In April, Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow walked across the semi-frozen diversion channel to reach Shoal Lake 40.
The Council of Canadians is calling on the Harper government to undertake all repairs required to bring the ferry that serves Shoal Lake 40 back into full service and to join with the city of Winnipeg and the province of Manitoba to fully fund the construction of a secure all-weather access road to the community.
The Winnipeg Free Press reports, “The last link for the people of Shoal Lake 40 just broke down, raising the urgency for construction of a permanent road link to the First Nation. An aging ferry that connects Shoal Lake 40 to the mainland was pulled out of the water last week, after a routine inspection determined that wear and tear on the hull had reached a point where it was no longer safe to float. …Shoal Lake 40 was cut off from the mainland 100 years ago with the construction of an aqueduct. The lake is the source of Winnipeg’s water supply and a 15.2 metre wide diversion channel created a man-made island that cut access to the mainland. Shoal Lake is located 155 kilometres from Winnipeg, just on the other side of the Manitoba-Ontario border.”
The article highlights, “The Council of Canadians issued a statement Thursday to put pressure on the city, the province and the federal government to push harder on Freedom Road [the access road]. …It was posted on the Council’s website, along with a letter to the Prime Minister’s Office to press for action on behalf of the community.”
That action alert states, “The last lifeline of the people of Shoal Lake 40 has just broken. Following routine inspection, the community’s aging ferry has been forced out of service, pending significant patching of the hull. The repairs could take months, leaving the beleaguered people of Shoal Lake 40 completely cut off from services essential to their survival. Without the ferry, people cannot safely travel to and from their homes. …[And] without ferry service, the community will not only be without water delivery but also essential health and medical support for critical care patients.”
To send your letter to the prime minister, please click here.
Barlow visits Shoal Lake 40 and Iskatewizaagegan Shoal Lake 39 (April 2015 blog)