HAZELTON, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Aug. 17, 2012) - The Honourable John Duncan, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, today congratulated the Gitanmaax Band and Village of Hazelton on completion of upgrades to their water treatment system.
"Our Government is committed to working in partnership with First Nations to ensure that communities have access to safe, clean and reliable water," said Minister Duncan. "This project demonstrates the power of partnerships to help us make advances in the quality of life of First Nation people."
"The improvements to the water treatment plant are not only important for the health of our communities but will also support future growth," said Chief Councilor Julie Morrison. "We feel very fortunate to have such a strong relationship with the Village of Hazelton and to continue to work with them on projects such as this. We would also like to thank the Government of Canada for its contributions to this project and for providing ongoing funding for operator training which helps ensure our plants are effectively operated."
"As a result of these upgrades, we can be confident in the quality and quantity of our water supply," said Hazelton Mayor Alice Maitland. "The Village of Hazelton is thankful for the spirit of cooperation that prevails between our two communities and we realize that by working together we are able to benefit from more and better services than either of us could provide alone. We'd also like to thank AANDC for honoring this spirit of community and lending their expertise and experience to turn projects like this into reality."
The project was made possible through $2.9 million provided by Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada under the First Nations Water and Wastewater Action Plan, a $150,000 investment by the First Nation and $820,000 from the Village of Hazelton, in part through a grant from the Province of British Columbia.
Upgrades to the water treatment plant will improve service to homes in both communities and facilities including schools, community halls and the hospital. The project included the installation of equipment to improve water quality and to increase the capacity of the plant. A new pre-treatment system will help reduce maintenance and lower operating costs.
The communities, which are located in northwestern British Columbia at the confluence of the Skeena and Bulkley rivers, have a history of cooperation, sharing a number of other services like water storage and distribution, community sanitary collection and treatment systems, and a disposal facility.
The Harper Government is taking action to improve the lives of First Nations and to stimulate economic growth in First Nation communities through targeted infrastructure investments. Between 2006 and 2014, the Harper Government will invest approximately $3 billion in water and wastewater facilities in First Nations communities.
This release is also available on the Internet at www.aandc.gc.ca.
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