‘It's very dangerous’, fears over route people forced to take due to washout
Published Thursday, October 5, 2017 6:09PM EDT
A main access road into a Northern Ontario First Nation in the Sudbury area is washed out.
For the past ten days, people from the Wahnapitae First Nation have had to take a narrow, steep backroad to get in and out of the community.
A major collapse in the Taighwenni Road is over 30 feet deep.
It closed the main road into the Wahnapitae First Nation after a beaver dam plugged a culvert.
Ten days ago, a public works crew was trying to relieve the pressure that was building up when the road disintegrated, according to the chief.
"All of a sudden what happened was because of the pressure of the water, it started to erode the road and then within minutes the whole road just disappeared," explained Chief Ted Roque, Wahnapitae First Nation.
Residents are now using the back road to get in and out of the community, but there are serious safety concerns about people traveling on it.
"It's very narrow," said Roque.
"It's very dangerous. Our school bus is escorted out. We have an escort going in front of the school bus just for that extra safety precaution for any blind spots on the road. The community is very concerned of their safety using that road on a daily basis."
"It can barely have two people pass by. It's got steep inclines and as a result people can't see, so it's extremely dangerous," added George Ransom, Wahnapitae First Nation executive director.
The back road is not maintained in the winter.
The cost to repair the washout is estimated at more than $150,000; a hefty repair bill the First Nation cannot afford.
"The budgets are really tight in our programs, so it's really difficult for us to pull dollars when they are unexpected," said Ransom.
"We don't have a budget to cover some of these expensive costs," Roque said.
The chief confirms after days of negotiating the community received word on Thursday morning that Indian Affairs will pay for the repairs to this main access road.
Work is scheduled to begin on Tuesday and as for the beavers that caused the damage in the first place, the chief said the plan is to trap and relocate them.