Shoal Lake First Nation residents weep as Ottawa balks at funding road construction

The Canadian Press
SHOAL LAKE, Man. – A reserve under one of Canada’s longest boil-water advisories is promising to stop the planned expansion of the Trans-Canada Highway after Ottawa refused to commit to help build a road connecting it with the outside world.

A Manitoba cabinet minister and the deputy mayor of Winnipeg both announced a commitment Thursday to fund part of the cost of a permanent, all-weather road for Shoal Lake 40 First Nation.

But Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford refused to say whether the federal government would put up its share of the cost and left community members openly sobbing with disappointment.

Stewart Redsky says the First Nation has waited 100 years for justice as he wept in frustration.

Chief Erwin Redsky says his people will not support the twinning of the Trans-Canada over the Ontario-Manitoba boundary as long as his community remains without hope.

Shoal Lake 40 was cut off from the mainland a century ago to build an aqueduct to supply Winnipeg with fresh water.

It has been under a boil-water advisory for 17 years and has no all-weather road connecting it to the mainland.

All three levels of government have put up $1 million each for a design study of the road, called Freedom Road by residents, but Ottawa won’t promise to help fund construction.