A study is underway to look at constructing a year-round road to connect the James Bay coast to the Highway 11 corridor. Among the options the study is considering is whether to put the road at Constance Lake First Nation or at the former Fraserdale site just north of Smooth Rock Falls. Mushkegowuk-James Bay MPP Guy Bourgouin says the economic benefit for both communities as well as Hearst would be tremendous.
“Travel, it’s quite a ways so it could mean stay overs,” he said. “It could mean groceries, and it could be a lot of potential and also for First Nation. There is a lot of potential for economic development as you know to try and give access to businesses to First Nation communities.”
Bourgouin adds that it will be interesting to see what direction First Nations go in.
“I had a chance to speak to Grand Chief Soloman,” he said. “He is saying that Guy we are still in the process of evaluating the environmental studies, the cost, the impact on the environment. So there is a lot of communities involved. There is a lot of work ahead, but it’s moving gradually.”
A grant from the provincial government is covering the cost of a feasibility study that’s being carried out by First Nations. Bourguoin says that the year round access road is something the First Nation leaders have been requesting for a number of years.