SHOAL LAKE, ONT. — A joint venture (JV) involving Shoal Lake 40 Contractors LP and Sigfusson Northern Ltd. has been named the winning bidder in a competition to earn the right to construct a new water and wastewater system for Shoal Lake First Nation in northwestern Ontario.
Indigenous Services Canada is contributing $33 million for the project, which includes construction of a water treatment plant, reservoir, raw water intake structure and lift station as well as the installation of watermain connections and fire hydrants, stated a Sept. 6 release.
Construction of the new system is anticipated to be completed by December 2020, ending a series of long-term drinking water advisories that has been in place since February 1997.
Shoal Lake 40 is located along the Ontario-Manitoba border 55 kilometres west of Kenora.
It’s the second major infrastructure project to be planned for Shoal Lake.
Freedom Road, which opened June 3, 2019, provides residents with year-round access to the TransCanada Highway.
Shoal Lake is the water supply source for the City of Winnipeg. Until the recent completion of Freedom Road, Shoal Lake 40’s access to the mainland was cut off for 100 years by Winnipeg’s water infrastructure located on the reserve.
The First Nation has a total population of 653, of whom 292 live on the reserve.
“Our commitment to clean, reliable drinking water for First Nations across Canada is unwavering, and we remain on target towards our goal of lifting all long-term drinking water advisories on public systems by 2021, with 87 long-term drinking water advisories lifted and 56 remaining,” said federal Minister of Indigenous Services Seamus O’Regan in the statement.
“To continue this momentum, we invested $605.6 million from Budget 2019 to support water and wastewater infrastructure in First Nations communities, because everyone deserves to have access to safe, clean drinking water.”