Thunder Bay: Warm weather creating ‘crisis’ for First Nations that rely on ice roads (CBC News Thunder Bay – February 4, 2020)

Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug is flying in fuel and pondering how to ship materials for a new school

Warm weather is playing havoc with the winter road network that connects remote First Nations in northwestern Ontario to the provincial highway system, according to the Nishnawbe Aski Nation.

Only one community’s winter road was fully operational as of Jan. 31, according to NAN’s winter road report. Fifteen communities have roads that are open to light traffic and three to partial traffic. Six communities’ roads are still under construction, and six communities have roads that are closed due to weather.

“It is a developing crisis as many of our communities are running out of fuel and cannot haul anything in,” NAN Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler wrote on Twitter. “We need immediate government intervention.”

Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug is one of the communities whose road is closed due to warm weather, according to the report. “It’s put us back at least two weeks.” Chief Donny Morris told CBC. “We would be hauling our groceries, our fuel … our housing materials, our community projects, not just Big Trout but other surrounding communities too.”

Without the road in place, the community has had to fly in gasoline and fuel oil, he said. Even travelling to youth hockey tournaments has become more costly.

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