Water Flowing At Canoe Lake, But Not Drinkable

Tuesday, April 11, 2006 at 13:25



The chief of the Canoe Lake First Nation says his band is slowly beginning to repair its damaged drinking water system.


However, Guy Lariviere says a lot of work still remains before anyone will be allowed to drink the water again.


Even though the water has been turned back on, the chief says they need to refit their sewage lift station with a missing part.


As well, he says they have to make sure chlorine levels come down far enough for the water to be declared safe.


Lariviere notes a worker from the Meadow Lake Tribal Council will begin checking water lines today, but that process is going to take some time.


Lariviere says the band is telling its members who vacated to neighbouring communities to stay put until the situation is resolved.


He is hopeful things will be much better by the end of the week.


Meanwhile, some comments by an Indian Affairs official are not going over well with the chief.


Earlier this week, INAC spokesman Trevor Sutter told a Saskatchewan newspaper that the band was offered $200,000 to upgrade its water system in 2004-2005, but didn’t take the department up on its offer.


Lariviere flatly denies that.


He says the scenario was much more complicated than that.


The chief also says the band is doing the best with the resources it has.


Meantime, the Meadow Lake Tribal Council’s health director is commending the efforts and quick response of health and community staff on the reserve after the sewage started seeping into the water supply.


Marie McCallum says the band’s water technician, community nurses and staff went above and beyond the call of duty during the crisis to make sure the individuals most at risk were notified about the contaminated water first.


Northern Inter-tribal Health Authority Medical Health Officer Dr. Mandiangu Nsungu says a potentially major health disaster was averted by the quick response of the community workers.


Nsungu says hundreds of people could have become ill with a variety of illnesses if the community wasn’t promptly notified as it was.


Nsungu admits some people have experienced diarrhea, but a link to the contaminated water situation has yet to be established.