SFN Chief Harley Chappell (centre) speaks at the March 2019 groundbreaking for the infrastructure work. (File photo)

Semiahmoo First Nation to have potable water ‘for sure’ by summer

Chief Harley Chappell attributes six-month delay to unforeseen circumstances

Semiahmoo First Nation members still don’t have that first connection to potable water, but their leader says the “historic” moment will happen “for sure” by summer.

“We were hoping to be done at Christmastime,” Chief Harley Chappell said Tuesday, of work that began nearly a year ago.

“That was delayed. Then we said, maybe February, March. Now we’re looking at May, June to be hooked up to municipal services. So this one-year project turned into a year-and-a-half project.

“It’s fine,” he added. “Waiting 100 years for water, we can wait an extra six months.”

The SFN has been under a boil-water advisory since 2005 (and on and off since 1996). For the advisory to be lifted, all residences on the reserve must be connected, band councillor Joanne Charles told Peace Arch News, following a groundbreaking event last year on work to install the necessary infrastructure for drinking water and fire-suppression.

Planning, design and more for the project had been underway “for years,” but 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.”

The work underway now – which includes installation of more than two kilometres of pipe – began last March, after servicing agreements were signed with the City of Surrey the previous summer.

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

READ MORE: ‘Lifetime’ without potable water to end

The $10 million project is funded by Indigenous Services Canada, and includes sanitary sewer.

Chappell attributed delays in its progress to winter weather, the ordering of a specific piece of pump-station equipment and “unforeseen circumstances” concerning remediation of Beach Road. Still, the work is “hustling along really well,” he said Tuesday.

“We’re close, we’re very, very close,” Chappell told PAN. “We’re waiting on one pump station and once our pump station’s complete – and that’ll probably be end of February, March, then we’re starting to do all the tie-ins to the homes.”

The delays did not impact costs, he said, explaining the potential was acknowledged in the project contract.

“We covered our bases, and were expecting some issues,” Chappell said.

“It’s the only project that’s ever happened on Semiahmoo lands. We even said… we don’t know what’s going to happen when we break this road open, because from our involvement with it, we never have.”



tholmes@peacearchnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Semiahmoo First Nation Chief Harley Chappell and then-Surrey mayor Linda Hepner sign servicing agreements to provide the band with safe drinking water and sanitary sewer connections. (File photo)

Just Posted

UPDATE: Work on Massey Tunnel replacement on hold after snap election called

The business case for the new crossing was expected to be completed this fall

Horgan’s election call ‘nakedly opportunistic,’ political scientist says

Premier says campaign will ‘fully comply’ with public health directions

Dozens of Canadian venues to light up red in support of entertainment workers

Local facilities among dozens across Canada to participate in Light Up Live

Canada West Golf Championships cancelled due to COVID-19 travel restrictions

UBC, UBC-O, UFV and UVic athletes will not hit the links this year, Kelowna was set to host

CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of Sept. 20

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

B.C. reports 96 new COVID-19 cases, one hospital outbreak

61 people in hospital as summer ends with election

‘Unprecedented’ coalition demands end to B.C. salmon farms

First Nations, commercial fishermen among group calling for action on Cohen recommendations

Earthquake off coast of Washington recorded at 4.1 magnitude

The quake was recorded at a depth of 10 kilometres

B.C.’s top doctor says she’s received abuse, death threats during COVID-19 response

Henry has become a national figure during her time leading B.C.’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic

BC Liberals must change gears from election cynicism, focus on the issues: UBC professors

COVID-19 response and recovery is likely to dominate platforms

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C. could be without a new leader for multiple weeks after Election Day: officials

More than 20K mail-in voting packages were requested within a day of B.C. election being called

Vancouver Island sailor stranded in U.S. hospital after suffering massive stroke at sea

Oak Bay man was attempting to circumnavigate the world solo

Majority needed to pass COVID-19 budget, B.C. premier says

John Horgan pushes urgent care centres in first campaign stop

Most Read