A group of individuals from Tataskweyak Cree Nation are blocking website traffic on the only highway into Manitoba Hydro’s Keeyask building station design website, to reduce the unfold of COVID-19 into their neighborhood. 

The team is worried about a scheduled shift improve at the web page on May possibly 19. Hundreds of staff will be permitted to leave, and hundreds of new personnel from across Canada and the United States will be coming in.

“Why acquire that risk of bringing in people, and then owning a circumstance?” reported Nathan Neckoway, a Tataskweyak band councillor who was with the group on Saturday early morning.

“We’ve observed several instances occurring all through the province, the state, even the entire world. It only will take one particular scenario to distribute so immediately among people today.”

Whilst there were 190 confirmed COVID-19 instances on Very first Nations across Canada as of May perhaps 15 in accordance to Indigenous Providers Canada, there have been no confirmed situations on any Manitoba To start with Nation so far.

Retaining the coronavirus out of Tataskweyak, a To start with Country just around 700 kilometres north of Winnipeg, is the purpose of a community lockdown that is staying enforced by blocking targeted visitors, Neckoway said.

The group set up Friday afternoon on Provincial Highway 280, and have because turned absent a semi that was destined for the building web-site.

Around 1,300 folks are normally on-web page at Keeyask, which Hydro briefly scaled again in March to about 600 staff members and contractors.

Though a general public wellness purchase prohibits non-vital journey from southern Manitoba into the north, Manitoba Hydro claims it has been accredited by provincial health officials to go ahead with the shift transform and has outlined a approach to make positive anyone stays protected.

A spokesperson reported the Crown company has been isolating travelling workers for two months before they’re allowed to come into the neighborhood to perform.

“To date, there have been no positive COVID-19 exam outcomes at Keeyask, a testomony to the protocols Manitoba Hydro has experienced in location for pretty much two months,” said spokesperson Bruce Owen in an e-mail.

Local community customers ‘scared’: councillor

Neckoway stated people today from his group, and other people like York Landing and Fox Lake Cree Country, are worried the coronavirus could possibly make its way into their communities.

If that occurs, Neckoway explained “it would be hard to offer with.”  His group would not have the infrastructure to isolate the contaminated. He mentioned several families dwell in overcrowded conditions already.

Neckoway said he and Tetaskweyak Cree Nation main Doreen Spence have been in call with Manitoba Hydro and provincial general public health officials about the scenario. 

A team of folks from Tataskweyak Cree Nation say they’re going to continue to keep blocking targeted visitors into Manitoba Hydro’s Keeyask dam web site right until the pandemic calms down. (Submitted by Nathan Neckoway)

Manitoba Hydro reported it has been in typical call with all associate communities.

“To say they ended up not knowledgeable and consulted is only not correct,” mentioned Owen in an e mail. “Manitoba Hydro made adjustments to the approach in Could based mostly on their enter and that of community overall health officials.”

Neckoway claimed his team is obtaining a great deal of assistance, and will proceed to turn away visitors heading into the design web page till the pandemic calms down. It truly is for the security of his group associates, he reported.

“A large amount of folks have that kind of nervousness, and were being incredibly worried and they ended up frightened that a case will be right here.”

Keeyask is a 695-megawatt hydroelectric building station remaining created 725 kilometres north of Winnipeg on the Nelson River, in partnership in between Manitoba Hydro and four Very first Nations: York Factory 1st Nation, War Lake To start with Country, Tataskweyak Cree Country and Fox Lake Cree Nation.

It is really scheduled to be finished in 2021, with a value tag estimated at $10.5 billion.


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