Shoal Lake 40 celebrates start of on-reserve construction of Freedom Road
This week marked the start of on-reserve construction of Freedom Road for Shoal Lake 40 First Nation. "This is a very special day today," Shoal Lake 40 Chief Erwin Redsky told a crowd of around 50 people gathered inside the community's arena. "It's been a long, long journey to get to this point."
A century ago Shoal Lake 40 became an isolated community during the construction of an aqueduct that supplies Winnipeg with clean drinking water. While Winnipeg gets fresh water, Shoal Lake 40 has been on a boil-water advisory since 1997 and the only way in and out of the isolated community is on a barge, which isn’t always reliable.
The 24-kilometre Freedom Road project, which started construction in May, aims to provide all-weather access between Shoal Lake 40 and the Trans-Canada highway in Manitoba. The whole project is set to cost $30 million, with the costs being shared equally between the city of Winnipeg, the Manitoba government and the Federal government.