Biigtigong Nishnaabeg, ON – Biigtigong Nishnaabeg held celebrations to formally announce the construction of a new raw water intake and treatment plant. This new plant will provide a safe and reliable source of potable water capable of meeting the community’s current and future needs. The announcement was made by March 17, 2023 by Chief Duncan Michano and Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services.
This project has been developed in partnership between Biigtigong Nishnaabeg and Indigenous Services Canada (ISC). Upon completion, it will provide safe, clean drinking water for more than 168 homes and several non-residential buildings, such as the administration office, schools, teacherages, health centre, community centre and daycare.
Although Biigtigong Nishnaabeg has never been under a long-term or short-term drinking water advisory, this plant was developed as a proactive measure to safeguard community drinking water in the future.
Initial construction began late last year when a construction contract was awarded to Biigtigong Nishnaabeg. The new plant is anticipated to be operational in November 2024 and is expected to cost approximately $58 million.
“Biigtigong Nishnaabeg is very pleased to see the beginning stages of our water project come to life. This project is critical in meeting the needs of our community to supply clean, reliable drinking water. It is also essential infrastructure for the future growth of our community. This project has allowed our community to secure a basic need for many generations to come.” – Chief Duncan Michano, Biigtigong Nishnaabeg
“Part of keeping water safe and healthy in communities is repairing and replacing infrastructure as it ages. With a new water intake and treatment plant now under construction, Biigtigong Nishnaabeg can continue to ensure their community will have access to clean water now, and into the future. This project is a partnership between Indigenous Services Canada and Biigtigong Nishnaabeg, and construction is expected to be complete in late 2024. Congratulations to Chief Michano and everyone involved.” – The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services
- Biigtigong Nishnaabeg is located on the Pic River, near south Heron Bay along the northeast shore of Lake Superior, south of the town of Marathon.
- As of December 2022, Biigtigong Nishnaabeg had a registered population of 1,279 people, with 530 people living on reserve.
It is not true that Biigtigong Nishnaabeg has never been under a long-term or short-term drinking water advisory. When the First Nation’s water supply was contaminated with cyanide in the mid 1990s as a result of the operations of the mining at the Hemlo goldfields, the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs built a new water treatment plant for the community and charged the $5 million to the First Nation’s capital account. No attempt was made to recover the costs from the mining companies upstream. See Biigtigong Nishnaabeg, Navigation Protection Act Review, December 2, 2016 https://www.ourcommons.ca/Content/Committee/421/TRAN/Brief/BR8698748/br-external/BiigtigongNishnaabeg-e.pdf , MARATHON PALLADIUM PROJECT TRANSCRIPT OF PROCEEDINGS Thursday, April 7, 2022, at 9:00 a.m. vol. 18 p. 3201 https://aeic-iaac.gc.ca/050/documents/p54755/143556E.pdf , MiningWatch Canada, Mining’s Toxic Orphans: A Plan for Action on Federal Contaminated and Unsafe Mine Sites, 12 August 2003
Communication between Roy Michano, Chief, Pic River First Nation and Joan Kuyek, September 20, 1999, and between John Peterson, Chief, Michipicoten First Nation, October 15, 1999.