Casual commentary about political, cultural and economic issues with a particular interest on the city of Winnipeg by John Dobbin
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
The All-Weather Northern Road
From Norway House to east-side First Nations
The boreal forest of the east side of Lake Winnipeg
The First Nations communities on the east side of the province had a news conference to push for an all weather road to help their communities, especially on water. Wasagamack, St. Theresa Point, Garden Hill and Red Sucker Lake chiefs asked that their communities be connected to Highway 373 just north of Norway House.
A longer road up the east side of Lake Winnipeg was rejected as it is 168 kilolmeters longer. I have not heard if the province has rejected ever doing it though since there are still communities there in need as well.
The estimated costs to building the road travelling east-west is over $1.4 billion.
To date, the province has not put a formal application before the federal government for help.
While the province has announced funds to build the road themselves, they manage to make this same announcement over and over again without actually doing anything. It is like of like they announce study after study on a road to Nunavut without actually putting spades in the ground.
The issue of the Bipole III continues to be a question as well. If the intention is to some day to put a road up the east side then the outright rejection of Bipole III seems to be more of a waste of money.
As has been pointed out, Bipole III requires some sort of permanent service road to ensure that initial construction and repairs can take place. If a road is to be built some day at the behest of the communities there, how is it different from Bipole III?
If the province believes that Bipole III is bad, then a road up the east side is bad as well.
I believe that the road to the east communities is a good one but after 10 years, you figure the province would have gotten off their duffs and put in a formal request to the federal government to help do some of the heavy lifting.
I expect that all we'll hear for several more years is more announcements.