Advertisement

Shoal Lake First Nation’s Freedom Road officially opens

From left, Daryl Redsky, consultation officer, Chief Erwin Redsky, both of Shoal Lake 40 First Nation, and Phil Cesario, design project manager at PM Associates Ltd. go over the final design drawings for Freedom Road, an all-weather road which will connect the reserve to the Trans Canada highway, in Winnipeg on November 25, 2016. The road officially opened Monday.
From left, Daryl Redsky, consultation officer, Chief Erwin Redsky, both of Shoal Lake 40 First Nation, and Phil Cesario, design project manager at PM Associates Ltd. go over the final design drawings for Freedom Road, an all-weather road which will connect the reserve to the Trans Canada highway, in Winnipeg on November 25, 2016. The road officially opened Monday. John Woods/The Canadian Press

A First Nation left isolated more than a century ago so that water could be diverted to Winnipeg has officially opened its all-season road to the mainland.

Shoal Lake Chief Erwin Redsky says the community on the Manitoba-Ontario border was an example of broken relationships with Canada but now it can demonstrate a path forward to reconciliation.

Shoal Lake was cut off from the mainland more than a century ago during construction of an aqueduct that supplies Winnipeg with drinking water.

READ MORE: ‘This is a new beginning’: Shoal Lake 40 First Nation gets funds for Freedom Road

Community members had to use ice roads or an unreliable ferry to get in or out and there’s been a boil-water advisory for decades.

Redsky says it still seems surreal that the road, dubbed Freedom Road, has opened.

“A lot of people in the past 50 to 100 years … their comment was I’ll believe it when I see it. You can see it now, everybody can see it, it’s real.”

Tweet This
Story continues below advertisement

The province of Manitoba, City of Winnipeg and federal government reached a funding agreement for the road in 2016 and construction began the following year.

RELATED: ‘This is a new beginning’: Shoal Lake 40 First Nation gets funds for Freedom Road

‘This is a new beginning’: Shoal Lake 40 First Nation gets funds for Freedom Road
‘This is a new beginning’: Shoal Lake 40 First Nation gets funds for Freedom Road