Chamber hosts A Road of Possibilities

MP Michael McLeod speaks at A Road of Possibilities

MP Michael McLeod addresses the guests at
A Road of Possibilities on March 2.

Chamber of Commerce urges federal infrastructure funding for Mackenzie Valley Highway Extension

The Fort Simpson Chamber of Commerce has asked MP Michael McLeod to return to Ottawa with the message that there is broad support in Fort Simpson for the extension of the Mackenzie Valley Highway and that federal infrastructure funding is crucial for allowing this important project to proceed.

On March 2, the Chamber held A Road of Possibilities, an evening in support of the extension of the Mackenzie Valley Highway. The event brought guest of honor MP Michael McLeod together with local leaders and members of the Fort Simpson business community. The Chamber believes that in the face of a faltering economy, the continuation of the highway down the valley is a project that will provide wide ranging benefits to the NWT including businesses and residents in the Dehcho and the Sahtu.

“Although the Mackenzie Valley Highway is often referred to as the road to resources, the Chamber sees it as a road of possibilities,” said Kirby Groat, the Chamber’s president, during his address to the evening’s guests. “These possibilities include economic benefits for a wide range of businesses and access to mineral and oil and gas resources, but also the possibility of improved quality of life and lower costs of living for people in the valley.”

“With Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s commitment to doubling federal infrastructure investments to approximately $125 billion over the next 10 years, now is the time to press for a portion of that funding to go towards the Mackenzie Valley Highway,” Groat said. “We are encouraged by McLeod’s message that he is continuing to lobby for the project and that an application for $700 million to build the section of the highway between Wrigley to Norman Wells is still being considered under the New Building Canada Fund.”

The Chamber would like to see the federal government commit to multi-year infrastructure funding for the project. Multiple years of construction will maximize training and employment opportunities for local residents. The Chamber is also strongly in favor of joint ventures between the economic arms of the local First Nations and Metis Nations and the companies who will hold the major construction contracts for the project. “Real economic and training benefits have to flow from the construction to local communities,” Groat said.

“With our location at the southern end of the Mackenzie Valley Highway, the Fort Simpson Chamber of Commerce looks forward to a road of possibilities to multiple years of construction prosperity and long term benefits from the all-season highway.”

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