Improvements to benefit up to 455 homes
CHASE, BC, Dec. 15, 2014 /CNW/ - Colin Mayes, Member of Parliament for Okanagan - Shuswap, on behalf of the Honourable Bernard Valcourt, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, today celebrated the completion of upgraded water systems for the Little Shuswap Lake and Okanagan Indian Bands.
Each community received new water wells, distribution and supply lines, and a pump house and treatment system. Okanagan Indian Band's system also received a new reservoir. For the Little Shuswap Lake Indian Band, the funding helped to connect two water systems between the Main Community and the North Subdivision which will maximize water quality, quantity and fire protection.
This $9.9 million investment by the Government of Canada will allow both First Nations to better provide their members with clean, safe drinking water.
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. 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.
- Funding for the upgraded water systems came from Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada's First Nations Water and Wastewater Action Plan:
- Little Shuswap Lake Indian Band's water system: $5,291,885
- Okanagan Indian Band's water system: $4,655,433
- Little Shuswap Lake Indian Band, which invested an additional $135,230, is located on Little Shuswap Lake near Chase, British Columbia. It is home to 324 members, of whom 193 live on reserve.
- Okanagan Indian Band is located on Okanagan Lake near Vernon, British Columbia. It is home to 1,959 members, 823 of whom live on reserve.
- Economic Action Plan 2014 committed $323.4 million to improve water and wastewater infrastructure in First Nation communities.
- On November 1, 2013, the Safe Drinking Water for First Nations Act came into force which will support safe, on-reserve drinking water and wastewater treatment by developing much needed regulations.
"Our Government will be funding important upgrades to the Little Shuswap Lake Indian Band and Okanagan Indian Band water systems so that community members can have the same access to safe and clean water that other Canadians enjoy. We recognize that improving water and wastewater systems on reserve is crucial to supporting healthy, self-sufficient and prosperous First Nation communities. Through these types of investments, Canada continues in its commitment to improve the health and quality of life in First Nation communities."
Member of Parliament for Okanagan - Shuswap
"Over the years, the quality and level of water in our wells had been declining. The upgrade project has improved both quality and reliability of our water by linking our main community with a more productive well from our north subdivision. The increased capacity of the system will also support future growth and development in our community."
Chief Oliver Arnouse
Little Shuswap Lake Indian Band
"This project is indicative of the shared commitment between governments to provide safe drinking water for our community. Things grow where water flows and the upgraded water system will certainly help our community grow as we complete our land use plan and work towards further upgrades to our infrastructure. We thank the Government for the investment and look forward to future collaborations to build capital projects and to build relationships."
Chief Byron Louis
Okanagan Indian Band
SOURCE: Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development 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; You can subscribe to receive our news releases and speeches via RSS feeds or e-mail. For more information or to subscribe, visit www.aandc.gc.ca/subscriptions.