A ceremony was held Wednesday morning, on September 23, to mark the start of construction of the new Water Treatment Plant (WTP) and distribution system. The ceremony was attended by community members, Chief Nadjiwon, Councillors, and Water Treatment staff. Water Treatment Manager Fred Dubeau was instrumental in organizing the ceremony.
Paul Nadjiwon led the prayers, offerings and drumming. The ceremony in portions spoke to the Thunderbird that resides in our area, to the manidoog of the land that will be disturbed to put in the new road and WTP, and to the water spirit in the Bay. Representatives of the firms contracted to assess, design and build the WTP and distribution system also attended the ceremony and were pleased to be part of such an important part of our unique development process.
Construction of the new road to the build site will begin in the next week. Access to safe drinking water is a basic human right. While First Nations across Canada struggle with their water supply, clean, fresh water from the tap is often taken for granted by urban, non-Indigenous Canadians. When our new WTP is completed, it will open a new chapter for Neyaashiinigmiing, in which residents will enjoy piped, potable water without the anxiety, inconvenience, and health concerns associated with chronic boil water advisories.