Nails causing flat tires in File Hills

Members’ vehicle tires from File Hills have been affected by nails on the road and around the train tracks. Photo illustration by Morgan Esperance.

Four First Nations communities in the File Hills grid road area had members affected with nails in their tires, in the location near where a protest in solidarity to the Wet’suwet’en protests in British Columbia happened in early February.

The nails were found about a week after the protest.

The reserves on the File Hills road are Peepeekisis Cree Nation, Okanese First Nation, Starblanket Cree Nation and Little Black Bear First Nation.

“We noticed our tires were low, but we thought it was just the cold,” said S’ree Lerat.

Lerat and her partner Luke Desnomie believe they were among 30 to 60 people affected by nails found at the turnoff on Highway 10 and the File Hills grid road.

“Luke was going to change the tires and he noticed a screw in it,” said Lerat.

“He changed it, plugged it and put air in it. And then the other tire was going low too, so he checked that, and he found two screws in that tire.”

The File Hills Police have been receiving information of vehicle tires having nails in them, and the repair costs. The police force is reportedly investigating the situation. File Hills Police was not available for comment.

Lerat says it will cost about $600 for two new tires. They have also given their information to the File Hills Police to assist in the investigation. Lerat is from Peepeekisis Cree Nation.

There were posts and pictures circulating on social media of nails on the road and residents showing they have found nails in their tires. There are assumptions as to why this has happened, but there is no evidence to prove who has done this and why.

One post found on Facebook shows a magnetic board being held over the road and with many nails attached to it.

There have also been posts shared on social media of others walking around the train tracks with magnetic boards to clean up the nails and screws on the road. There have been so many nails and screws found on the road there is no exact number as to how many were on the road in total.

This situation has been an inconvenience for everyone who has gone in and out of the File Hills Qu’Appelle Region, although it is making its way to being a clear road again and drivers are having their tires on their vehicles replaced.

Sherrie Bellegarde, a resident of Starblanket Cree Nation, commutes every day to work in Yorkton from her home community.

“I woke up in the morning trying to drive my vehicle and I had two flats on my van,” said Bellegarde.

“When I looked at it, there was one screw, one nail and another screw … I kept looking at the tire and found an additional two more screws!”

Luckily, Bellegarde has another vehicle and was able to make it to work. The cost to replace her tires and tow her vehicle to a mechanic is an inconvenience. She had to drive her vehicle with a temporary spare and flat tire.

“I commute, it’s about an hour and ten minutes depending on the roads. I’m dependent on my vehicle to get me to work every day,” said Bellegarde.

The File Hills grid road is approximately 110km east from Regina.

 

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