1.2) Extend the Ontario Community Transportation Pilot Grant Program further or develop a permanent funding program for First Nation community transportation.
1.4) Twin the Trans Canada Highway through all of Northern Ontario to improve driver safety and prevent extensive delays when there are accidents and road closures.
1.8) Provide procurement opportunities for First Nation communities to build and maintain roads that connect to the Provincial Highway Network.
Establish maintenance standards for safety and improve public notification of road conditions as many First Nations people depend on these connecting roads to access their communities.
1.9) Develop a procurement system that increases and encourages the use of First Nation companies/businesses/skilled workers in projects to increase economic opportunities for First Nations.
Encourage/train/assist First Nations in the development of becoming independent business owners.
1.11) Develop an Aviation Policy that includes a funding mechanism for Remote Northern Airports as they do not generate enough revenue to support their essential function and infrastructure needs (Airport Capital Assistance Program ((ACAP)) is not sufficient and Federal and Provincial Governments both have responsibilities in this area).
Install Helipads in Remote First Nation Communities without airstrips to provide medical transportation in emergency situations. Float planes cannot be used consistently throughout the year due to weather conditions and the period of time in between seasons as ice landing strips are the only means of access during winter months to these communities that have permanent residents (Wawakapewin First Nation a priority location and any others without year-round air/road access).
2.1) Develop a system to provide real-time travel information for winter road users in Northern Ontario. Winter roads provide essential transportation of goods and people during winter months and these areas do not have cellular service and pose a safety concern for those who may break down or require road condition updates as they travel across frozen waterways increasingly impacted by climate change.
2.2) Expand cellular service in Northern Ontario where large gaps exist to improve safety for road users. Many long stretches of highway do not have gas stations, rest stops, or emergency roadside phones.
Highway 527 – cellular gaps not indicated on NOMTS map. Winter Roads connecting to First Nation communities. Thunder Bay, ON to Dryden, ON – cellular gaps not indicated on NOMTS map.
2.3 & 3.4) Rest areas, laybys and roadside pull-offs should be considered along winter roads and future all-season roads connecting First Nation communities, as well as existing roads that connect to the winter road network to improve driver safety.
Highway 599, 105, 72, 527, 631, etc.
3.1 & 3.2) Remote Northern Airports require their own funding mechanism as costs are inflated in remote areas compared to Municipalities.
Remote Northern Airports Require the following:
- Additional staff & on-call provision to guarantee service
- Back-up generators with Automatic Transfer switches
- LPV approaches to drastically improve safety of air travel in Northern Ontario & reduce cargo costs by reducing the number of missed approaches in inclement weather
- High Intensity runway lighting
- Larger, heated waiting rooms that are accessible to passengers when needed
- Running hot water in airport restrooms
- Private security screening room with x-ray scanners to prevent further contraband/weapons from entering First Nation communities
- High speed internet
- New airport agreements with First Nation communities that clearly define jurisdiction and guidelines for equipment use for road maintenance from the remote airports to nursing stations within the communities.
3.2) Widen runway/runoff areas at remote northern airports to accommodate LPV approaches and larger aircraft.
3.3) Winter roads must be aligned to higher ground to mitigate climate change impacts and ensure sufficient funding for permanent water crossings.
Increased funding is required for winter road construction and maintenance, particularly water crossings (bridges).
Safety standards for winter roads and public information about ice thickness/conditions to ensure safe travel along winter roads.
Signage along winter road networks and roads connecting to winter roads about distances, conditions, gas stations, cellular coverage, etc.
3.5) Security screening at Remote Northern Airports is necessary to stop the shipment/smuggling of contraband that is fueling addiction and social issues within First Nation communities.
Security must also be strongly considered with the all-season road development and the social implications that will occur once communities are connected.
3.6) Work with other Ministries to remove barriers within current policies that are delaying construction and permitting of all-season road development.
Invest in training opportunities for remote community members to increase procurement/employment opportunities for First Nations (i.e. All-season road construction and maintenance).
3.6 & 3.7) Develop an integrated corridor planning approach for infrastructure in Northern Ontario (i.e. electrical transmission lines, all-season roads, broadband, etc.) to minimize habitat fragmentation and water crossing impacts.
Increase funding/capacity to realign winter roads to higher ground as climate change impacts are rapidly increasing.
Consider amendments to the Far North Act to remove barriers that prevent First Nation communities in all-season road development (in collaboration with all Ministries).
4.1) First Nation communities need high speed internet accessible to everyone to increase training, education and employment opportunities.
4.2) Remote service delivery through telecommunications can be used for various situations:
- job training/certification
- video court (Justice system)
- education (GED, OIT)
4.3) Promote/fund initiatives that encourage local food production.
Consider transportation and reduction of food costs with longer runways = larger aircraft = cheaper food.
4.5) Climate change monitoring is essential in Northern Ontario as impacts are further advanced in the North and are drastically impacting the lives of First Nations who lose their ability to access food (hunting/fishing/trapping) from the land. This is due to a combination of changes in animal migrations, weather and natural occurrences made worse by climate change (i.e. wildfires, flooding).
Climate change monitoring is necessary to justify the funding required to mitigate the impacts.
5.1) The majority of diesel emissions in Northern Ontario are from Diesel Generation Systems (DGS) that provide power to remote First Nation communities and therefore the focus should be to replace those systems with renewable energy sources such as solar and wind to drastically reduce emissions.
5.3) Engage/incorporate climate change impacts/data from First Nations as they are the best source of information as to impacts in their regions on water, forest, animals, migrations, etc.
Emergency Management – consider impacts such as flooding and wildfires and the lack of ability to quickly evacuate remote First Nations by air due to short, gravel runways that cannot accommodate large aircraft.
5.4) Nuclear waste – transporting nuclear waste through First Nations traditional lands/territories is NOT supported.
Transportation of fuel and other dangerous goods should be handled/regulated carefully to prevent disastrous spills that can contaminate watersheds that provide drinking water and food to First Nations.
Road conditions in the North increase the odds of accidents and therefore spills and should be considered (i.e. single lane highway, winter roads, weather, etc.).
5.5) Increase opportunities for First Nation communities to access cycling/walking paths (funding) within their communities where current dirt roads are leading to respiratory health problems and therefore less physical activity.
5.6) Some First Nations do not have local transit options to travel within their communities. This has impacts on elders, children, and guests visiting the communities (i.e. taxi service).
5.7) Wildlife crossings should be strongly considered when designing all-season roads as impacts to wildlife migrations will occur.
Disclaimer: This submission does not constitute as feedback from all Nishnawbe Aski Nation First Nations, and is solely the views of NAN Corporate Services.
[Original Comment ID: 210948]
Submitted February 13, 2018 9:18 AM