Road to Shoal Lake highlight of meeting

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A meeting is under way at the Manitoba Legislative Building to begin to redress ongoing damage to Shoal Lake No. 40 First Nation, the community located at the source of Winnipeg’s drinking water.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 08/12/2014 (2859 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

A meeting is under way at the Manitoba Legislative Building to begin to redress ongoing damage to Shoal Lake No. 40 First Nation, the community located at the source of Winnipeg’s drinking water.

Shoal Lake Chief Erwin Redsky said the main item on the agenda is building a permanent road to the isolated community.

Construction of an all-weather road to the Trans-Canada Highway, a distance of 28 kilometres, is pegged at $25 million.

JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Residents from Shoal Lake showed up at the legislature for a rally this afternoon.

The meeting, being held with Jobs and Economy Minister Kevin Chief and Mayor Brian Bowman, was preceded by a demonstration on the front steps of the legislative building by members of Shoal Lake and its supporters.

Chief said the construction of a road could be modeled on Manitoba’s East Side Road Authority which is overseeing the construction of a permanent road network to connect a number of remote First Nation communities.

Provincial and civic officials said the meeting is a requirement of the 1989 tripartite agreement that protects Winnipeg’s drinking water and promotes sustainable economic development for Shoal Lake 40.

The formal agenda of the working committee includes reviewing recommendations, receiving the annual report and authorizing payment of income from the $6-million trust fund to Shoal Lake FN 40.

Today’s meeting comes a month after the International Join Commission called on Ottawa to investigate alleged ongoing damage to Shoal Lake 40 and possible solutions.

Shoal Lake, just east of the Manitoba-Ontario border, is the source of Winnipeg’s drinking water, transported through an aqueduct built in 1914.

Ironically, while Winnipeg officials boast of the quality of its drinking water, Shoal Lake 40 has been under a boil-water advisory for 18 years. Requests by the community for the construction of a water treatment plant have been repeatedly rebuffed.

In 1989, a $6-million trust fund was set up in exchange for Winnipeg’s unrestricted access to the water. Shoal Lake 40 receives annual interest payments from the fund and is restricted from carrying out any projects that could impact the quality of the water supply.

History

Updated on Monday, December 8, 2014 2:53 PM CST: Writethru, new headline.

Updated on Monday, December 8, 2014 3:05 PM CST: Photo added.

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