By: The Working Forest Staff
NORTH BAY – Ontario’s government is partnering with Nipissing First Nation and investing $12 million to replace the Duchesnay Creek Bridge on Highway 17B in North Bay.
“Our government is committed to being Open for Business and Open for Jobs, and we’re pleased to work with Nipissing First Nation to ensure this vital community link is restored,” said Vic Fedeli, MPP for Nipissing. “This project is mutually beneficial and provides economic opportunity for the Nipissing First Nation community while delivering on important highway infrastructure.”
The new bridge will be procured through a partnership between Nipissing First Nation and Miller Paving Limited to form a limited partnership company that is majority owned by Nipissing First Nation. Through this procurement, Ontario is working with Nipissing First Nation to create opportunities for skills development and job creation while building beneficial infrastructure.
“As our government manages Ontario’s finances in a responsible manner, we are protecting what matters most, including our roads,” said Jeff Yurek, Minister of Transportation. “No matter what the service, policy, program or investment, our government puts people at the heart of our decision making. This funding is a clear example of that commitment. We are working to improve highways all across Ontario.”
“Nipissing First Nation has built a strong business relationship with Miller over the past 15 years, and this announcement represents the fruits of our relationship-building,” said Chief Scott McLeod, Nipissing First Nation. “This bridge is immediately adjacent to our territory and we are pleased to be part of the local economy. It’s these kinds of opportunities that First Nations have been seeking for a long time, but have been historically shut out of through current processes. We acknowledge the Government of Ontario for supporting this proposal, which marks a significant change in the way of doing business and a real step forward towards reconciliation. This means real opportunities for our people – not just platitudes and promises.”
- The project is located on Highway 17B near North Bay and includes one kilometre of paving, replacement of the Duchesnay Creek Bridge and removal of a bridge that crosses over an abandoned Canadian National Railway line.
- A portion of the project near the Duchesnay Creek Bridge goes through Nipissing First Nation reserve land.
- Nipissing First Nation will be providing a shuttle service during construction while the Duchesnay Creek Bridge is replaced. This will provide pedestrians with a safe crossing and maintain the connection between local transit and Nipissing First Nation during construction.
- Work is scheduled to begin summer 2019 and be completed fall 2020.