Tuesday, August 21, 2012, Ottawa – Representatives of the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association (NOMA) are in Ottawa this week for meetings with provincial leaders to discuss issues and opportunities in Northwestern Ontario during the Association of Municipalities of Ontario annual conference.
“Northwestern Ontario is on the cusp of a mining explosion,” says Ron Nelson, President of NOMA, “and we need to ensure that both Government and Opposition Members recognize the full impact of these developments for the Province. This is not just a northern project as it has the potential to drive the economy of Ontario for decades to come.”
Nelson continues, “The Province needs to take the lead by planning, developing and owning the roads and energy infrastructure that is needed to support mining developments in the Northwest. It will be expensive; however, the return on that investment through provincial tax revenues over the next 100 years will be immense.”
NOMA points to a study by the Ontario Mining Association that indicates that a new mine in Ontario generates annual employment of 2,000 jobs during opening/construction and 2,300 jobs each year during the production phase. The same study also estimates Ontario tax revenues at $19 million per year during opening/construction and $32 million per year during the production phase. With at least 10 mines predicted for opening in Northwestern Ontario over the next 5 years, the economic impacts are expected to be comparable to those generated by the auto industry in Windsor for so many years.
Key points of the NOMA presentation regarding mining developments include:
• Provincial involvement and investment must be viewed as a benefit to the entire Province;
• The Province must take the lead in planning, developing and owning the road and energy infrastructure that is required;
• A North-South corridor connecting the Ring of Fire to Greenstone is a requirement of any public plan, but there is also a requirement for an East-West road and electrical transmission corridor connecting the Ring of Fire to Pickle Lake;
• A request to the Ministry of Energy to create a Northwestern Ontario planning body with responsibility to identify energy needs and develop specific plans to meet those needs; and,
• Government has a key role in ensuring First Nation communities benefit directly from the mining related economic growth; and,
• Government must work closely with workforce planning boards and training providers to ensure sufficient training and apprenticeship opportunities are in place to address projected labour needs.
“We are pleased with the discussions held with the Government and both Opposition Parties,” concluded Nelson. “We believe that our message was heard and we look forward to working together to ensure the immense opportunity in the Northwest is fully realized.”
NOMA represents the interests of 37 municipalities from Kenora and Rainy River in the west to Hornepayne and Wawa in the east. It provides leadership in advocating regional interests to all orders of government and other organizations.