Federal government announces funding for an innovative safe water infrastructure plan

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Photo: Can Stock Photo/Hansenn

By Ontario Construction News staff writer

Communities at Mississauga of the Credit and Six Nations of the Grand River are coming up with unique ways to get clean and reliable drinking water for their residents.

On August 10, the two first nations, along with representatives from the federal government, announced a new plan for doing just that. The solution involves extending a local water main that lies between the two communities, to allow them access to the local Haldimand County water system, capitalizing on a current agreement between the Mississauguas of the Credit and Haldimand County to do it.

“I would like to thank the staff of Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, the staff of Six Nations and the staff of Indigenous Services Canada for the hard work and commitment that has made this water line extension a success. I also appreciate the assistance provided by Haldimand County,” said Stacey Laforme, chief of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation.

Two out of five First Nations are under a boil water advisories in Ontario, a problem both provincial and federal governments are making moves to solve. The Canadian government’s Safe Drinking Water for First Nations Act came into affect in November of 2013, which aims to identify priorities in the need for safe water and protect water sources from contamination.

“In early 2018, only 9 per cent of Six Nations residents, the most populated First Nation in Canada, had access to safe, treated potable water from our water treatment plant.  I am very happy to state that since that time we have secured enough funds to more than triple our water distribution coverage. This means that approximately 4,000 of our Six Nations residents will have access to a safe and reliable water source,” said Ava Hill, chief of the Six Nations of the Grand River First Nation.

“We are happy to partner with our neighbours, the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, to work toward our ultimate goal of extending our water distribution system throughout our entire community.”

The Mississauga of the Credit has a total population of 2,564, of whom 951 live on the reserve. Six Nations of the Grand River is 27,455 strong, with 12,805 living on its reserve.

The extension of Haldimand’s water main to the two first nations communities is made possible in part by a $4.7 million investment from Indigenous Services Canada. Budget 2019 allowed for  $739 million over five years, with $184.9 million per year ongoing, to support ongoing efforts to eliminate and prevent long-term drinking water advisories.

“This is a good example of First Nations working together with municipal partners and the Government of Canada to bring clean and safe water to reserve residents. We are proud to work with both communities and municipal partners to make this important project a reality,” said the Minister of Indigenous Services Seamus O’Regan.

 

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