Shoal Lake 40 First Nation has awarded a contract for the construction of a water treatment and distribution system to a joint venture firm, Shoal Lake 40 Contractors LP/Sigfusson Northern Ltd., following a competitive Indigenous-specific procurement process.

Chief Erwin Redsky and Dan Vandal, parliamentary secretary to the minister of indigenous services, participated in a groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the occasion.

“Building on the success of Freedom Road, the awarding of the construction contract for our new water treatment system continues our work with willing partners to correct past wrongs in the spirit of reconciliation,” said Chief Erwin Redsky from Shoal Lake 40 First Nation. “I’d like to thank the Minister and staff of Indigenous Services Canada for their results-based focus, and for the investment in our new water treatment system and for their support for true capacity-building. After decades of denial, our people can finally look forward to the day when we, like the citizens of Winnipeg, can turn on our taps and access clean, safe Shoal Lake water.”

The new system will end seven long-term drinking water advisories that have been in place since February 1997. It will also bring a reliable supply of safe, clean drinking water to 292 residents.

“I was honoured to participate in this ground breaking ceremony today with Chief Redsky and the community of Shoal Lake 40,” said Dan Vandal, parliamentary secretary to the minister of indigenous services. “This is a momentous occasion and one which is long overdue. I look forward to the day when the residents of this community can turn on their taps to access safe, clean water as my family and I do at the other end of the pipe in Winnipeg.”

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Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) is contributing up to $33 million for the project, which includes construction of a water treatment plant, reservoir, raw water intake structure, and lift station. It also includes the installation of water main connections and some fire hydrants. Construction of the new water treatment system is anticipated to be completed by December 2020.

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