Fond-du-Lac airport still seeking funding nearly two years after deadly plane crash

After a deadly plane crash almost two years ago near Fond-du-Lac, the community is still looking for funding to improve their runway.

The FSIN is calling out the province for the lack of funds, saying while Fond-du-Lac’s funding application was denied, Moose Jaw airport’s application was late and still approved.

Fond-du-Lac Dene Chief Louie Mercredi said while their funding application was handed in late and incomplete, it was submitted despite claims from the province it wasn’t handed in at all.

“We don’t have engineers, we don’t have technical people to do these applications for us, but we did submit it in March,” Mercredi said. “Now that I found out Moose Jaw airport’s application was also late and that was accepted by the province, (I ask) what is going on here?”

Chief Mercredi said this shouldn’t come down to an application.

“We all know there was a crash, there was a death involved in this crash, even now in current stage, our runway has been shut down by the federal government due to the unsafe conditions,” Mercredi said. “Our people are getting shuffled back and forth to Stony Rapids to catch the flights going in and out of Fond-du-Lac.”

FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron said this goes to show the province can’t be trusted with First Nations funding.

“We’ve done our best, we’ve done our part, and the message here is to the federal government; stop giving the provincial government funding on First Nations behalf,” Cameron said. “This is a clear example of the provincial government not allocating those funds where it specifically needs to go.”

Representatives from Fond-du-Lac add while the federal government contributed $12 Million to the project, another $35 Million is needed to complete it.

The provincial NDP have also responded, saying the Sask. Party government clearly doesn’t realize how important the Fond-du-Lac airport is to the north.

It is estimated that 95% of travel and food comes through the air in the Fond-du-Lac area due to a lack of a year-round highway.

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