Saskatoon

Hatchet Lake Dene First Nation relies on mining money for fire hall

The deaths of two children this week in a fire on a Saskatchewan First Nation brought the state of adequate funding for fire services to the forefront.

$1.3 million fire hall built in December

The Hatchet Lake Dene First Nation's fire hall opened in December. (Cameco)

The deaths of two children this week in a fire on a northern Saskatchewan First Nation brought the state of adequate funding for fire services to the forefront.

On Tuesday, a two-year-old boy and one-year-old girl died in a house fire on Makwa Sahgaiehcan First Nation. The First Nation relied on the nearby village of Loon Lake for its fire service.

Hatchet Lake Dene First Nation's fire hall cost $1.3 million. Money came from the federal government and two mining companies. (Cameco)
It's a different story on the Hatchet Lake Dene First Nation. In December, it opened its own $1.3 million fire hall.

"We lobbied for a new fire hall, because the one we had wasn't the best,"  Hatchet Lake Dene First Nation Chief Bart Tsannie said. 

The government contributed $525,000, with the First Nation contributing $365,400 of its own-source funding, to plan, design and construct the hall. Also, Areva Resources Canada and Cameco Corporation each contributed $200,000 toward the project, according to the federal government.

However, the First Nation said it wouldn't have been built if the First Nation had to rely solely on government funding. 

"There's people losing lives on some first nations which is really sad but, you know, this is the reason why we have to have good fire halls on First Nations right across Canada," he said. "They should have good facilities, but funding is always the issue."

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