Industry and Environmental groups applaud release of Far North report

    Report shows strong support for funding and First Nations lead on

    TORONTO, June 23 /CNW/ - Today Ontario Waterpower Association and CPAWS
Wildlands League applaud the release of the consensus advice of the Far North
Advisory Council by MNR Minister Donna Cansfield. The groups were members of
the Far North Advisory Council - a public committee struck by Minister
Cansfield to provide advice and input on how to protect at least half of the
Far North in a network of conservation lands while balancing social, economic
and environmental priorities.
    The multi-stakeholder Council met intensively over a 6 month period from
September '08 to February '09 and achieved a surprising amount of consensus
and good will. For example, all agreed that:

    -  Resources required for the Far North Initiative should be regarded as
       a cost-effective return on investment, resulting in an overwhelming
       net benefit for local communities, the province and country as a

    -  Decision-making authority in the Far North is held by First Nations
       and the Province and that all planning and development activities
       require community agreement before proceeding; and

    -  A comprehensive planning framework is required that includes all
       relevant sectors and reflects the unique culture, geography and global
       significance of this part of the province.

    The entirety of the advice can be found at
    "We all rolled up our sleeves and put forward our best ideas on how
economic prosperity and ecological protection could be achieved in the Far
North in partnership with First Nations," said Paul Norris, President of the
Ontario Waterpower Association. "Groups set aside their traditional positions
and focused on creating something new and dynamic worthy of this incredible
initiative," Norris added.
    "We were honoured to work together to achieve a precedent-setting model
for the world," said Janet Sumner, Executive Director of CPAWS Wildlands
League. "The report demonstrates that good outcomes are possible from groups
that don't always see eye to eye," Sumner said.
    While the Council's original term is done, several of the groups would
like to continue to support the aspirations of Aboriginal communities and
provide certainty for all.
    The government also announced funding yesterday to enable a six-year plan
to clean up 16 sites that have become contaminated with toxic materials in the
northern Boreal region. The clean-up has support in the Far North Advisory
Council's advice and is important to overall efforts to conserve the unique
Boreal ecology of this part of Ontario. "We congratulate Minister Cansfield,
Grand Chief Stan Louttit of the Mushkegowuk Tribal Council and all the First
Nations that have fought for decades to clean up the contaminated Mid-Canada
Radar Sites in northern Ontario," the groups said.

For further information:

For further information: Paul Norris, Ontario Waterpower Association,
(705) 741-9686; Janet Sumner, CPAWS Wildlands League, (416) 579-7370

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