In the wake of the Paris Climate Summit and with this year's mild winter, the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations has renewed calls for a northern grid road system in the province.
FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron said Fond du Lac, Black Lake, and Hatchet Lake Denesuline Nations are expecting to see a large impact from mild temperatures.
"It's been a very mild winter, warm temperatures to the point where it's pretty risky to travel on the ice roads. Now, these ice roads are our way of transportation for our Dene bands in the north," he said.
"They depend on this winter road for their supplies, for groceries, for lumber. The list goes on and on for the necessities they need to get to their communities."
FSIN is calling on all levels of government to work together to safeguard northern communities, which Cameron said are at greater risk due to climate change.
Many of the communities only have fly-in access or ice roads to bring in supplies. Cameron said rather than the northern communities depending on lakes freezing, there should be a permanent grid road.
"The Dene communities have been long advocating for a grid road to be constructed. It really is difficult to travel on frozen water in the winter to bring in supplies, to build homes and infrastructure," he said.
Cameron added that the Dene communities have been advocating for a grid road for "at least three decades." He said the road would hold a significant cost, but it would be worth the investment.
"Safety is a priority, accessibility is a priority, and in the long run it's going to enhance and better the lives of our people in the North," he said.
The FSIN represents 74 First Nations in Saskatchewan.