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Ottawa committed to building road to Shoal Lake 40 First Nation: MP

Shoal Lake 40 First Nation residents cross a bridge over a man-made channel made to support Winnipeg's water system which has cut them off from the mainland on Thursday, June 25, 2015. The Winnipeg and Manitoba governments each committed to fund a third of a proposed road from Shoal Lake 40 to highway 1 so the community can have year round access.

JOHN WOODS/THE CANADIAN PRESS

A departing Conservative MP says the federal government has committed to building a road to a remote aboriginal community along the Manitoba-Ontario boundary.

The Manitoba government and Winnipeg city hall have already committed to building a road to Shoal Lake 40 First Nation, but the federal government has so far refused.

Joy Smith, a Conservative who is not seeking re-election, says she has been told Ottawa will now commit money for the road.

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She says she received the message in a phone call with Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford, who is also the member of Parliament for the Shoal Lake area.

The reserve was cut off from the mainland a century ago when an aqueduct was built to supply fresh water to Winnipeg.

The community has been under a boil-water advisory for 17 years and has no all-weather road, leaving residents to rely on a treacherous ice road in winter and an aging barge in summer.

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