Highway to Kenora to be twinned starting at Manitoba-Ontario border

WINNIPEG — For those who travel from Manitoba to Kenora during the cottage season, there is some good news about their future trips.

Four First Nations in Ontario have now agreed to twinning the Trans-Canada Highway, which will start at the Manitoba-Ontario border and go to Highway 673.

This project was originally announced as part of a three-phase plan in 2020.

Despite the announcement last year, the First Nations said they only now have agreed to the twinning which is part of Phase 1. They said they agreed because the government is now recognizing Treaty 3 law.

The First Nations include Wauzhushk Onigum First Nation, Shoal Lake 40 First Nation which supplies drinking water to Winnipeg, Niisaachewan Anishinaabe Nation, and Washagamis Bay First Nation.

The four formed a partnership in 2018 which is known as the Niiwin Wendaanimok Partnership.

The First Nations said widening the highway will provide opportunities and safety for everyone who uses the road.

“There is the definite desire to make sure that the highway is safe for everyone to travel on because I think we’ve all had not the greatest experiences on that highway at most times,” said Lorraine Cobiness, the chief of Niisaachewan Anishinaabe Nation.

The first phase of the twinning project is set to begin in the fall.

The second phase would see the twinning go from Highway 673 to Rush Bay Road and then the third phase going from Rush Bay Road and Highway 17A.

The First Nations have said discussions are still ongoing on the approval process for Phase 2 and 3.

Treaty 3 was originally signed in 1873 and was created as the Crown wanted safe passage through northwestern Ontario to reach the Red River Settlement.

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