OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - April 5, 2013) - The Government of Canada today released its response to the report of the Substituted Review Panel for the Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk Highway. The project is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects subject to the implementation of the measures laid out in the response and can now proceed.
"Our Government is taking measures to protect the environment and the region's wildlife. We welcome news that this important project can proceed," said the Honourable Denis Lebel, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec, and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs.
The Government of Canada set aside $200 million to support the construction of the Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk Highway.
"The new highway will strengthen Canada's Arctic presence and create jobs, economic growth and long-term prosperity in the North," said the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Minister for the Artic Council.
The Hamlet of Tuktoyaktuk, the Town of Inuvik, and the Government of the Northwest Territories are proposing to construct, operate and maintain a 140-kilometre all-weather highway from the Town of Inuvik to the Hamlet of Tuktoyaktuk. This project will be the first all-weather road connection to the Arctic coast, providing year-round overland access to the Hamlet of Tuktoyaktuk. Canada would then be connected by road from coast to coast to coast.
This project will help generate economic and social opportunities for this Northern region. As the first all-weather road connection to the Arctic coast, it will help decrease the cost of living in Tuktoyaktuk by enabling goods to be shipped year round, provide more opportunities for business development, reduce the cost of job-creating onshore oil and gas exploration, and strengthen Canada's sovereignty in the North.
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Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk Highway Project
The Hamlet of Tuktoyaktuk, the Town of Inuvik, and the Government of the Northwest Territories Department of Transportation, are proposing to build, operate and maintain a 140-kilometre all-weather highway from the Town of Inuvik to the Hamlet of Tuktoyaktuk.
This project will be located within the Inuvialuit Settlement Region. Approximately half of the route will be located on Inuvialuit private lands which are regulated and administered by the Inuvialuit Land Administration. The remainder of the highway will be located on Crown lands regulated and administered by Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada.
The Government of Canada has set aside $200 million over five years to support the construction of the Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk highway, noting that it would be completed in partnership with the Government of the Northwest Territories, the private sector, Inuvialuit Regional Corporation and local communities.
The Review Process
The Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk Highway project has undergone a thorough environmental assessment review process. The federal review panel process was substituted by the Environmental Impact Review Board (EIRB) process, in accordance with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act S.C. 1992 c. 37.
On March 2, 2011, the substituted process was established through an "Agreement to Establish a Substituted Panel for the Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk Highway Project" between the Minister of Environment and the Chair of the EIRB.
A five-member Review Panel was subsequently appointed by the EIRB and received information from registered parties, community representatives, elders, and members of the public. The Review Panel considered the input received through written submissions and the public hearings and prepared the Substituted Review Panel Report (Panel Report).
The Panel Report concluded that the project should proceed, subject to the commitments made by the Hamlet of Tuktoyaktuk, the Town of Inuvik, and the Government of the Northwest Territories Department of Transportation and the recommendations made by the Panel. The Panel further concludes that the Project can be constructed, operated and maintained without significant impacts on the environment and the wildlife resources of the Inuvialuit Settlement Region.
In making its decision, the Government of Canada took into consideration the conclusions of the report of the Substituted Review Panel, and agreed with the Panel's conclusions about the environmental impacts of the project.
Further details and environmental assessment documents are available from the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency Registry and the Environmental Impact Review Board website.