Statement: Shoal Lake No. 40 celebrates major milestone as Freedom Road reaches the Trans-Canada Highway
OTTAWA, ONTARIO (October 11, 2018) – The Minister of Indigenous Services, Jane Philpott, issued the following statement today:
“Today, Shoal Lake No. 40 First Nation is celebrating a significant milestone as the construction of Freedom Road has reached the Trans-Canada Highway. This long-awaited project to establish year-round unrestricted road access to the mainland is a key development for the community. Freedom Road literally paves the way for increased infrastructure and economic opportunities.
I want to congratulate and commend Chief Redsky, Shoal Lake No. 40 First Nation, and the Freedom Road Working Group, for their diligent leadership, strength and determination. It is thanks to their expertise and skills that this project has reached the milestone we are celebrating today.
Shoal Lake No. 40 has been unjustly cut off from the mainland for far too long, and for decades the community has persevered to find a solution. This project benefitted from strong community participation, with two-thirds of employees working on this road coming from Shoal Lake 40.
The aptly-named Freedom Road is a route for community residents to access year-round, all-weather essential goods and services. Once completed, it will mean that residents can safely and conveniently come and go to get groceries, or attend medical appointments. It will also increase economic opportunities, and serve as a critical transportation link to bring much needed construction materials to build a new water treatment plant, as well as a new school, in the coming years. The new water treatment plant will bring clean drinking water for residents and allow for the lifting of several long-term drinking water advisories that have been in place for more than twenty years.
The Freedom Road project is cost-shared by the Government of Canada, Province of Manitoba and City of Winnipeg under the strong leadership of Shoal Lake No. 40 First Nation, and serves as a model for the progress that can be made through effective collaboration. With this project, we have taken an important step to repair the many decades of isolation experienced by Shoal Lake No. 40 First Nation.
Freedom Road is expected to be open to vehicular traffic by March 2019, with final completion scheduled for June 2019. The project is currently running ahead of schedule and within budget. Congratulations to all involved in this innovative project that will enhance the community’s well-being and promote economic prosperity. ”
Office of the Honourable Jane Philpott
Minister of Indigenous Services
Indigenous Services Canada