For now, publicly funded report locked away – by Carol Mulligan (Sudbury Star – August 25, 2016)

Taxpayers paid $785,000 for Ring of Fire study

The results of a much-vaunted study, said to be a starting point in plans to develop infrastructure for the Ring of Fire, will not be released unless and until the First Nations who completed it make it public.

The governments of Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne announced with fanfare in March 2015 they would jointly fund a $785,000 study into an east-west road corridor near the Ring.

The study was to look at how developing an east-west road to connect with the provincial road system would benefit First Nations in the area. The report, “All Season Community Road Study, Final Report June 30, 2016” was completed almost two months ago, but no mention of that has been made by either government.

At a news conference in Sudbury this week, Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was asked about the progress of the study and the work his government is doing to develop rich chromite and nickel deposits in the Ring.

Trudeau essentially said it was up to the province to move forward plans for the Ring of Fire and did not mention the study was done.

When asked Wednesday by The Sudbury Star if the study would be available to the public, Gravelle issued a statement.

He said his government is reviewing the regional community service corridor study done by Webequie, Eabametoong, Neskantaga and Nibinamik First Nations, all of whom are located near the Ring of Fire.

“As authors of the corridor study, it would be up to the communities to decide to release it publicly,” Gravelle said of the report in an email to The Sudbury Star on Wednesday.

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