In February 2015, the East Side Road Authority (ESRA) has signed a second community benefits agreement with Bunibonibee First Nation for pre-construction on the East Side Road, Aboriginal and Northern Affairs Minister Eric Robinson, minister responsible for the East Side Road Authority announced. The total investment to the community is $10 million over three years. “This is a great economic development opportunity for our community,” said Chief Irvin Sinclair, Bunibonibee First Nation. “These bridge projects will create good jobs in our community, and the training and mentoring that come with it will prepare our workers for long-term work in the future.”
Since 2009, ESRA has been working with each of the First Nation communities to create and increase benefits to the communities, through the use of Community Benefits Agreements. The goal of the Community Benefits Agreements is to have First Nation-owned, COR certified construction companies in each of the 13 communities. ESRA works in partnership with each community to establish these companies and to develop and mentor the company employees in all facets of the company: construction, project management, safety and environmental management, asset management and financial management. ESRA negotiates untendered, multimillion dollar contracts with First Nation owned construction companies to provide preconstruction and construction services related to the all-season road project. With the experience gained from working with ESRA, companies are then in a position to bid competitively on the road construction contracts.