Stantec, SYSTRA and Desfor to take part in the feasibility study for Phase 1 of the La Grande Alliance Infrastructure Program

The Vision Eeyou Istchee Consortium, which consists of Stantec, SYSTRA and Desfor, with assistance from KPMG, has been selected by the Cree Development Corporation (CDC) to complete the feasibility study for Phase 1 of the La Grande Alliance’s infrastructure projects in northern Quebec.

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The study is part of the Memorandum of Understanding on the Cree-Quebec Sustainable Infrastructure Development Program in the Eeyou Istchee James Bay Region, which represents investments totalling $4.7 billion made over a period of 30 years.

Relying on the La Grande Alliance’s sustainable socioeconomic development mission and in partnership with local communities, the consortium will focus on upgrades to the access roads linking the Cree communities of Waskaganish, Eastmain and Wemindji to the Billy-Diamond Highway, upgrade to the access road between the Cree community of Nemaska and the Route du Nord, a railway line following, as much as possible, the Billy-Diamond Highway between the town of Matagami and KM257 of the Highway, the recommissioning of the railway line between Grevet (Lebel-sur-Quévillon) and Chapais, and trans-shipment areas along the Billy-Diamond Highway and the Grevet-Chapais railway corridors, specifically one located at KM257.

“We are embarking on a journey that will mark the beginning of a new relationship between First Nations and how infrastructure and any development is planned on the lands on which they depend,” says Davey Bobbish, President, Cree Development Corporation. “The upcoming Feasibility Study is innovative in that Cree communities and land users will be the primary voice in contemplating and planning infrastructure with a view to promoting true balance between traditional activity and development. The Vision Eeyou Istchee Team understood the importance of ensuring that the vision must come from community members and land users and so we are excited to take the first step in imagining a brighter future for Eeyou Istchee with them.”

To achieve this mandate, the consortium will make use of a wide variety of experts in the social sciences, heritage, environment, railways, road engineering, bridges, transportation economics and infrastructure financing.

The team will produce a socio-environmental study, market research, a technical feasibility study and an analysis of financing options and risks. A major onsite information gathering campaign and stakeholder consultation meetings are planned to identify sites of cultural and heritage significance and environmental constraints.

“We are very proud and honoured to partner with the Cree Development Corporation (CDC) for their Grande Alliance vision, which will contribute to the development of Cree communities, increase interconnectivity and protect the Northern Quebec region,” stated Alessandro Cirella, director at Stantec and the consortium’s project director. “This study aims to improve the communities’ quality of life through the expansion of the transportation network. It will be carried out with the utmost respect for the land and Cree heritage, and will integrate sustainable development practices.”

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