On Tuesday morning, officials announced the opening of the 14.5-km Canyon Creek all-season road.
Holding a pair of oversized scissors, Canada’s Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, François-Philippe Champagne, cut the red ribbon on the brand new road that connects Norman Wells to Canyon Creek. The ribbon-cutting ceremony was followed by applause and a photo op with prominent members of the community including Daniel McNeelly, Rick Hardy, Sherry Hodgson, MP Michael McLeod, and Wally Schumann.
Champagne talked to the press about the benefits of a new road in the Sahtu region: “When you’re in the community, when you talk to the elders, when you realize that this is gonna give them another chance to be able to do what they used to do traditionally in terms of fishing and hunting… It’s far more than 14 k.m. of highway. This is about opening up opportunities for people…”
Community members agreed, telling CKLB Radio that the road will give them the opportunity to engage in more hunting and fishing activities and give them the freedom to easily visit family members and friends outside their community. Daniel McNeelly told CKLB Radio, “Although it’s 14 k.m., don’t let that discourage you. The enthusiasm and the energy is there… The community is happy they can go beyond the community boundaries now during the spring, summer, fall, and winter.”
The total cost of the road was $20 million — 75 per cent was funded by the Government of Canada and 25 per cent by the government of Northwest Territories. The project employed 36 Sahtu residents and 28 locals from different communities in the Northwest Territories.
The completion of Canyon Creek Road brings Northwest Territories one step closer towards building the Mackenzie Valley Highway.