Neil Ahmed is the senior project manager for the twinning of the Trans-Canada, and he remains optimistic.

"The first section's pretty short, which allows us to finish that up and get into construction next year. So, that is the plan right now," he said, during last night's forum.

The first section would twin Hwy. 17 from the border with Manitoba to the Shoal Lake turnoff.

Murray Norman would enjoy better access to his camp on Clearwater Bay -- if the Trans-Canada was twinned -- but he's also concerned about route selection.

"If there's an alternative of the highway going north of the present one, yes, so much the better," he said.

Norman adds he's been going to the camp since 1951. So, he'd hate to see it spoiled by an accident spilling contaminants into the water.

Tom Martin of Dalles First Nation says he's in favour of plans to twin the Trans-Canada.

"For what it's worth to me, travelling back and forth, I think it's great. I don't have any qualms about the environment -- or whatever -- just make it easier," he said.

Northern Development Minister Greg Rickford, who is also the provincial member for Kenora-Rainy River, said Monday his government remained committed to the project, adding he has personally been waiting since 2009 for construction to begin. Rickford is pressing Ottawa for their half of the $100 million price tag, since money meant for the task was spent elsewhere.

Kenora MP Bob Nault is also hoping to see the project move forward next year, and he's confident the federal government will put its share -- $50 million -- towards the construction, which was inititally meant to include two of the three sections of the route from Manitoba to Kenora.

  • Section #1:  Between the Manitoba/Ontario Border and Highway 673
  • Section #2:  Between Highway 673 and Rush Bay Road
  • Section #3:  Between Rush Bay Road and Highway 17A

First Nation chiefs from Wash Bay, Shoal Lake 40, Dalles and Rat Portage signed an agreement last month, saying they're working together to protect their traditional lands. They signed the accord before they met with MTO to discuss twinning.

For more information:

WSP - Highway 17 Four-Laning

Twinning on the agenda, minister

 

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