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I am pleased to be here today for the official groundbreaking ceremony for the Tłı̨chǫ All-Season Road.
Before I begin, I would like to take a moment to thank and welcome our special guests:
- Chief Alfonz Nitsiza;
- Chief Clifford Daniels;
- Chief David Wedawin;
- Minister Louis Sebert;
- MLAs Daniel McNeely, Jackson Lafferty, Michael M. Nadli; Herb Nakimayak
- and all the Tłı̨chǫ residents and other guests who have joined us today.
Making strategic investments in infrastructure such as the Tłı̨chǫ All-Season Road is a priority for the Government of the Northwest Territories.
As the residents of the North can attest to, highway infrastructure plays a very important part in the prosperity and well-being of our communities. Not just because of the connections it will make, but also because of the skills, training and economic benefits opportunities that construction projects like this bring to the communities and the people.
This road will provide year-round access to Whatì and in time, replace the winter road. Much of that road is constructed on frozen lakes and as such, is vulnerable to fluctuating climate conditions making it an unpredictable route for transportation. An all-season road will ease many of these challenges and will help make our highway system more resilient to the impacts of climate change.
Construction of the road, and maintenance after it opens, will result in significant employment and training opportunities for Tłı̨chǫ residents, which supports the GNWT’s goal to develop a strong northern workforce. As well, transportation efficiencies will help to reduce the cost of living for local residents and support new social opportunities.
The North requires strategic investments in transformative infrastructure to help unlock our great natural resource potential, transition to a lower carbon economy, and better connect people to employment opportunities, social programs, essential goods and each other.
Roads into the North are not just Northern projects. They benefit Canada as a whole and there is a role for public and Indigenous governments, industry and investors to play in unlocking the potential of the North, with significant potential for return on investment.
The Tłı̨chǫ All-Season Road project is unique in that it is a P3 project - also known as a public-private partnership. P3s are a proven way to advance major projects by achieving the best value for money, for the government and taxpayers.
This project is a great example of how government, industry and Indigenous stakeholders can work together to invest in transformative infrastructure.
Through a P3 Project Agreement, North Star Infrastructure will design, build, finance, operate and maintain the road. The Project agreement includes unique local involvement, with the Tłı̨chǫ Government taking equity ownership in North Star, ensuring obligations to procure meaningful percentages of project resources and labour from local businesses.
The federal government has also played an important role in bringing this project to where it is today and for that, I’d like to thank both of them for their support.
As a government, it is our goal to work with our partners to ensure businesses and residents across the North play an integral role in, and profit from, the projects we deem as priorities for the territory and this project is no exception. We hope to see more projects work in the same way, in the future.
Meaningful investment in transportation infrastructure will unleash the potential of the North to contribute to Canada’s economy, and the GNWT looks forward to continuing to work with our public and private sector partners to advance strategic infrastructure projects such as this across the Northwest Territories.
Thank you again for being here today and I hope everyone enjoys the rest of the day and celebrations.