Whitefish River First Nation gets green light for water tower

The old water tower looms large over the community of Whitefish River First Nation. photo by Erik Anderson

WHITEFISH RIVER FIRST NATION—Whitefish River First Nation (WRFN) has received final approval and $3 million in funding from Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) to build a new water tower.

“We got the letter from INAC last week approving the project, a new elevated water storage reservoir, and financial contribution,” said WRFN Chief Franklin Paibomsai. “The letter means that the project has cleared all government requirements such as feasibility, environment and will be funded by INAC.”

Chief Paibomsai said that the $2,981,003 project will be going for public tendering on August 24 and closing on September 14, with an estimated project completion date of October or November of 2018.

“The existing tower didn’t meet the community requirements,” explained the chief, who noted that the current tower was built in the 1990s. “This project fits within our 20-year capital plan and is something that we have been working towards since 2007. The current tower was limiting our community’s ability to grow. It wasn’t easy, but our council kept working towards this and we are happy that this project has been approved. This is good news for our community.”

The community of WRFN will have the opportunity to engage in the new project, with future talks to take place about the appearance of the new water tower.

“We will talk to the community, see what they want in terms of colouring and wording,” said Chief Paibomsai.