in the Ring of Fire – it’s important that we play a role in that development,” said Beardy.
Interested parties must apply for the training dollars. The first application funding deadline is September 10, 2010.