A map shows the planned route for a railway from Alberta to Alaska. (Courtesy/A2A)

A map shows the planned route for a railway from Alberta to Alaska. (Courtesy/A2A)

N.W.T.’s Acho Dene Koe First Nation not supporting Alaska-Alberta railway

  • Jun. 29, 2021 12:30 p.m.

A proposed railway connecting Alaska to Alberta through Acho Dene Koe territory will not be supported by the First Nation.

In a news release, the Acho Dene Koe First Nation questioned the project’s financial stability, credibility, and viability, saying it would step away from discussions with the Alaska-Alberta Railway Development Corporation.

“Acho Dene Koe First Nation has lost confidence in the Alaska-Alberta Railway Development Corporation at this time,” the First Nation stated.

“Acho Dene Koe First Nation will monitor this situation, always with the primary concern of protecting Acho Dene Koe First Nation’s interests.”

If built, the railway is forecast to cost around $22 billion and speed up movement of goods between Asia and North America. The line would span 2,570 km from the Delta Junction, Alaska to Fort McKay, Alberta, where it would connct to the rest of Canada’s rail network.

The project is in its infancy, though the company leading it is in trouble.

The corporation, known as A2A, filed for creditor protection earlier in June after its main lender went into receivership. A2A is now looking for a buyer.

According to the CBC, an investigation by the Ontario Securities Commission found financial irregularities in founder Sean McCoshen’s dealings with that lender, Bridging Finance.

A2A subsequently said McCoshen would not be involved in the process of finding other investors.

The company said it still plans to advance the project.

“Despite its lender’s receivership, the company believes that the A2A rail project concept is sound, and has already made significant progress toward full financing, above and beyond the development capital provided by Bridging Finance over the past five years,” read a statement from the corporation.

— Sarah Sibley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Cabin Radio