Shoal Lake 40 First Nation to finally get its 'Freedom Road'

WINNIPEG -- A reserve under one of the country's longest boil-water advisories is expected to get formal word Thursday that it will get a lifeline to the outside world after decades of living in virtual isolation.

See Full Article

All three levels of government are to officially announce their commitment to build an all-weather road to connect the Shoal Lake 40 First Nation to the mainland.

The reserve on the Manitoba-Ontario boundary was cut off a century ago during construction of an aqueduct which carries fresh water to Winnipeg. Surveyors said at the time that the land was largely uninhabited "with the exception of a few Indians."

While water continues to flow to the Manitoba capital, the reserve of several hundred people has been under a boil-water advisory for 18 years.

Chief Erwin Redsky said most residents are expected to gather at the Manitoba legislature -- along with Canada's new indigenous affairs minister, the Manitoba premier and a Winnipeg official -- to witness what he called a historic day.

"We're very excited," Redsky said. "It will be just an amazing feeling when that day comes, when we actually can drive 365 days a year right to our doorway.

"It's just the first step to the road of reconciliation."

Residents say the "Freedom Road" is both a symbolic and concrete beginning to right the wrong done a century ago.

Redsky said it will also save lives. People who live on the reserve use a treacherous ice road in the winter and people have died falling through the ice.

In the summer, the First Nation depends on an aging ferry to get to the mainland, but the vessel failed government inspection this year.

Health-care workers and ambulances won't risk going to the community and children have to leave the reserve to continue their education past Grade 8. A water treatment plant is prohibitively expensive, as are housing and sewer upgrades, without a road to transport the necessary equipment.

The former Conservative government refused to commit to help fund construction of a road, despite willingness by the province and the city to split the cost three ways.

Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett said the new federal Liberal government believes building the road is an example of "the kinds of steps you have to take to right the wrongs."

"This is a serious commitment and it will happen," she said in an interview with The Canadian Press.

"So many of these issues are no longer indigenous issues. These are Canadian issues about our values and principles and how we can go forward in a good way."

A design study -- paid for by the federal, provincial and municipal governments -- is expected to be completed in January. The reserve is hoping to begin construction shortly thereafter.

The road is expected to cost about $30 million, which is to be split three ways among the federal, provincial and municipal governments. The Manitoba government has already introduced a bill in the legislature that would give it legal authority to help fund construction of a permanent road.

Premier Greg Selinger called the road a "key infrastructure project."

"We've been talking about it for a long time," he told a luncheon this week at the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce, which has been pushing for the road's construction.

"That will get built now."



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Trump replaces campaign manager amid sinking poll numbers

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- U.S. President Donald Trump shook up his campaign staff Wednesday amid sinking poll numbers less than four months before the election, replacing campaign manager Brad Parscale with veteran GOP operative Bill Stepien. "I am pleased to announce that Bill Stepien has been promoted to the role of Trump Campaign Manager," Trump said on Facebook. Source
  • China says progress made in latest border talks with India

    World News CTV News
    BEIJING -- China and India made progress in their latest talks on a long-running border dispute that turned deadly last month, a Chinese spokesperson said Wednesday. Top commanders from the two sides held their fourth round of talks on Tuesday, a month after the deadly clash between their soldiers in the Galwan Valley, where India is building a strategic road connecting the region to an airstrip close to China. Source
  • Maine to use ranked voting for president after repeal fails

    World News CTV News
    AUGUSTA, MAINE -- Maine voters are poised to become the first group of voters in U.S. history to be able to use a ranked style of voting for president, following a ruling by the secretary of state Wednesday. Source
  • Ex-officer in Hawaii sentenced for making man lick urinal

    World News CTV News
    HONOLULU -- A U.S. judge sentenced a former Honolulu police officer Wednesday to four years in prison for forcing a homeless man to lick a public urinal, telling him to imagine someone doing that to his two young daughters. Source
  • U.S. sanctions companies linked to businessman close to Putin

    World News CBC News
    The Trump administration has imposed sanctions on companies connected to a Russian businessman who is close to Russian President Vladimir Putin and suspected of helping finance the covert social media campaign aimed at American voters ahead of the 2016 presidential election. Source
  • Megan Thee Stallion says she 'suffered gunshot wounds' and police drove her to hospital

    World News CBC News
    Rapper Megan Thee Stallion said Wednesday that she was shot multiple times on Sunday but expects to fully recover. "I suffered gunshot wounds, as a result of a crime that was committed against me and done with the intention to physically harm me," the 25-year-old Texan, whose legal name is Megan Pete, wrote in an Instagram post, without saying who shot her or why. Source
  • No Tokyo Games likely means no Beijing either, IOC's Dick Pound says

    World News CBC News
    If the postponed Tokyo Olympics do not go ahead next year due to COVID-19 then the 2022 Beijing Winter Games will likely also fall victim to the pandemic, said long-time International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound. Source
  • Alberta health minister directs doctors' regulatory college to stop doctors from leaving practices en masse

    Canada News CBC News
    Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro has directed the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta to change its standards of practice for physicians by July 20 in an attempt to stop the province's doctors from leaving their practices en masse due to an ongoing dispute over pay. Source
  • Bear attack in Riding Mountain National Park leaves one person with lacerations to face and back

    Canada News CTV News
    WINNIPEG -- Parks Canada says a person hiking in Riding Mountain National Park suffered lacerations to their face and back after having a surprise encounter with a young black bear. Parks Canada confirmed with CTV News that the incident happened on July 13, when an individual was attacked by the bear on the Moon Lake Trail. Source
  • 'I did think I was going to die': Hiker recovering after being attacked by a bear in Riding Mountain National Park

    Canada News CTV News
    WINNIPEG -- A Manitoba hiker says she thought she was going to die after being attacked by a young black bear in Riding Mountain National Park. Erin McKenzie is now recovering after the surprise encounter with the bear left her with a gash on her face and claw marks on her back. Source