Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) has completed a requested review of the cost estimate for the new Water Treatment Plant (WTP) and committed significant additional funds for the project.
When the project was first approved in 2019, ISC earmarked $24M for design and construction costs. We had hoped that the funding would cover the new WTP itself, as well as extensions and, repairs to the existing distribution system. Due to new design requirements and construction industry pressures beyond our control, however, estimated construction costs since 2019 have ballooned, pushing the cost of the project far past our ability to make up the shortfall. We have been engaged in extended negotiations with ISC over the past year, pressing them to review the actual cost of completing the project and reconsider their level of funding commitment.
With the cost estimate review and our negotiations with ISC completed, ISC has now agreed to commit a total of $59.8M to the WTP project, while the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation (CNUFN) will contribute $700K of own funds. With the expanded funding, we will be able to complete the new Water Treatment Plant, and extend the distribution network along Boundary Road. While a complete overhaul of our water distribution system is out of scope for this project, we will address distribution system deficiencies in future initiatives.
Negotiating a capital investment of $59.8M is a great success for CNUFN. With this investment, the great majority of Neyaashiinigmiing residents will finally have access to safe, potable water, a right taken for granted in most communities in Canada.