June 30, CTV News:
A celebration was held in Shoal Lake 40 First Nation Friday to mark the beginning of construction of a new all-weather road.
The 24 kilometre Freedom Road will connect Shoal Lake 40 to the Trans-Canada Highway in Manitoba.It will provide year-round access between the mainland and the isolated community, which is located in northwestern Ontario just east of the Manitoba-Ontario border.
“This is a very special day today,” Shoal Lake 40 Chief Erwin Redsky told a crowd of around 50 people gathered inside the community’s arena. “It’s been a long, long journey to get to this point.”
The community was cut off from the mainland more than a century ago during construction of an aqueduct that supplies Winnipeg with drinking water. Shoal Lake 40 has been under a boil-water advisory for 20 years. Once the road is built, a water treatment plant will be the community’s next big project. Read more.
After years of political disinterest, false promises, delay and obfuscation by elected officials, it looks like Shoal Lake No. 40 First Nation will finally get its long-awaited, all-season road.
It’s astonishing it took this long to get three levels of government on the same page to build something as simple as a 24-kilometre gravel road to connect an isolated community to a major highway. The delay is especially shocking since it comes a century after the community in question was unceremoniously shoved off its land to make way for the construction of Winnipeg’s aqueduct, which supplies the city with clean, reliable drinking water. Read more.
Governments around the world have adopted the Sustainable Development Goals to stop and reverse the decline of water quality and the destruction of freshwater ecosystems. They have set ambitious targets to “improve water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping and minimizing release of hazardous chemicals and materials”, and to “protect and restore water-related ecosystems, including mountains, forests, wetlands, rivers, aquifers and lakes”.
This is an opportunity to reverse decades, or even centuries, of environmental degradation, and to get serious about replenishing the environment.
What is the size and scale of the effort required to reach the goals set for 2030? There are around 165 major rivers in the world with a total length of approximately 300,000 km; and many smaller rivers, with an approximate length of another 300,000 km. This leaves us about 600,000 km of rivers to deal with.
This is no small task. But restoring water quality, healthy ecosystems and biodiversity will not only benefit freshwater ecosystems and users downstream, including rapidly growing cities, but also marine life in coastal areas and the oceans. Read more.
When Paul Reichert arrived at his home in West Hawk Lake Saturday night, he was surprised to find a note stuck to his door with duct tape warning him not to drink his water without boiling it first.
“It laid out how long to boil the water and for children not to drink it and to be very careful when you have a shower,” Reichert said, adding he has been living in the area for the past 66 years and can’t remember the last time such an advisory was issued.
Samples taken from the West Hawk Lake regional water supply Thursday tested positive for Total Coliform bacteria, prompting the Manitoba government to issue a precautionary boil water advisory for the eastern Manitoba community Saturday.
Total Coliform represents a group of bacteria that includes Escherichia coli (E .coli) and other forms of naturally occurring Coliform bacteria that are found in soil. Read more