SCUGOG: The federal government has announced they will be contributing $4.3 million to the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation for a water treatment project.
The announcement was made on Tuesday, Aug. 15th. The money will be used to build a new water treatment plant, expand the piped distribution system within the community, and add fire protection capacity, which includes a water storage facility.
Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, explained why this announcement is so important.
“Today’s announcement will lift three boil water advisories, and I think that is something people don’t understand. In one community, there could be 9 boil water advisories, so having an approach that will lift three of those is hugely important in being able to get on and do what we said we would do, which is lift them all,” she said.
The federal government has committed to contributing $1.8 billion, over a five-year period, to first nation communities for on-reserve water and wastewater infrastructure improvements.
Kelly LaRocca, Chief of the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation, told The Standard they plan to start construction on the project in the spring of 2018, and said they expect the project to take 2 years to complete. She also estimated the total cost of the project to be about $12 million.
To fund the project, the Mississaugas have received $4.6 million from the Small Communities Fund, a partnership between the Federal and Provincial governments. The Mississaugas will contribute $2.3 million to the project, according to Chief LaRocca.
The Chief said this announcement means the federal government “has lived up to its fiduciary responsibility” to end boil water advisories on reserve lands.
In addition, she explained that current plans are for a water treatment plant to be constructed somewhere in the northern part of the First Nation’s lands, and a water tower to be built near the newly constructed Tim Hortons, Minisi Convenience store plaza. However, exact locations have not yet been finalized.
Chief LaRocca said she is “hopeful [the water treatment plant] will come to benefit the municipality, as well as [first nation residents]” , stating the project has been master planned to benefit Scugog Island residents.