While January’s mild temperatures may have been welcomed by some, it has been a curse for the First Nation communities that rely on cold, ice and snow to create their winter road system.
As of Monday, none of the roads in the six corridors in the Nishnawbe Aski Nation territory were open officially to full-load commercial traffic and only a handful of those roads were open to light vehicle traffic. Even then, Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler said the conditions of some these roads were far from ideal.
“I know that in speaking with Grand Chief Jonathon Solomon (of the Mushkegowuk Council), that the east corridor along the Coast is open to light traffic, but it’s travel at your own risk kind of a deal,” he explained. “But there is no heavy traffic going up North anywhere.”
He said the opening season for the winter road network has been getting later every year, which then shortens the window for transporting goods to those remote fly-in communities. While the winter road system is typically in operation for about 80 days, in recent years, it has been open for as few as 20 days.
Fiddler said the shortened season is having a tremendous impact on those who depend on these roads and for any companies that do business in remote areas of Northern Ontario.
For some of the communities that rely on diesel generators and have their fuel shipped to them once per year, Fiddler said there is a real concern they may soon run out of fuel, for example.
That’s the case in his own community of Muskrat Dam, where he has been informed the community will run out of fuel within the next week if a truck can’t get up to them to replenish it.
For the rest of this article, click here: http://www.timminspress.com/2017/01/26/warm-weather-causes-limited-winter-road-use-on-james-bay-coast