16 abandoned radar stations, most along the Atlantic coast and in Ontario’s forested far north, are to receive over $100m in funding from the federal and provincial governments.

The six-year clean up plan is expected to provide a much-needed employment in the affected areas and provide an economic boost for local Native American communities.

The sites were part of the now obsolete Mid Canada Line which was built to give early warning of an attack on North America during the Cold War.

They are contaminated with a range of toxic chemicals including asbestos, mercury, PCBs and hydrocarbons.

“These sites must be cleaned up as part of our broader efforts to conserve the unique ecology of the vast boreal region,” said Donna Cansfield, Ontario’s Minister of Natural Resources.

“Through the proposed Far North Act that I recently introduced, we are aiming to contribute to an environmentally sustainable economic future and greater prosperity for First Nations communities in the Far North.”

Ontario plans to protect at least 225,000 square kilometres of the boreal region through the Far North Act, which was introduced in the Ontario legislature on June 2, 2009.

Chief George Hunter of the Weenusk First Nation, one of the affected communities, said: “The Weenusk First Nation is ready to help with the project and to work directly with the Ministry of Natural Resources to ensure the military bases are cleaned up thoroughly.

“Our intent has always been about the health of our people and not just about the economic opportunities.”

The Federal Government has committed $73m to the project over six years, while Ontario has put forward a further $30m.

David Gibbs

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