This Hansard has not been finalized - this is the "Blues" in Parliamentary speak, or unedited transcript in regular speak.

In the Legislative Assembly on February 9th, 2024. See this topic in context.

Question 41-20(1): Lutselk'e Road Access
Oral Questions

Richard Edjericon

Richard Edjericon Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, this is probably the second time I'm bringing this issue up for the winter road for the community of Lutselk'e. And I'd like to see if we can try to get Cabinet on side to finally realize the high cost of living in Lutselk'e is very important to people in the community. So my question to the Minister is will the government commit to building a winter road from Yellowknife to Lutselk'e? Thank you.

Question 41-20(1): Lutselk'e Road Access
Oral Questions

The Speaker

The Speaker Shane Thompson

Minister of Infrastructure.

Question 41-20(1): Lutselk'e Road Access
Oral Questions

Caroline Wawzonek

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I was in the House over the last Assembly when this issue came up. I want to start by acknowledging it is a challenge with a community that is isolated and not on the winter road resupply right now. The safety of residents as they travel remains top priority for everyone and building a winter road across Great Slave Lake certainly is not without some significant challenges. And while I acknowledge there was a road out in that region, as the Member noted, it would be an additional 100 kilometres to actually make that accessible and with no guarantees as to what that would do. So at this point, looking at a winter road across Great Slave is not something that's in our capital plans, but I certainly would like to continue to have conversations to make sure that resupply does happen in a timely and reliable fashion to this community. Thank you.

Question 41-20(1): Lutselk'e Road Access
Oral Questions

Richard Edjericon

Richard Edjericon Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. You know, I brought this up a few times already, and I still haven't got no correspondence back to me in writing on this subject. You know, we got a budget of $2.2 billion, and my constituency of Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh we get less than half a percent of that.

And so my question is will this government commit to building an all-season road to Lutselk'e connecting it through Hay River; is that possible? Right now I don't see any plans from this government to address the high cost of living in Lutselk'e. Thank you.

Question 41-20(1): Lutselk'e Road Access
Oral Questions

Caroline Wawzonek

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I'm not aware of any studies or plans that would propose an all-season road to Lutselk'e. But I do want to address the other comment that there's been nothing in writing. I'm new to this portfolio, and I'll certainly commit to making sure that we do provide the information that I have available regarding what studies have been done, what efforts have been made, and some of the challenges that are faced so that there's a thorough understanding of that. But from that point on, we can hopefully get to a conversation about what is possible in these next four years, and I'm committed to getting that to this Member. Thank you.

Question 41-20(1): Lutselk'e Road Access
Oral Questions

Richard Edjericon

Richard Edjericon Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And, Mr. Speaker, things we take for granted in bringing in supplies into Lutselk'e, for example just a bed is about $600. And you know, small communities do matter, and I kept saying that in the last Assembly, and I'll say it again in this Assembly. Will the government commit to more -- to getting more barges or air flights to the community of Lutselk'e to help reduce the cost of living? Thank you.

Question 41-20(1): Lutselk'e Road Access
Oral Questions

Caroline Wawzonek

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, again let me take a look at what number of barges we have going in, when or if they were missed, and what we need to do to make sure that that doesn't happen again. I certainly can't promise that low water levels won't necessarily interrupt the barging season again but what we can do, and I know that this was something that I saw discussed from afar last time, was ensuring that the timing and the planning around when those barges arrive aligns in accordance with what the community needs and the timing of their resupply. So I certainly will commit to sitting down to make sure that that coordination happens early and that we all do our best and hopefully Mother Nature will comply. Thank you.

Question 41-20(1): Lutselk'e Road Access
Oral Questions

The Speaker

The Speaker Shane Thompson

Final supplementary. Member from Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh.

Question 41-20(1): Lutselk'e Road Access
Oral Questions

Richard Edjericon

Richard Edjericon Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I'd like to talk about, again, small communities really do matter. I hear from my constituency on the high cost of living. What is this government going to do to help lower the cost of living in the community of Lutselk'e? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 41-20(1): Lutselk'e Road Access
Oral Questions

Caroline Wawzonek

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. No hesitancy required. Bringing down the cost of living is something that, I think as perhaps Minister of Finance as well as infrastructure, I'm certainly alive to and keen to see happen for our residents across the Northwest Territories.

Mr. Speaker, that is a bigger, much bigger conversation. It's not only about corridors for roads, barges, ensuring our airlines can land in small communities. That is something top of mind for me. Perhaps focusing on my transportation portfolio, which I think is where the Member's at, I can say I'm at a transportation Ministers meeting next week. I'm actually the co-chair with the federal government, and I can assure you I've been working to get some discussions going between other colleagues attending because I want to put the issues that are relevant to northern communities, northern small communities, rural communities, top of mind for all the Ministers that are there to hopefully bring down costs through some better options. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 41-20(1): Lutselk'e Road Access
Oral Questions

February 9th, 2024

The Speaker

The Speaker Shane Thompson

Thank you, Minister of Infrastructure. Oral questions. Member from Inuvik Boot Lake.