Manitoba commits $72.5m for east side road
By Andy Bateman
March 31, 2010 – A road project that aboriginal people on
the east side of Lake Winnipeg have been
dreaming about for decades is starting to take shape, says a report in today’s
Winnipeg Free Press.
Premier Greg Selinger announced Tuesday (March 30) that
the provincial government will spend $72.5 million over the next year to begin
building a 160 kilometre permanent link from Manigotagan to Berens River.
It's the first leg of a long-term project to connect the region's 36,000
residents with the south at a cost of billions of dollars.
Selinger said the first 160 kilometres to Berens River
will cost between $300 million and $500 million, depending on the final design.
The road could be completed by 2014, if Ottawa
chips in some cash.
In addition to providing building materials and food to
the isolated communities, the road might also open up tourism opportunities for
the area. Grand Chief David Harper said mining companies are interested in the
possibilities raised by a regional road network, although he did not elaborate.
The province said other benefits of an east side road
network will include improved access to emergency, health and social services
and better links between communities within the region. Residents will have
greater mobility and they'll have more economic opportunities.