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Friday, July 11, 2014

Shoal Lake chief says proper road needed to link to island reserve

SHOAL LAKE, Man. - The chief of the Shoal Lake 40 First Nation says a proper road into the island reserve would help right a century of wrongs.

Band chief Erwin Redsky has invited representatives from the province, the City of Winnipeg, Amnesty International and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights to visit the reserve.

Redsky says the band was relocated in the early 1900s when an aqueduct was built to send drinking water from Shoal Lake to Winnipeg.

Then, 100 years ago, a canal was built that effectively cut the new village off from the mainland, isolating the band and stifling any economic growth.

He says while Winnipeg has some of the safest drinking water in Canada, Shoal Lake has been under a boil-water advisory for nearly 20 years.

He notes the human rights museum, because it's in Winnipeg, will use Shoal Lake water.

"It's killing my community but life on the other end is booming," Redsky said. "There's beautiful buildings, jobs, clean water, opportunity."

The band says a permanent bridge over the canal and a 28-kilometre road to the Trans-Canada Highway would allow the band to build a water treatment plant and create jobs for the community.

So far, the city and the province have committed $1 million each for design work but the federal government has yet to commit funds.

(Winnipeg Free Press) -CP-

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