Kamloops, BC, Nov. 12, 2014 /CNW/ - On behalf of Bernard Valcourt, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, Cathy McLeod, Member of Parliament for Kamloops–Thompson–Cariboo, today celebrated the completion of upgraded water systems for the Whispering Pines/Clinton and Upper Nicola Indian Bands.
This investment of over $5 million from the Government of Canada has provided upgrades to the water and wastewater infrastructure for both First Nation reserves. Each community received new water wells and reservoirs, distribution and supply lines, and a pump house and treatment system.
Between 2006 and 2014, the Government of Canada has invested approximately $3 billion to support First Nation communities in managing their water and wastewater infrastructure. Previous actions include the passage of the Safe Drinking Water for First Nations Act, which enables the government to work with First Nations to develop regulations that will ensure First Nations have the same access to safe, clean drinking water in their communities. These investments are part of a comprehensive long-term plan to improve drinking water and wastewater systems on reserve, founded on four pillars: enhanced capacity building and operator training; enforceable standards and protocols; infrastructure investments; and protection of public health.
- Funding for the upgraded water systems came from Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada's First Nation Water and Wastewater Action Plan:
- Whispering Pines/Clinton Indian Band's water system: $2,170,891
- Upper Nicola Indian Band's water system: $2,855,930
- Whispering Pines/Clinton Indian Band is located north of Kamloops, British Columbia. It is home to 153 members, of which 53 live on reserve.
- Upper Nicola Indian Band is located near Merritt, British Columbia. It is home to 960 members, of which 380 live on reserve.
- Economic Action Plan 2014 committed $323.4 million to improve water and wastewater infrastructure in First Nation communities.
- The Safe Drinking Water for First Nations Act was introduced in the Senate in 2012, received Royal Assent in June 2013 and came into force in November 2013. Regulations will be developed with First Nations, to protect the health and safety of residents on First Nation lands by implementing much needed enforceable standards.
"Our Government recognizes that access to safe water and wastewater systems are crucial to supporting healthy, self-sufficient and prosperous First Nation communities. That's why I'm pleased to announce funding to upgrade both the Whispering Pines/Clinton and Upper Nicola Indian Bands water systems. This is a clear demonstration of how our Government is working with First Nations to improve water and wastewater infrastructure in their communities."
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Labour and for Western Economic Diversification and Member of Parliament for Kamloops–Thompson–Cariboo
"With the completion of upgrades to our water system, we will be able to provide a safe and reliable source of water for the community and improve the quality of life for the people who live here."
Chief Michael LeBourdais
Whispering Pines/Clinton Indian Band
"The water system upgrade for our community has been in the plan for a number of years. The new system ensures we have a water supply safe for all uses and we can ensure that the people of this community are given every opportunity for a healthier life style. Access to clean and safe water is one of life's priorities and we thank all involved for the new improved water system."
Chief Harvey McLeod
Upper Nicola Indian Band
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SOURCE: Government of Canada
For further information: Erica Meekes, 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