Not everyone has access to year-round roads in Canada. The Island Lake communities are a close-knit network of four communities whose residents rely on the ice roads that form during the winter months each year. During these cold months, the communities are a buzz of activity, transporting goods, travelling to trap lines, setting up ice fishing locations, and thriving on the land’s variety of offerings.
Over the last few years, the “Reducing the Risk of Ice Roads” project team has worked alongside community coordinators in the St. Theresa Point and Wasagamack First Nations to facilitate engagement sessions. These sessions include community mapping, surveying, and workshops to paint a picture of what ice road travel was like in the past, what it’s like in the present, and what can be done to ensure community safety in the future.
CIER and its project partner, NextGen Environmental Research Inc., visited their friends in Island Lake, Manitoba this month. The new Community Coordinator for the project, Jake, was able to join the project’s team members and meet over the project development period. Jake was introduced to their new app developed for freshwater surveillance of ice development. He is helping brainstorm the mapping of key areas with his community in the upcoming months.
The trip kicked off with presenting full-size printed maps to Wasagamack First Nation, a community new to this project’s ice road engagement journey. Community members are now able to outline frequently travelled routes to help determine where research is focused.
Afterward, the team met with the St. Theresa Point First Nation Community Coordinator, Doug Flett, to celebrate the project’s approaching conclusion. The “Reducing the Risk of Ice Roads” project team began planning for a project-end celebration as the 2023 ice road season comes to a close.
We hope to see again everyone in good health.
CIER and NextGen extend our deepest condolences to the communities in Island Lake. More than project partners, we have come to know the people of Island Lake and we are thinking of them, their families, and their communities as they continue to celebrate the life of their beloved.