Thunder Bay

Boil water advisory to end as Wauzhushk Onigum First Nation finalizes water agreement with Kenora, Ont.

About 400 people who have lived under a boil-water advisory for nearly a decade, will soon be able drink the water coming out of their kitchen faucet.

Federal government committed $7.2 million for community infrastructure for project

About 400 people at Wauzhushk Onigum First Nation near Kenora, Ont., will soon have potable tap water, after connecting to Kenora's sewer and water system. (Ivanoh Demers/CBC)

About 400 people who have lived under a boil-water advisory for nearly a decade, will soon be able drink the water coming out of their kitchen faucet.

The City of Kenora and Wauzhushk Onigum First Nation, which borders Kenora on its eastern boundary, first started to formally negotiate in 2018 how to bring clean water to the neighbouring First Nation.

"It's something that we take for granted. Wake up in the morning and you turn on the tap," said Dan Reynard, the mayor of Kenora.

"There are young people on, at WON that have never had fresh water. Everything either has to be boiled, or brought in." 

Kenora city council voted to accept an agreement between the city and First Nation this week on how to operate the system. Wauzhusk Onigum accepted the agreement a couple of weeks ago.

The federal government contributed $7.2 million to the project, to build water and sewer lines in the First Nation community.

Reynard said all the infrastructure work on the city side of the project is pretty much complete, and only a few weeks of work remain to connect the existing water system in Kenora, with the one at Wauzhushk Onigum.

"It's connecting their infrastructure into our infrastructure," he said, noting a new line runs under Golf Course Bay, to connect the First Nation to a pumping station.

"We're talking weeks now, where the service will be running."

The majority of the work to connect the First Nation and Kenora for sewer and water was needed on Wauzhushk Onigum's side of the bay.

"We have the capacity, we've always had the capacity, it was just a matter of the federal government making it a priority to bring forth the money, and, Bob Nault was instrumental in ensuring that that funding was available."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeff Walters

Reporter/Editor

Born and raised in Thunder Bay, Jeff is proud to work in his hometown, as well as throughout northwestern Ontario. Away from work, you can find him skiing (on water or snow), curling, out at the lake or flying.

now