Lake St. Martin secures new land to replace flooded reserve
Province, feds reach agreement with First Nation over land to replace flooded out reserve
Two years after a devastating flood hit their community, one Manitoba First Nation has finally secured land to start over and rebuild.
Lake St. Martin First Nation reached an agreement with the provincial and federal government on Thursday to secure a piece of land adjacent to their existing community.
In 2011, flood water forced thousands of evacuees from the community. Today, more than 1,000 evacuees are in temporary housing off-reserve.
The parcel of land, which is about 640 acres, sits adjacent to the existing community and is made up of provincial Crown land and land purchased by the government of Manitoba.
The First Nation will hold an information meeting with its members prior to confirming the site selection. Once that meeting has been held, federal officials will begin adding the land to the Lake St. Martin reserve.
Chief, Adrian Sinclair said the evacuees are looking forward to going home
"It's gonna be a good reserve and our people are happy and they are just eager to move back to the roots they are most familiar with," he said.
If the community referendum approves the land deal, the federal government will construct homes and other infrastructure on the land so community members can return to their First Nation.
Sinclair said plans for proper drainage and other development are moving along quickly, though they still have to work out where the school will be built.
He told CBC earlier this month he is hoping for a September move-in date but on Thursday, Sinclair suggested that December might be more likely.
"Housing contracts are in the making and you know, like I said, I don't really want to release too much here. We are working on things as we speak right now," he said.
Lake St. Martin First Nation is about 255 kilometres north of Winnipeg.