Chief Clifford Lebrun of the Lhatko Dene Nation asked council for their support in a request for a connection to the city’s water supply.
Chief Lebrun wrote a proposal to the city of Quesnel, which he presented at last Monday’s meeting.
In the proposal, Chief Lebrun mentioned the need for 21 total water connections in the Lhtako Nation, including 19 housing units and a band office and small community hall.
“We have eight serviced lots ready for future development,” the proposal explained.
“The current water infrastructure consists of a community well and water tower with a distribution system and fire hydrants.”
The Lhtako Dene Nation has been battling water conditions which they have found to be of some concern.
“The water source at the Lhtako Dene Nation has been a concern for several decades and is tested on a regular basis,” the proposal said.
“The community goes through several periods of boil water advisory each year and the community has been on a bottled water only advisory from time to time.”
Lebrun told council the Lhtako Nation has ranked in the top 10 percentile on the priority list to fund
and address the health concerns.
Lebrun said there have been different options discussed by their engineers, the Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development (AANDC), council administrators and council representatives, with the most favoured option being the integration of the Lhtako Nation into the Quesnel water system.
“AANDC have had band engineers carry out feasability studies providing options to address the water quality concerns and providing for at least three options,” the proposal explained.
“The most feasible option to AANDC and the Lhtako Dene First Nation is the connection and long term supply from the city of Quesnel.”
The reason this option has been the favourite is because it requires minimal constructions, seeing as Quesnel already has the infrastructure in place as well as the testing system and staff.
“Since Quesnel already has the entire system in place, the option to linking to Quesnel’s system makes the most sense,” Lebrun said.
Linking to the Quesnel water system would also alleviate safety concerns for the Lhtako Dene Nation.
“The supple of safe, clean water and expertise equipment and infrastructure to support and maintain the water supply is assured,” the proposal said.
Lebrun said these types of discussions to have the Lhtako Dene Nation connect their water supply to Quesnel’s has been
going on for seven years without any sort of real progress.
He explained the last seven years have seen council member changes on both sides which has hindered the discussion.
“In past meetings and discussions, we have lost focus on the simple outcome we are trying to accomplish and have lost ourselves in discussions over who should be paying for what, if this project was to proceed,” the proposal explained.
Lebrun made it clear he wasn’t asking council to cover costs associated with the connection of the Lhtako Dene Nation to the Quesnel water system.
“We are not asking you to pay for the connection or infrastructure costs or even to provide the water free of cost, “ the proposal explained.
“AANDC are prepared to cover the capital costs for the installation of the water line extension to connect to the band water system.”
City manager Byron Johnson mentioned a report the city is working on, which highlights areas in the city which aren’t currently serviced with water.
Check your Observer for updates.