After being on a boil water advisory for as long as he can remember, Chief Francis Laceese and members of the Toosey First Nation have a brand new water treatment system.
On Monday the community marked the milestone with a community celebration.
“It seems like we have been on boiled water forever,” Chief Francis Laceese told the Tribune beforehand.
The community’s water comes from an underground spring and is fine, but it is a “little” high in manganese, Laceese said.
“Once it gets into the water system the manganese builds up then if any bacteria is present it clings to the bacteria. Having a water treatment system will remedy that.”
The band considered getting a water treatment or using reverse osmosis and eventually chose treatment, he added.
To complete the project the band hired Bree Contracting Ltd. and TRUE Consulting and received funding from the First Nations Health Authority to put on the celebration.
Laceese said when was younger he used to pack water to his home from Riske Creek which flows through the community.
“Slowly they upgraded it and now we are where we are today,” he said. “The treatment plant is important for our people as we move forward. In many ways it will be easier for our membership and for the future because we can maintain our good water source.”
Health director Teresa Johnny helped plan Monday’s celebration and said she designed aqua blue coloured T-shirts to hand out during the event.
She had also arranged for speakers, she said, noting drug and alcohol counsellor Patrick Lulua was expected to do the opening prayer and Coun. Gina Johnny, along with youth members Dakota Diablo and Peyal Gilpin were to drum.
“It’s such an exciting time for us to have this,” Johnny said of the treatment system. “We have had to pay for bottled water for quite a few years.”
Around 150 people live at Toosey, Laceese said.
“Water is a big issue, not just for us in our community but for everybody,” Laceese said. “It is valuable for our survival and always has been, not just our drinking water but all the water that surrounds us in our lakes and rivers.”