Leaders in Cumberland House have declared a state of emergency due to deplorable road conditions on Highway 123.

Earlier this month, photographs on social media depicted what appeared to be hazardous conditions and in some cases unsafe for travel.

Locals state this has impacted the supply chain to the northern community.

We urgently call for immediate action from Canada and Saskatchewan to address the dire situation on Highway 123. We need safe and reliable access for emergency services, food supplies, and vital resources. Immediate action needs to be taken to repair the road and come up with a long-term plan to replace the poorly constructed Highway,” said Cumberland Cree Nation Chief Rene Chaboyer at an event at kilometer 20 of Highway 123 earlier today.

Speaking Thursday at an event in Saskatoon, Premier Scott Moe said he is willing to work with community leaders on immediate challenges and future investments on the roadway.

The Ministry of Highways said investments will be made to Highway 123 this summer.

“The deplorable and deteriorating conditions of Highway 123 puts the health and well-being of our community members in jeopardy,” explained Cumberland House Mayor Ferlin McKay. “We are at a critical point and we’re calling on the Federal and Provincial governments to meet with our leadersip immediately. The road is impassable to the transportation of important goods and services for our citizens. Essential things like milk, bread, baby formula, and prescription medications are dwindling and impeding access to emergency services, and fly in services is alarming,”

The state of the road conditions have prompted a petition to be created by Janelle Thomas to raise awareness to the issue. “They are getting stuck on the highways and there is no cell service on that highway, so if there is an emergency to happen on that highway, how are we expected to get help,” Thomas said.

Thomas stated that the road conditions are deteriorating with the rainfall in the area and the mud is about a foot thick.

“Starting with the transport like for food and medicines which we do have a pharmacy, our transports are not able to make it. Of course, the businesses are affected because of that. The shelves, there are minimal things on the shelves that I have seen, and that people have told me,” Thomas said. “The ambulance is unable to provide emergency services and our medical staff is affected. So, the only option is to take yourself out of town or an air ambulance for emergencies. It’s pretty scary and very concerning for people in Cumberland House.

(Photo by Amber Bear.)