Kasabonika Lake First Nation (KLFN) is a remote, fly-in access Oji-Cree community situated on an islandon Kasabonika Lake of the Asheweig River watershed of Northwestern Ontario, located approximately460 kms northeast of Sioux Lookout, Ontario. The land base of Kasabonika Lake reserve is 101.5 km2.Population is 848 with a total of 212 private residences in the community. (Source: Kasabonika LakeIndian Reserve, Census Profile, 2016 Census ).
Year-round access is by aircraft using a 1,100 m gravel air strip operated and maintained by Ministry ofTransportation (MTO). There is regular scheduled passenger service between Sioux Lookout andThunder Bay/Winnipeg. The MTO also maintains a bailey bridge, which provides the only road accessbetween the island and the mainland.
A winter road is constructed annually in the late winter months for access by members using personalvehicles and for the mobilization of large volumes of fuel, foods, construction materials, heavy equipment,and other bulk goods. The duration of the winter road is typically 4-6 weeks from February to March -subject to weather conditions (temperatures, snowfall, ice thicknesses).
Kasabonika Lake has experienced the effects of climate changes on its community. Increasing averagetemperatures are resulting in noticeably shorter ice roads seasons and increasing variability andunpredictability of weather patterns. Increasing precipitation combined with warmer spring temperaturesresult in increased threat of flooding – floods have occurred twice since 2010 resulting in restrictedaccess to the island. Warmer summer temperatures and prolonged periods of low precipitation haveresulted in increased forest fire threat to the community – forest fires have occurred twice since the late1990s with 1 full scale evacuation of the community.
Stantec Consulting Ltd. (Stantec) was requested to complete a climate risk assessment (CRA) of theKasabonika Lake community infrastructure using the First Nation Infrastructure Resilience Toolkit (FNIRT),developed in partnership with Ontario First Nations Technical Service Corporation (OFNTSC). Theobjectives of the study are to:
- Identify Kasabonika Lake infrastructure vulnerabilities to current and future weather eventsassociated with the impacts of climate change.
- Establish a climate risk profile for the infrastructure selected by the community.
- Develop community-based adaption strategies and recommendations for mitigating climate riskswith the highest potential consequences and impacts to the community’s infrastructure assets.