Group hopes to get lo­cals think­ing on dis­par­ity, re­spon­si­bil­ity

Metro Canada (Winnipeg) - - FRONT PAGE - SHANE GIBSON/METRO

Althea Gui­boche and her daugh­ters Ara­lyn, 5, right, and Jax­tynne, 3, were among a hand­ful of pro­test­ers hand­ing out bot­tled wa­ter in down­town Win­nipeg on Thurs­day to bring aware­ness to the length of time Shoal Lake No. 40 has been un­der a boil-wa­ter ad­vi­sory.

A group is us­ing Win­nipeg’s boil-wa­ter ad­vi­sory to high­light the on­go­ing strug­gles of the First Na­tion that sup­plies the city with its drink­ing wa­ter.

Shoal Lake 40 First Na­tion, which sends wa­ter to Win­nipeg through an aqueduct, has been un­der a boil-wa­ter ad­vi­sory for 17 years. Chuck Wright said it’s time Win­nipeg res­i­dents learned more about the cost of their drink­ing wa­ter.

“I re­ally hope that the in­con­ve­nience of only a day and a half of an E. coli scare ... will cre­ate more em­pa­thy for the many, many First Na­tions ... that have been un­der boil­wa­ter ad­vi­sories and with­out ad­e­quate drink­ing wa­ter for so many years,” he said.

Wright and a few oth­ers handed out wa­ter bot­tles plas­tered with the la­bel “Boil Wa­ter Ad­vi­sory Day Count — Win­nipeg: 1.5, Shoal Lake 40: 6,205+” on Thurs­day in down­town Win­nipeg to raise aware­ness about the re­serve.

Win­nipeg’s boil ad­vi­sory was is­sued on Tues­day af­ter rou­tine testing found co­l­iform and E. coli at ex­tremely low lev­els in six of 39 wa­ter sam­ples. The ad­vi­sory was lifted Thurs­day af­ter­noon af­ter sec­ondary tests came back neg­a­tive.

Shoal Lake, on the On­tario-Man­i­toba bound­ary, was flooded and es­sen­tially made into an is­land so Win­nipeg could tap its wa­ter. For years, the com­mu­nity has lived un­der a boil-wa­ter ad­vi­sory while call­ing for the con­struc­tion of an all-weather road.

“While clean drink­ing wa­ter is still ... in the public mind, we wanted to come out and re­mind Win­nipeg­gers of this dis­par­ity,” Wright said. “We hope ... peo­ple will con­tem­plate more where their wa­ter comes from and what our re­spon­si­bil­ity is through our re­la­tion­ship to Shoal Lake 40 First Na­tion.”


Stéphane Doucet holds out one of the bot­tles of wa­ter he and oth­ers handed out in down­town Win­nipeg on Thurs­day to raise aware­ness about Shoal Lake 40’s boil- wa­ter ad­vi­sory, which has been on­go­ing for 17 years.

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