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Diane Archie: Prohibition Creek Access Road Project Progress Update

Press Release

February 28, 2023

Mr. Speaker, at the beginning of the 19th Legislative Assembly, this government established its mandate of 22 priorities set by all Members and based on what they heard from their constituents.

Two of those mandate priorities are to increase employment in small communities and to make strategic infrastructure investments.

Mr. Speaker, last week I had the opportunity to travel the Mackenzie Valley Winter Road and I witnessed progress toward meeting these two priorities. I am referring to the construction of the Prohibition Creek Access Road, which is currently well underway.

We have divided this project into two phases. Phase One construction began in November and includes building 6.7 kilometres of all-season road just south of Norman Wells between Canyon Creek and Christina Creek, along the existing Mackenzie Valley Winter Road alignment.

By replacing this portion of the existing winter road with an all-season road, we are making our transportation system more resilient to climate change, increasing reliability for the shipment of goods and supplies in the region, and enhancing inter-community mobility. This Phase will also make it easier to access recreational and traditional harvesting areas. Construction is expected to be completed in the fall of 2023.

Mr. Speaker, Phase Two would see construction of 6.3 kilometres of all-season road from Christina Creek to Prohibition Creek. This phase is contingent on completing additional design work at the Christina Creek crossing, regulatory authorizations and securing additional funding.

The GNWT has worked closely with Indigenous governments and Indigenous organizations in the Sahtu to move this project forward and continue to advance the proposed Mackenzie Valley Highway from Wrigley to Norman Wells. The Memorandum of Understanding the GNWT has signed with the Sahtu Secretariat is evidence of this.

The Prohibition Creek Access Road project is creating valuable employment opportunities in the Sahtu region. As of January 2023, 20 workers from the Sahtu have been hired as labourers, truck drivers, heavy equipment operators, drillers and blasters, and supervisory staff. Five workers from other regions in the NWT were also hired as heavy equipment operators.

As part of this project, Northerners are receiving training that will enhance their skills for future job opportunities. Mr. Speaker, the investment in this all-season road by the GNWT and the Government of Canada is strategic. The Prohibition Creek Access Road Project is a capacity-building project to help prepare businesses, workers and residents to make the most of opportunities provided by the eventual construction of the proposed Mackenzie Valley Highway.

This project has not been without its challenges. It is one of several infrastructure projects that has experienced cost escalations recently associated with supply chain issues, inflation, material and labour shortages, and rising fuel prices.

Mr. Speaker, I continue to lobby for the needed additional funding with my Federal counterparts and my Department is also working on advancing these files at the bureaucratic levels. The federal government is a valuable partner in meeting the infrastructure and transportation needs of northerners and seem to be appreciative of the challenges we face and are receptive to making their funding programs meet northern realities.

Quyanainni, Mr. Speaker.


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