Winnipeg, Manitoba (May 23, 2013) - The Honourable Bernard Valcourt, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, the Honourable Eric Robinson, Manitoba Minister of Aboriginal and Northern Affairs, and Adrian Sinclair, Chief of Lake St. Martin First Nation, today reached agreement on a site to be developed, with the support of the federal and provincial governments, as a permanent location for evacuees from the 2011 Manitoba flood. The site, which includes provincial crown land and land purchased by the province of Manitoba, is adjacent to the existing Lake St. Martin community.
"The First Nation's selection of a site for their community is an important step toward returning Lake St. Martin evacuees to their home community," said Minister Valcourt. "While there is still work to be done before evacuees can return to permanent accommodations, we will continue to work with the Lake St. Martin First Nation leadership to make this happen as quickly as possible."
"The people of Lake St Martin were among the hardest hit by the unprecedented flooding of 2011," said Minister Robinson. "These families have been out of their homes for far too long, but today we are closer to a long term solution that will ensure the community's access to safe homes on higher ground."
"We are making real progress, and I look forward to continuing our work to move our people home," said Chief Sinclair.
The First Nation will hold an information meeting with community members prior to confirming the site selection through a Band Council Resolution. Once the site is confirmed, federal officials can begin the addition-to-reserve process. The federal government will also work with the province and First Nation to ensure that homes and other required infrastructure are in place so that community members can begin moving back to their community.
Lake St. Martin First Nation residents were evacuated from their community in May, 2011, as a result of flooding. As a result of extensive damage to homes and infrastructure, they have been unable to return and 1064 remain evacuated as of May 10. Lake St. Martin First Nation is located 255 kilometres north of Winnipeg.