Riske Creek, B.C.-Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada says all Canadians, including First Nations, should have access to safe, clean and reliable drinking water. As this is the case, on Dec. 5, 2016, the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, congratulated the Toosey First Nation in British Columbia on the completion of its new water treatment system.
The water system includes a new well, water treatment plant and distribution system. Once commissioned, the system will provide clean, healthy drinking water to the more than 340 residents and eliminate a boil water advisory in place for more than 10 years.
The Government of Canada invested $3.1 million to support completion of the Toosey water treatment system, including $1.5 million from Budget 2016.
Minister Bennett says, "Ten years under a drinking water advisory is simply unacceptable. Today marks an extremely important day for the members of Toosey First Nation. This new system will provide safe, clean, reliable drinking water to the community for many years to come. Our Government has pledged to end all long-term drinking water advisories in First Nations communities within the next five years, and we are determined to see more communities like Toosey First Nation access clean drinking water."
Chief Francis Laceese, Toosey First Nation, says, "Once our water system has been commissioned, the new system will end a boil water advisory that our community has had for the past 10 years. I would like to give gratitude and thanks for the support that was provided. It has been a long time coming and having the new water system will provide safe, clean drinking water for the people in our community, and no more bottled water."
The Toosey First Nation (Tl'esqox First Nation) is located in the Fraser Canyon approximately 50 km southwest of Williams Lake, British Columbia. In Budget 2016, the Government of Canada proposed to strengthen on-reserve water and wastewater infrastructure by providing $1.8 billion over five years to support clean drinking water and the treatment of wastewater on reserve.
Approximately $275 million of Budget 2016 investments have been allocated to support 195 water and wastewater projects in First Nation communities, including 25 aimed at addressing 34 long-term drinking water advisories. Budget 2016 also includes $141.7 million over five years in new funding for water monitoring and testing on reserve.