Shoal Lake 40 First Nation seeking funds for Road in Canada
Shoal Lake 40 First Nation, a Native American settlement of 568 inhabitants (2011) located at the border of Manitoba and Ontario provinces in Canada, is pleading $30 million to build a bridge and road connecting them to Trans Canada Highway. The project is called “Freedom Road”.
The community sits in an artificial island, created due to the building of a canal that made transportation easier for the residents of Winnipeg, around 100 years ago. The population now asks for the construction of a road that will connect them to Winnipeg and, as a result, facilitate their access to potable water and cheaper health services.
While Manitoba government and the city of Winnipeg have committed $10 million each to the project, that money is still not enough. Leaders have asked the federal government to help as well, so that each instance of government would fund a third of the amount needed, but they offered only $1 million. Without full access to credit, the road simply cannot be built.
When all seemed lost, Rick Harp, a broadcast journalist of Winnipeg, started a crowdfunding campaign to raise the $10 million left. If that campaign is successful, then both the province and the city government bodies can each fund the remaining 2/3 and the road can be finally built.
The campaign has raised a little bit more than $50,000 so far, much below the “all or nothing” goal. However, they have until August 29th to make it happen. The campaign is being hosted at the Fundrazr website.
Successful or not, this project already raises some very interesting questions for small local communities: can such projects really be successfully financed via crowdfunding? Could they appeal to both local residents and outsiders willing to help? Could such communities become less dependent on centralized government bodies and thus enjoy lower taxes as a result of this type of infrastructure crowdfunding?
Picture: Shoal Lake 40 First Nation location, from campaign homepage.