WINNIPEG – A new road and future for Shoal Lake No. 40 is set to happen. The federal Liberal Government is continuing to move quickly to solve issues with Canada’s Indigenous population. In Winnipeg, Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs announced this week that the Government of Canada will be an equal partner with the Province of Manitoba and the City of Winnipeg to ensure Shoal Lake No. 40 First Nation constructs Freedom Road.
Minister Bennett stated that “Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada will match the Province of Manitoba’s and the City of Winnipeg’s commitments to fund one-third of the estimated $30 million project to construct an approximately 24-kilometre all-season road from Shoal Lake No. 40 First Nation to the Trans-Canada Highway in Manitoba. The announcement was made at a meeting of the Shoal Lake No. 40 Tripartite Agreement Committee at the Manitoba Legislature in Winnipeg.”
All three levels of government already committed up to $1 million each for the design work of Freedom Road. That work is underway and is expected to be completed in spring 2016.
Quick facts Shoal Lake 40
- Shoal Lake No. 40 is a First Nation community that straddles the Ontario-Manitoba border and has an on-reserve population of about 290 people.
- The First Nation was cut off from the mainland in 1917 when a nearby channel was cut in order to bring drinking water to the City of Winnipeg.
- The First Nation has long sought a permanent all-weather road to provide the community with secure and constant access to essential services, including emergency medical services and waste collection.
- Freedom Road will also increase the community’s access to economic development opportunities, such as eco-tourism ventures, and lower the costs of future construction projects.
“We welcome the Government of Canada to our partnership with the Province of Manitoba and the City of Winnipeg to finally secure the access we have lacked for so long. Our situation is unique and requires creative problem-solving. We thank the governments of Canada, Manitoba and the City of Winnipeg for their commitments and their willingness to collaborate with our community,” commented Chief Erwin Redsky, Shoal Lake No. 40 First Nation.
Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger said, “The residents of Shoal Lake No. 40 First Nation have been without an all-weather road for far too long. The Government of Manitoba is pleased to partner with the federal government and the City of Winnipeg in providing funding for the road and will do everything possible to see this critically important infrastructure project move forward as quickly as possible.”
“The City of Winnipeg remains committed to the Freedom Road project. The City of Winnipeg began investing in this project in 2012, and has already committed $4 million toward this important project. An additional $6 million to fulfill our share of the $30 million project will be considered by Council in the upcoming budget, and I look forward to continued collaboration with all levels of governments through the Shoal Lake Tripartite Agreement,” stated Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman.