Ottawa-On February 12, 2020, the Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Indigenous Services, together with Chief Derek Maud and their community of Lac Seul First Nation, celebrated the grand opening of the new water treatment plant in Kejick Bay. The new plant ended a drinking water advisory in place for 17 years.
Since the election of the Federal Liberal government, the Government of Canada and First Nations communities are working in partnership to improve water infrastructure on reserves and support access to safe, clean and reliable drinking water. The new facility provides clean and reliable drinking water & improved fire protection to approximately 350 residents and eight community buildings. The plant meets current federal and provincial drinking water regulations and was designed to allow for future expansion. The existing water treatment plant has been decommissioned.
Indigenous Services Canada invested approximately $4.7 million in support of this project. Chief E. Derek Maud of Lac Seul First Nation said “This has been a long and difficult process; however, I am thrilled that the new water treatment plant at Kejick Bay is complete, and that after 17 years members can drink safe, clean water straight from the tap. Thank you to our members for their patience, and to the elders and leadership for your support during this important project.
“Minister Marc Miller wrote on his Facebook page “Lac Seul First Nation has waited 17 years to have clean water. Today was a beautiful day to celebrate the opening of their new water treatment plant and celebrate with a glass or two of fresh water!“
Lac Seul First Nation is located approximately 40 kilometres west of Sioux Lookout. The First Nation is divided into three communities: Frenchman’s Head, Kejick Bay, and Whitefish Bay. The Small Communities Fund (SCF) delivered through Infrastructure Canada and the Ontario Ministry of Infrastructure provided more than $3.6 million toward this project.
Budgets 2016 through 2019 commit an additional $2.19 billion through to 2020-2021 toward water and wastewater infrastructure and end long-term drinking water advisories on public systems on reserves. Between November 2015 and February 2020, 88 long-term advisories have been lifted.
In total, 574 water and wastewater projects have been initiated or completed since Budget 2016. These projects include new, upgraded or repaired infrastructure, as well as feasibility and design studies to ensure First Nations have the right infrastructure systems in place for growing communities. To date, 265 projects have been completed and another 309 are underway, benefitting 606 First Nations communities across the country.