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Feds repeat $1M pledge to design ‘Freedom Road’

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July 1, 2015 by Staff Report

The federal government has repeated its $1 million commitment towards design costs for the proposed Shoal Lake 40 First Nation’s Freedom Road Project.

This is the first step toward development of the Freedom Road, an all-season road linking the First Nation community to the Trans-Canada Highway.

“Our government is pleased to work with Shoal Lake No. 40 First Nation and our other partners on the design of the Freedom Road project. This initiative will help improve the economic conditions of First Nation community members by providing all-weather road access to the Trans-Canada Highway through Manitoba,” said Greg Rickford, Minister of Natural Resources and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario.

The federal government, along with the Province of Manitoba and the City of Winnipeg, are partnering in this initiative by providing $1 million each for the design phase of Freedom Road. The design phase is the basis for establishing the costs associated with the construction of the project. Once the costs are determined, discussions regarding the funding of the road can take place. Some have estimated the project could cost up to $25 million.

“This project is an important step towards providing economic benefits and the security of year-round access to our community residents. We look forward to the Government of Canada continuing to work with us to make year-round road access a reality for Shoal Lake 40 First Nation,” said Chief Erwin Redsky,  Shoal Lake 40 First Nation.

Shoal Lake 40 First Nation straddles the border between Manitoba and Ontario near Kenora. It is located on a ‘man-made’ island and is currently under a boil water order. The ferrybarge that serves the island was recently declared unsafe forcing private boats to ferry supplies to the residents.

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