While Semiahmoo First Nation Chief Harley Chappell extends thanks, SFN band councillor Joanne Charles pins a ‘love offering’ blanket on Indigenous Services Canada’s Wendy Cheney, as part of Friday’s groundbreaking event. (Tracy Holmes photo)

‘Beginning of a new era’ as Semiahmoo First Nation breaks ground for water, sewer

Long-awaited infrastructure gets underway

Officials from multiple levels of government gathered on Semiahmoo First Nation land Friday afternoon for a groundbreaking event celebrating the start of long-awaited water and sewer infrastructure.

Chief Harley Chappell and council were joined by representatives from the City of Surrey and City of White Rock, Indigenous Services Canada, Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, Tybo Contracting and more.

The event, which included the presentation of blankets to various officials, as a symbol of thanks, marked “a very momentous, historic day for the Semiahmoo,” Chappell said.

“It’s a new era for our community to start moving forward,” he said.

Chappell told Peace Arch News last month that it could be nearly Christmas before the first connection to potable water would be in place on the Semiahmoo First Nation reserve.

READ MORE: SFN infrastructure expected ‘in the blink of an eye’

While pre-work for the project began in early February, planning, design and more for the infrastructure has been underway “for years.”

It took on a particular urgency following the City of White Rock’s August 2016 notice to the band that their water supply would be terminated “within… 18 months.”

Much has happened in the years since, including the SFN learning in June 2017 that their community was to be among 33 to receive federal funding – $338,000 – to assist with water infrastructure, and, early last summer, the signing of “historic” servicing agreements with the City of Surrey for water and sanitary sewer.

More to come…

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