The Saskatchewan government says it is waiting for a jurisdictional issue to be resolved before it can repave a small section of highway through Pelican Narrows.
The approximately eight kilometre portion of Highway 135 is titled to the federal government. The provincial government is looking at getting that title transferred to it, so the paving can be completed.
“The actual right-of-way that goes through the reserve is still in Canada’s name, it’s not in our jurisdiction,” said Blair Wager, the assistant deputy minister with the Ministry of Highways. “We’re not able to proceed with doing upgrades with that road until that jurisdictional issue is sorted out.”
The road transfer is part of larger negotiations between the Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation and the province regarding the Island Falls Dam settlement.
“We can’t proceed with that work until it’s clear we have jurisdiction of that road. That’s being discussed as part of that overall settlement,” Wager explained.
Deputy Minister of Highways, Fred Antunes, says that SaskPower is also a party to those negotiations, adding that if a settlement is reached, to include a land transfer, the ministry will then be able to perform the highway upgrades.
“Once the land is transferred to us, then we’ll be able to proceed with the investment,” said Antunes.
A request for comment from Chief Peter A. Beatty of the Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation was not returned.
(PHOTO: Pelican Narrows. Photo courtesy of saskhistoryonline.ca)