SHOAL LAKE, ONT. — A joint venture (JV) involving Shoal Lake 40 Contractors LP and Sigfusson Northern Ltd. has been named the winning bidder in a competition to earn the right to construct a new water and wastewater system for Shoal Lake First Nation in northwestern Ontario. Indigenous Services Canada is contributing $33 million for the project, which includes construction of a water treatment plant, reservoir, raw water intake structure and lift station as well as the installation of watermain connections and fire hydrants, stated a Sept. 6 release.
It's been one month since Attawapiskat First Nation declared a state of emergency over its poor water quality. The measure was taken in the northern Ontario community due to high levels of trihalomethane (THMs) and haloacetic acids (HAAs) in the water the residents use for bathing and cooking. The fly-in community has a separate system for its drinking water.
Eabametoong First Nation, an Ojibway community that sits about 360 kilometres north of Thunder Bay, passed a band council resolution declaring a state of emergency Friday after water test results showed levels of trihalomethanes (THMs) between 122 to 182 per cent above Health Canada safety standards.
Yesno said residents are also reporting a foul smell coming from the community's tap water.
“Far too often, governments in Canada have demonstrated that they place little value on the health and well-being of Indigenous peoples and the revitalization of their cultures and traditions,” Tara Scurr, business and human rights campaigner with Amnesty International Canada, said in a statement Thursday.
There is also concern the changes that were made that allowed some of the advisories to be lifted were just temporary fixes. There are long-term, structural problems with the water treatment systems in many Indigenous communities that have not been addressed. Many of these places lack the proper equipment needed to remedy the operational issues with which they are confronted.