Shamattawa First Nation Chief Eric Redhead said Jan. 20 that Perimeter Aviation needs to improve the services they provide to members of his community and others in Manitoba.
His statement came a day after a Perimeter flight from Thompson to Shamattawa veered to the right, hit a snowbank and damaged its propeller shortly after landing.
“It is unclear whey this Perimeter flight ended up in a snowbank,” said Redhead in a press release. “I flew into Shamattawa earlier in the day and the runway was in very good shape. I had no concerns about the state of the runway. I am now rather concerned about the well-being of the Shamattawa residents who were on that plane. Everyone is physically OK, however, they are very shaken up.”
Redhead expressed concern in October about Perimeter overbooking flights from his community resulting in members of the First Nation missing important medical appointments.
“We have had to resort to chartering private planes so that our citizens can access medical appointments. This comes at great expense to the First Nation and these are funds that are needed in other areas,” said Redhead at that time. “The community is at a loss as to what to do because we do have an ongoing, binding agreement with Perimeter Aviation. This large corporation, which profits almost entirely off northern First Nations, is letting us down.”
Shamattawa, a remote fly-in community without land transportation connecting it to the rest of the province except during the winter road season, is one of 16 First Nations and communities in Manitoba and northwestern Ontario who have signed partnership agreements with Perimeter Aviation identifying it as their preferred provider of air transportation.
Grand Chief Garrison Settee of Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO), a political advocacy organization that represents Shamattawa and more than 20 other Northern Manitoba First Nations, said in the Jan. 20 news release he wants to see answers from Perimeter about how they will improve service in Northern Manitoba.
“Many of the MKO First Nations have expressed that they receive poor service, however, our First Nations have an ongoing, binding agreement with Perimeter Aviation,” Settee said. “Many of our communities do not have an all-weather road so air travel is the only option. I am concerned that this large corporation, which profits almost entirely off Northern First Nations, is letting our First Nations down. Shamattawa citizens absolutely need to see action on this matter. Today MKO is asking Perimeter to create a plan to improve service to Northern Manitoba. If Perimeter is unable to develop a plan that meets the needs of our northern First Nations, we will be calling on the federal government to step in to investigate this matter.”