Canada invests over $30 million to date to provide homes with water and sewer service
OTTAWA, March 17, 2015 /CNW/ - The Honourable Bernard Valcourt, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, today announced that building materials for 152 housing plumbing retrofits have been purchased and will be sent to three Island Lake First Nations in Manitoba this winter road season.
These retrofits, the latest phase of a multi-year project, will provide homes with running water and sewer service via either piped systems or tanks. Significant progress has been made, with 318 houses retrofitted for plumbing to date and plans underway to retrofit an additional 356 units by March 31, 2016.
Once completed, all serviceable homes in the four First Nations of Garden Hill, St. Theresa Point, Wasagamack and Red Sucker Lake will have water and sewer service, improving the quality of life for the approximately 10,450 band members living in those communities.
Between 2006 and 2014, the Government of Canada invested approximately $3 billion to support First Nation communities in managing their water and wastewater infrastructure. These investments are part of a comprehensive long-term plan to improve drinking water and wastewater systems on First Nation lands, which is founded on four pillars: enhanced capacity building and operator training; enforceable standards and protocols; infrastructure investments; and protection of public health.
- To date, the Government of Canada has provided more than $30 million for the housing retrofits in the four Island Lake communities: Garden Hill First Nation, St. Theresa Point First Nation, Wasagamack First Nation and Red Sucker Lake First Nation.
- Work is progressing at Red Sucker Lake First Nation, and the remaining 12 homes are expected to be completed this year. This will conclude the First Nation's retrofit project.
- The project began in November 2011 when then Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, John Duncan, committed funding toward improved water and wastewater services for unserviced houses in the four Island Lake communities. Six water trucks, seven sewage trucks and building materials for truck garages and housing retrofits were purchased.
- The Island Lake First Nations are over 600 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg and are accessible only by air or winter roads.
"Our Government is taking action to ensure that the members of the Island Lake First Nations have access to safe drinking water. This is yet another step that brings us closer to completing this substantial project and will have a direct impact on the quality of life for First Nations."
Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development
"Our Government is proud to continue working with the Island Lake Tribal Council as we make tangible progress in these Northern Manitoba communities. The delivery of these building materials is yet another sign of our commitment to help First Nations people lead healthy and prosperous lives."
Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages and Member of Parliament for Saint Boniface
"This initiative has indeed been a positive and welcomed development for the affected community members within the region, and has gone a long way to achieving a healthier environment. Furthermore, the process in achieving this milestone for the region was realized through meaningful dialogue and partnership with both levels of governments."
Chief David McDougall
St. Theresa First Nation
Chairperson, Island Lake Tribal Council
Backgrounder – Safe Drinking Water for First Nations Act
Frequently Asked Questions – Safe Drinking Water for First Nations Act
News Release – Moving forward to develop regulations under the Safe Drinking Water for First Nations Act
Minister Duncan Announces New Measures Toward Improved Water Services in Island Lake First Nations
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SOURCE Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
For further information: Emily Hillstrom, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, 819-997-0002; Media Relations, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, 819-953-1160