Fond du Lac calls on province to recommit money for airstrip province

The chief of the Fond du Lac Dene Nation says the Saskatchewan government has “abandoned” its commitment to help improve the runway at the community’s airport, where a plane crashed 17 seconds after takeoff in December 2017, fatally injuring a passenger.However, Government Relations Minister Lori Carr said the province didn’t receive a completed funding application from the community. In a prepared statement, Carr said the project couldn’t be considered for the funding without a completed application.Carr was responding to a statement Fond du Lac Chief Louie Mercredi made in a release issued by the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations. The FSIN release said the community lobbied for help with the runway project after the death of band member Arson Fern Jr., 19, and the province committed to do all it could to help.“They gave us hope when they initiated the design phase which is almost complete. Now it’s election time and we’ve been brushed aside and forgotten,” Mercredi said in the statement.Mercredi called on the province to “recommit their portion of the funding to make sure it’s finished before more lives are lost.”Story continues belowThis advertisement has not loaded yet,but your article continues below.On Dec. 13, 2017, a Westwind Aviation aircraft, that was not de-iced, carrying 22 passengers and three crew members crashed shortly after takeoff from a runway.In June 2019, ministry officials asked that a full application for the project be submitted, but this didn’t occur, Carr wrote. The funding would have come from the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program via a provincial infrastructure stream.Another application process for the fund will take place later this year, according to Carr.The province was previously approved for funding to rehabilitate, but not expand and widen the runway through the Airports Capital Assistance Program.The runway is currently safe to use and meets physical and safety standards, Carr added.“It is also important to note that the Transportation Safety Board evaluated the runway at Fond du Lac and said that the runway was not a contributing factor to the accident that resulted in the tragic death of one individual.”Related ‘This is not a small problem’: TSB wants changes following Fond du Lac plane crash One year after fatal plane crash, community leaders ‘angry’ at lack of action to make transportation safer ‘I know he is no longer in pain and suffering’: Fond du Lac airliner crash victim remembered Province to expand Fond du Lac airport

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