April 30, 2009

The Government of Manitoba has introduced legislation that would
enable the Manitoba Floodway Authority (MFA) to oversee
construction of an all-season road on the east side of Lake
Winnipeg, Manitoba Infrastructure and Transportation Minister Ron
Lemieux announced today in the legislature.

“For many years, First Nations people living on the east side of
Lake Winnipeg have been calling for an all-season road that would
permanently link communities as well as improve access and
economic development opportunities for the region,” said Lemieux.
“The construction of this road provides an incredible opportunity
to help lower transportation costs, increase economic development
opportunities and enhance the quality of life for residents living in the
remote and isolated communities of this region.”

The proposed legislation would formally expand the MFA’s mandate
to assume responsibility for the East Side Transportation
Initiative.  The initiative includes construction of a
170-kilometre, all-season road from PR 304 near Manigotagan to
Bloodvein First Nation and through to Berens River First Nation.
The initiative also includes a study to examine potential
transportation infrastructure improvements for the remainder of
the entire region.

Lemieux noted this legislation would also change the name of the
Manitoba Floodway Authority to the Manitoba Floodway and East
Side Road Authority.

“This new legislation follows though on key recommendations and
the commitment we made to east side First Nations in the Promises
to Keep report that was done in 2004 after extensive talks with
First Nations People,” said Culture, Heritage, Tourism and Sport
Minister Eric Robinson, acting minister of Aboriginal and
northern affairs.  “One finding of the study concluded that an
all-weather road would be a solution to long-term transportation
issues in the area and today we make the dream of an all-weather
road a reality for the many residents in this region.”

“The MFA has been working with the Aboriginal community to ensure
employment and economic development opportunities for Aboriginal
contractors on the floodway project,” said Ernie Gilroy, CEO of
the MFA.  “This new role will allow us to continue to build on
the success of this approach.”

Lemieux noted that a key focus will be to ensure that First
Nations people living in the area have a meaningful role in the
construction of the road and that employment and economic
development opportunities flow to the local communities.

“First Nations communities have been involved in the process and
their involvement will continue as we work together to improve
road access for the people who live on the east side,” said

Lemieux noted that in order to move forward with the
environmental licensing process for construction of the
all-season road in a timely manner, an interim agency, the East
Side Road Authority, Inc., has already been established.  On
January 30, an environmental application to begin the
environmental licensing process was filed with Manitoba
Conservation.  Pending all necessary environmental approvals,
construction of the all-season road is scheduled to begin in the
fall of 2010, while upgrades to the Rice River Road and other
preliminary work is ongoing.

More information on the East Side Transportation Initiative is
available at:

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