Northern Policy Institute released a report this week that provides timely recommendations for government and industry on proposed infrastructure development in the Ring of Fire.
According to the report authored by former Deputy Minister of Transport Canada, Nick Mulder, an Authority model similar to the Airport/Port Transportation Authority model would be a more effective model in the Ring of Fire infrastructure development than a traditional Crown Corporation model.
Currently, there are major challenges facing mineral development in a remote area of Northern Ontario known as the Ring of Fire including who will pay for the required infrastructure and how it will be organized, planned, managed and implemented.
In the Airport/Port Transportation Authority model proposed by Mulder, the onus and risks would be placed on all stakeholders and not just on the provincial government and taxpayers.
“Under a Crown Corporation model, the responsibility would be on the shoulders of the Province.," says Mulder. "The provincial government would be expected to review and approve plans on all major projects, fund the largest portions of the costs and accept most of the risks. Simply put, the buck would stop at Queen’s Park.”
The report questions whether this is the right time for the Province to accept such responsibilities given uncertain mineral markets and prices, a growing provincial deficit and debt, unresolved First Nations issues and environmental assessments.
As an alternative solution, a model similar to the Transportation Authority model would disperse risks and responsibilities among diverse stakeholders.
“This alternative model would involve creating an independent, representative and arm’s length statutory Ring of Fire Infrastructure Authority” continues Mulder. “All parties would have formal representation on the Board and the Board, not government, would plan and procure facilities and services for road, rail, power and air, while sharing costs and risks with the private sector.”
To read the full report titled Ring of Fire Authority Model by Nick Mulder visit: www.northernpolicy.ca.