Accessibility/Mobile Features
Skip Navigation
Skip to Content
Editorial News
Classified Sites

The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Manitoba First Nation has tentative deal for new reserve after 2011 floods

WINNIPEG - More than 1,000 aboriginal flood evacuees who have been out of their homes since a flood in 2011 devastated their Manitoba community are one step closer to getting a new $100-million reserve.

The residents of the chronically flooded Lake St. Martin First Nation have been dispersed around the province for the past three years. Most are living in hotels or temporary accommodation in Winnipeg.

The band has been negotiating with the federal and provincial government to find a new home on dry land.

Premier Greg Selinger declared a deal was close at hand seven months ago and that prediction finally came true Tuesday when all three sides signed a tentative agreement for a new reserve near the old community.

No one has confirmed how much the agreement is worth. But draft figures from an Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada document dated last year and obtained through Access to Information by The Canadian Press estimate a cost of almost $100 million for construction.

Manitoba Aboriginal Affairs Minister Eric Robinson said it will cost at least that much for housing, a new school, a nursing station and other infrastructure.

"We're not sending people back to the bush," he said Wednesday. "We're building a brand-new community. That's going to take some time."

The agreement is expected to be voted on by residents of the First Nation in September.

Chief Adrian Sinclair of Lake St. Martin First Nation couldn't be reached for comment.

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada did not provide anyone to talk about the tentative agreement. In an emailed statement, the department called it "a significant step forward in returning remaining evacuees to their home communities."

Ottawa's chief negotiator, Sid Dutchak, who helped draft the agreement, will continue working with the First Nation and the province to get the deal done.

It has cost almost $100 million to care for the almost 2,000 aboriginal people from across the province who are still out of their homes three years after heavy flooding. It costs the federal government about $1.5 million a month to provide all the evacuees with food and shelter.

The prolonged evacuation and emotional turmoil has been blamed for the suicides and deaths of residents. Aboriginal leaders say children have missed out on school and are being exposed to the dangers of urban life — alcohol, drugs and gangs — and residents are disconnected from each other and their traditional ways.

A Red Cross study of the evacuees found many are on an "emotional roller-coaster" and are adjusting poorly to life in Winnipeg.

Robinson couldn't say when residents of the Lake St. Martin community would finally be able to return home.

"This is a significant step forward — the furthest we've ever been," he said. "It's been frustrating not only for ourselves, but for the people who are directly affected."

Details of the tentative agreement haven't been released, but Robinson said the proposed parcel of land is a mixture of Crown and provincial land near the old reserve. Money for construction of the reserve would likely be placed in a trust and released as construction progresses.

"It's going to be monitored very closely," Robinson said.

  • Rate this Rate This Star Icon
  • This article has not yet been rated.
  • We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high. If you thought it was well written, do the same. If it doesn’t meet your standards, mark it accordingly.

    You can also register and/or login to the site and join the conversation by leaving a comment.

    Rate it yourself by rolling over the stars and clicking when you reach your desired rating. We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high.

Sort by: Newest to Oldest | Oldest to Newest | Most Popular 0 Commentscomment icon

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is register and/or login and you can join the conversation and give your feedback.

There are no comments at the moment. Be the first to post a comment below.

Post Your Commentcomment icon

  • You have characters left

The Brandon Sun does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. Comments are moderated before publication. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.


Make text: Larger | Smaller

Brandon Sun Business Directory
The First World War at 100
Why Not Minot?
Welcome to Winnipeg

Social Media