Sioux Lookout Partners for Economic Development Opportunities

Business in Thunder Bay

SIOUX LOOKOUT – As economic development responsibilities continue to devolve from other orders of government, municipalities and First Nations find themselves increasingly responsible for their own economic well- being. As a result, opportunities for partnerships with regional communities and industry are being sought and developed.

Working together, two municipalities and four First Nations in Northwestern Ontario are embracing a new partnership with industry. Sioux Lookout, Pickle Lake and the four First Nations in the Sioux Lookout Friendship Accord (Lac Seul, Slate Falls, Cat Lake, Kitchenuhmaykoosib Ininuwug) are participating in an economic development project with Noront Resources, Morgan Fuels, CN Rail, and First Mining Finance Corporation.

“Working together”, said Chief Clifford Bull of Lac Seul First Nation, “is the best way for all partners to meet their goals and aspirations.  Lac Seul First Nation is happy to be part of the process.”

The community and industry partners met earlier this year at the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada annual conference in Toronto.  The meeting secured several partnerships.  A ‘Working Group’ was established which   will study the need for an Integrated Transportation System (ITS) from the terminus of the all-weather road northeast of Pickle Lake to Sioux Lookout and beyond. As well as northern all-weather roads, the system includes Highways 594, 516, 72, the CN Rail mainline, and a Trans-Load Facility on the east side of Sioux Lookout. Users will include commercial, industrial, and other agencies.

Noront Resources is pleased to participate in the newly established Working Group. “Noront needs to move its mineral products by road and rail so an appropriately sized and located trans-load facility is a must,” said CEO Alan Coutts.

Sioux Lookout Mayor Doug Lawrance notes, “Northern municipalities and First Nations need new industrial and commercial developments for community economic sustainability. That new development requires investment in infrastructure such as northern all-weather roads, hydro grid extension, and this Integrated Transportation System. This will result in jobs, a broader tax base, and sustainable communities.”

Pickle Lake’s Mayor, Karl Hopf adds he welcomes the opportunities presented by the proposed Integrated Transportation System, as Pickle Lake is the most northern Municipality in Ontario, and the marshalling point for traffic that supplies up to twenty two First Nations communities farther North.

“The unique geographic locations of Pickle Lake and Sioux Lookout combine to present a perfect union to be able to service all the new proposed projects and developments whose time have now come,” says Hopf.

A strong collaborative relationship has developed among this regional group of two municipalities and four First Nations. The First Nation communities are involved in energy, mining, forestry and other commercial activities in the region. The Working Group will be in close communication with regional branches of Provincial Ministries to ensure a collaborative approach to development is taken in the region. All parties can benefit and ultimately the region can grow and prosper.

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