HomeUncategorizedFort Chipewyan evacuation puts focus on permanent road to Fort McMurray or...

Fort Chipewyan evacuation puts focus on permanent road to Fort McMurray or Fort Smith

The Fort Chipewyan evacuation prompted community leaders to work even harder to have an all-weather roadway. Chipewyan Fort can only be reached by plane, boat or on a winter road.

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Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN) Sheriff Allan Adam believes it could be quicker to build a permanent road to Fort Smith, NWT. than Fort McMurray. He said city leaders and Indigenous people in the Fort Smith area were very supportive, although no plans were made officially.

“We’re talking to the Northerners about that,” Adam said in an interview. “Other communities that have been evacuated have the right to drive out of here, but we don’t. It is dangerous to live in the community.”

Fort Chipewyan was evacuated on May 30 when an out-of-control wildfire started spreading towards the community. More than 1,000 people were taken out of the community by plane or escaped on boats. Most of the evacuees left Chipewyan Fort by May 31.

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Essential workers began returning to Fort Chipewyan on June 19. The public returned on June 22. Elderly, those considered vulnerable, and those with health problems Well will go home on June 24th.

Fort Chipewyan and Fort Smith are connected by a winter road maintained by Parks Canada. The winter road to Fort McMurray is the responsibility of the municipality. Most fuel, non-perishable food, and construction materials arrive at Fort Chipewyan after a winter road trip, as trucks are seen as a faster alternative to barges and cheaper than freighter flights.

In recent years, warmer winters and fluctuating water levels make winter road schedules unpredictable. The 2022-23 winter road season lasts 110 days. This is the first time the winter road has been open for more than 100 days since the 2016-17 season.

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No plans for a permanent route to either community have been made, but the leader of Chipewyan Fort says any permanent route must protect the health of the Athabasca Plains. Building north will achieve this, although both routes are supported.

Mayor Sandy Bowman supported the construction of both routes for all-weather roads. He raised the issue with Transport and Economic Corridor Minister Deven Dreeshen.

“If we are looking to best protect and support our communities, an all-weather road north to Fort Smith or south to Fort McMurray are both options worth exploring as long as it was done with the consultation and participation of the community as well as its leadership,” said Bowman.

A spokesman for Dreeshen said no formal discussions have taken place on either of the proposed all-weather roads.

Spokesman Jesse Furber said: “The Alberta Transport and Economic Corridor will review any road proposals put forward to improve travel safety and efficiency for communities in the north. Alberta.


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