16 April 2021
Consortium firms reinforce their longstanding partnership with Cree communities in Northern Quebec.

Montreal, QC (April 20, 2021) – The Vision Eeyou Istchee Consortium (the “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. The study is part of the Memorandum of Understanding on the Cree-Quebec Sustainable Infrastructure Development Program in the Eeyou Istchee James Bay Region.

The Consortium will conduct a study to evaluate the feasibility of the following infrastructure, in close collaboration with local communities and in harmony with sustainable development objectives:

  • 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;
  • 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. 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.

Davey Bobbish, President, Cree Development Corporation

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. 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.

Alessandro Cirella, Director at Stantec and the Consortium’s Project Director

The Consortium will make use of a wide variety of experts in the social sciences, heritage preservation, 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.


SYSTRA Canada is an engineering and consulting firm whose primary focus is to offer transportation solutions for passengers or goods. SYSTRA Canada is part of the SYSTRA Group.

With its main office in Montreal (Quebec) since 1991, SYSTRA Canada delivers innovative consulting, engineering and project management services in all fields of transportation, including track and infrastructure, rolling stock, railway operations, signalling and telecommunications, economic and financial studies, marketing, institutional and management consulting, as well as support services.

Our service offer is grouped into three markets:

  • Freight & Mining: Providing freight and mining clients with specific rail heavy haul solutions.
  • Transit: Focusing on the Canadian passenger mobility market.
  • Rolling Stock: Offering turnkey solutions for passenger cars, wagons and locomotives.

SYSTRA Canada has successfully carried out over 900 projects all over the world. SYSTRA Canada is recognized worldwide for its comprehensive railway expertise, whether in the freight and mining sector, promoting its knowledge of North American standards and rules, or in passenger mobility, offering a full set of expertise and know-how.

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