The Government of Canada and the Shoal Lake No. 40 have announced that construction has begun on the on-reserve portion of Freedom Road. The Government of Canada has committed up to $20 million for all phases of the Freedom Road project.
Once finished, Freedom Road will provide secure, all-weather road access for Shoal Lake No. 40’s 287 residents from the First Nation to the Trans-Canada Highway, dramatically improving community well-being, allowing unrestricted access to essential goods and services, and restoring economic opportunities for residents.
“Secure access is life and death for our community so everyone is celebrating that we’re actually beginning construction of Freedom Road,” said Chief Erwin Redsky, Shoal Lake No. 40 First Nation. “We thank Minister Bennett and INAC staff for working with us on creative solutions in our unique and complex circumstances. With the support of INAC, we look forward to continuing the work with our partners, the Province of Manitoba and the City of Winnipeg, to complete the road’s construction to the highway and to realize the economic opportunities anticipated under our Tripartite Agreement.”
Shoal Lake No. 40 First Nation straddles the Ontario-Manitoba border 55 km west of Kenora and a short distance south of the TransCanada Highway. The total estimated cost of the Freedom Road project is $40 million. Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) is contributing up to $20 million, with the Province of Manitoba and City of Winnipeg each contributing up to $10 million. INAC is providing $7.3 million to cover all costs related to Phase I of the project.