Kasabonika Lake First Nation Chief Eno Anderson says his community is still waiting on funding to upgrade their sewage treatment and diesel generation station.
Since 2004, the sewage treatment plant has been at nearly double capacity, resulting in sewage overflow into the lake and constant backups that endangers the health of the residents. Meanwhile, the diesel generation station has reached its peak generation limit on several occasions, and since 2008, the community has been on an “aggressive” conservation program where new connections can be made.
The connection restrictions and sewage treatment plant limitations has severely limited all development of existing infrastructure, and there are nine projects on hold that could generate $9 million in economic opportunity.
In an email to Wawatay News, an Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development of Canada (AANDC) spokesperson said that in addition to the $193,530 it provides annually to operate and maintain the sewage treatment plant, in December 2011 it budgeted $283,000 to assist the community with essential repairs and maintenance to the plant.
Despite the additional funding, Anderson said that’s not enough.
“That’s not going to resolve the situation,” Anderson said. “It’s the capacity, that’s the issue. It’s flooding all the time.”
He said that the treatment plant is becoming a concern for the community because of the impact on the water and the land. The community is in the process of trying to secure funding to test the lake, which is where the community gets its drinking water.
“Even if you confirm the water is contaminated, INAC doesn’t have any money,” Anderson said. “We’re kinda stuck.”
Anderson said his community also needs to build a lagoon on the mainland, and after a series of studies and proposals, no funding has been committed to build it.
No funding has also been committed to upgrade the diesel generation station.
AANDC said that the design phase of the project was completed in December 2011.
However, “the next phase, tendering and construction, will proceed when funds are available in AANDC's capital budget. In the meantime, the community has electricity to meet its current needs, as the diesel generator produces enough power to supply the community's essential services and existing homes.”
Anderson said that unless his community finds another source of funding for these projects, there’s little his community can do.
“All we can do is wait.”
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