‘Today is a good day:’ Officials announce First Nation to get its ‘Freedom Road’

(The ferry like the one above will become a thing of the past for Shoal Lake 40 after several levels of government announced funding Thursday for an all-weather road.)

APTN National News
WINNIPEG – Tears are flowing at the Manitoba legislature as an isolated reserve under one of the country’s longest boil-water advisories receives a lifeline to the outside world.

Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett says Ottawa is joining other levels of government to build an all-weather road connecting the Shoal Lake 40 First Nation to the mainland.

“(It’s) both long overdue and the right thing to do,” said Bennett in a statement. “When completed, Freedom Road will provide the First Nation’s residents with increased mobility and help unlock economic opportunities for the community.”

The reserve on the Manitoba-Ontario boundary was cut off a century ago during construction of an aqueduct that carries fresh water to Winnipeg.

The community has been under a boil-water advisory for 18 years.

Chief Erwin Redsky says the $30-million road means his people will be able to get home safely and will make a water treatment plant affordable.

“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,” said Redsky in a statement. “We thank the governments of Canada, Manitoba and the City of Winnipeg for their commitments and their willingness to collaborate with our community.”

APTN is covering the announcement and will have more on tonight’s newscast.

– With files from the Canadian Press


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