Long-term drinking water advisory lifted in Sachigo Lake First Nation
Tim Brody - Editor
With the completion of upgrades and expansion of the community’s water infrastructure, Sachigo Lake First Nation’s Chief and Council recently lifted a long-term drinking water advisory affecting over 500 community members since October 19, 2018.
“Sachigo Lake First Nation and Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) have worked in partnership to invest approximately $29 million over a period of five years. Improvements to infrastructure included upgrading the existing water treatment plant, extending the community’s water distribution system, and expanding the wastewater lagoon,” a Nov. 30 news release from Indigenous Services Canada explained.
A project team led by Sachigo Lake First Nation’s Chief and Council recruited professional services for the comprehensive feasibility study. Multiple contractors were subsequently hired to complete the construction and implement the upgrades, allowing Chief and Council to lift the long-term drinking water advisory.
“These improvements ensure access to safe, clean drinking water for approximately 185 homes and several non-residential buildings, such as the band office, schools, teacherages, community hall, daycare and hockey arena,” the news release stated.
“As people of the land, we understand firsthand how clean water is the starting point to all life. For the people of Sachigo Lake First Nation, potable water from which we can drink, bathe and cook has been a long time in coming. As Chief, I am pleased that finally today, I can tell community members that the water is good, the water is drinkable and that the clean water flowing from our taps takes us one step closer towards fairness and equity, safety and well-being.
“We are grateful for the efforts undertaken by those who helped us work towards this: the WFNC technical team and officials at ISC. Migwech for helping us make this a reality. Looking ahead, however, we must ensure that ISC maintains critical capital investments into Sachigo Lake’s infrastructure so that our children and those yet to come can expect clean drinking water from their taps, too. But today we celebrate and offer our friends in government a big migwech,” stated Sachigo Lake First Nation Chief Robert Beardy.
“I thank Chief Beardy and the many teams that led to the lifting of the drinking water advisory in Sachigo Lake. The people responsible for upgrades to the community water infrastructure worked through the COVID-19 pandemic and supply chain delays. Despite all of these barriers, they finished the job. Congratulations, Sachigo Lake First Nation on this new chapter,” stated Minister of Indigenous Services Patty Hajdu
Sachigo Lake First Nation is located on Sachigo Lake, part of the Sachigo River system and Hudson Bay drainage basin, approximately 425 kilometres (264 miles) north of Sioux Lookout.
As of September 2022, Sachigo Lake First Nation had a registered population of 967 people, with 537 people living on reserve.
The federal government shared that, “First Nations, with support from the Government of Canada, have lifted 136 long-term drinking water advisories since November 2015, 69 of which were in Ontario.
“Initiatives are underway in 19 Ontario communities to resolve the remaining 22 long-term drinking water advisories.
“Since November 2015, 231 short-term drinking water advisories on public systems in First Nations communities have been prevented from becoming long term.”
Representatives from First Step Women's Shelter and the Sioux Lookout OPP Detachment were at Giant Tiger and Fresh Market Foods this past Saturday accepting donations to help all families in our community have a great Christmas.