Bathurst Caribou habitat raised as a concern during mining road discussion

Grays Bay Corridor Map, submitted by Frame Lake MLA Kevin O'Reilly

Last Monday NWT Minister of Transportation Wally Schumann updated the Assembly on the push for an all weather road to the Slave Geological Province.

“The department is also working with caribou subject experts from the department of Environment and Natural Resources to identify any gaps in knowledge for both departments,” Schumann added in his statement on the resource driven road.

While Caribou crossings are in the plans, Frame Lake MLA Kevin O’Reilly recalled previous government’s positions of steering away from the Bathurst Caribou calving grounds, and questions the impacts the project will have on the already shrinking herd.

“So is it a position of our government now that we would oppose this corridor if it goes through the calving grounds of the Bathurst Caribou Herd?” O’Reilly asked.

“That’s a Nunavut process, that’s their decision to make. We’re worried about our territory, and I’m worried about the Slave Geological province and how we move it forward,” Schumann replied.

The Gray’s Bay Road and Port project has support from the Kitikmeot Inuit Association, but O’Reilly says he still isn’t sold on the project or Bathurst Caribou management plan.

“The only action our government has really taken with regard to trying to protect the Bathurst Caribou is restrict harvesting on our side of the boundary, and this range exercise planning going on, but our government has yet to protect one square centimetre of land on our side of the boundary, and needs to a lot more,” O’Reilly told CKLB yesterday.

Schumann says both the departments of Finance and Transportation are working on a public, private partnership (P3) business case for the corridor.

It’s expected to generate more discussion as the Assembly reconvenes today.

Grays Bay Corridor Map, submitted by Frame Lake MLA Kevin O’Reilly

About the Author

Josh Campbell
Josh Campbell has returned to the CKLB News Team. He worked as a sports writer in New Brunswick, prior to graduating from Loyalist College in Mohawk Territory near Belleville, Ontario. Between journalistic duties in the NWT and Yukon, Campbell was a speechwriter for former NWT MP Dennis Bevington, and Sahtu MLA Norman Yakeleya.

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