Slate Falls Nation has opened a new water treatment plant, allowing the Nation’s Band Council to lift 11 long-term drinking water advisories (DWAs) that had been in place since 2004.

On Monday, Jane Philpott, Minister of Indigenous Services, joined Lorraine Crane, Chief of Slate Falls Nation at the official grand opening of the community’s new water treatment plant, and presented Chief Crane with the inaugural First Nation Water Leadership Award. The award was presented to Chief Crane for her outstanding leadership and dedication to the advancement of clean drinking water in Slate Falls Nation.

“Today is a big day to make changes to our lifestyle and we are very excited to finally be able to drink water right from the tap. The community is looking forward to not having to purchase water or boil the water, and after almost 14 years of the boil water advisory, it will be a positive adjustment and a change to our lifestyle,” said Chief Crane. “We would like to take this opportunity to thank the community for their patience, and the support of elders and leadership throughout this project.”

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Chief Crane is a noted long-time advocate for her community and for the Nishnawbe Aski Nation, who has demonstrated exceptional determination in making the new drinking water plant a reality. Indigenous Services Canada invested more than $11.6 million for the plant that is built to serve up to 380 residents with safe, clean drinking water. It will also provide enhanced fire protection capacity for the community.

“Our government made a firm commitment to end all long-term drinking water advisories on public systems on reserve by March 2021. With 11 advisories recently lifted in Slate Falls Nation, significant progress is being made,” said Philpott. “My congratulations to Chief Crane, Band Council administrators and staff for all of their work in collaboration with the federal government to bring clean, safe drinking water to the community and end water advisories that residents have endured for far too long.”

In addition to the $1.8 billion committed by Budget 2016, Budget 2018 will provide an additional $172.6 million over three years to accelerate, where possible, projects underway across the country to end long-term drinking water advisories. Funds will also address at risk systems, support capacity building on reserve, and help establish First Nations-led service delivery models.

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