SHOAL LAKE, ONT. — A joint venture (JV) involving Shoal Lake 40 Contractors LP and Sigfusson Northern Ltd. has been named the winning bidder in a competition to earn the right to construct a new water and wastewater system for Shoal Lake First Nation in northwestern Ontario. Indigenous Services Canada is contributing $33 million for the project, which includes construction of a water treatment plant, reservoir, raw water intake structure and lift station as well as the installation of watermain connections and fire hydrants, stated a Sept. 6 release.
In Canada's largest city, raw sewage flows into Lake Ontario so often, Toronto tells people they should never swim off the city's beaches for least two days after it rains. Across the country in Mission, B.C., a three-decade-old pipe that carries sewage under the Fraser River to a treatment plant in Abbotsford is so loaded operators can't even slip a camera inside it to look for damage. If that pipe bursts, it will dump 11 million litres of putrid water from area homes and businesses into a critical salmon habitat every day it isn't fixed.
It's been one month since Attawapiskat First Nation declared a state of emergency over its poor water quality. The measure was taken in the northern Ontario community due to high levels of trihalomethane (THMs) and haloacetic acids (HAAs) in the water the residents use for bathing and cooking. The fly-in community has a separate system for its drinking water.
Eabametoong First Nation, an Ojibway community that sits about 360 kilometres north of Thunder Bay, passed a band council resolution declaring a state of emergency Friday after water test results showed levels of trihalomethanes (THMs) between 122 to 182 per cent above Health Canada safety standards.
Yesno said residents are also reporting a foul smell coming from the community's tap water.
A non-profit group is working with a First Nation community in northeastern Ontario to become citizen scientists. Swim Drink Fish, with funding from Environment Canada, is continuing to set up citizen science water monitoring hubs. The group is now working with Zhiibaahaasing First Nation, located at the western end of Manitoulin Island on the northshore of Lake Huron. "We're trying to build a community of people around the Great Lakes who are working for swimmable, drinkable and fishable water," Mark Mattson, president of Swim Drink Fish said.
The taps to Winnipeg's drinking water were first turned on in April 1919, but as the city celebrated its engineering feat and raised glasses of that clear liquid, another community's fortunes suddenly turned dark. Construction of a new aqueduct plunged Shoal Lake 40 into a forced isolation that it is only now emerging from, 100 years after Winnipeg's politicians locked their sights on the water that cradles the First Nation at the Manitoba–Ontario border. "The price that our community has paid for one community to benefit from that resource, it's just mind-boggling," said Shoal Lake 40 Chief Erwin Redsky.
As of Wednesday morning, water levels on Lake Ontario at Cobourg exceeded those seen in the historic 2017 flood. According to Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the water level at Cobourg is 75.92 metres above sea level. At its highest in 2017, the level was 75.88 metres above sea level. “We’re approximately 40 centimetres above normal,” Cobourg Mayor John Henderson said. “With the rain we got this week, I expect that 40 centimetres will be higher, approaching 60 centimetres.”
Some Calgary business owners are teaming up to help flood victims in the Ottawa-Gatineau region. "Absolutely not kidding. Brought a tear to my eye, absolutely devastating," is how Terry Rawn describes the situation in Rhoddy's Bay, outside of Ottawa. The region has been hit hard by spring flooding in the Ottawa valley — more than 5,000 homes flooded last month.
Dozens of people in the Township of Whitewater Region have been forced from their homes as water levels on the Ottawa River peaked this weekend. The Renfrew County, Ont., township is about 140 kilometres northwest of downtown Ottawa, and includes nearly 90 kilometres of shoreline. About 100 homes have been affected by flooding, Mayor Michael Moore said Sunday.
Rising flood levels led the city to recommend people leave 300 homes in the Constance Bay neighbourhood of Ottawa Tuesday night. The city closed Bayview Drive and power was cut to many of those homes. People there are being encouraged by the city to check in at the Constance and Buckham's Bay Community Centre at 262 Leo Purcell Drive.
A large swath of Ontario is struggling to stay above water as heavy Friday rainfall exacerbates flood concerns in multiple regions. Heavy rain started in Toronto and much of southern Ontario in the morning and stretched through the afternoon. Some areas could see the rain change to flurries overnight. While Torontonians merely needed to pack an umbrella, residents about 150 kilometres north, in the towns of Bracebridge and Huntsville, are grappling with a more dangerous situation.
Environment Canada has decided not to lay charges against Vale for potentially dangerous run-off leaking from its Sudbury slag piles. But the mining company is currently installing a new system for controlling the slag seepage, work it says is unrelated to the government investigation. Environment Canada refused an interview with CBC, but said in a statement that it began investigating contaminated water coming from the Sudbury slag pile after a complaint from the public in 2012.
Ontario's government is working to protect what matters most by identifying priorities for action to help protect the water quality and ecosystems of the Great Lakes and other waterways as part of its commitment in the Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan. Today, Rod Phillips, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks and Grand Council Chief Glen Hare co-chaired the Great Lakes Guardian Council, which includes leaders from across Ontario including municipalities, First Nations and Métis communities, environmental organizations, and the science community, to discuss challenges and opportunities around the Great Lakes.
Water is something most Canadians take for granted. We have so much of it, it's no wonder. Per capita, our country has the world's third-largest freshwater reserves, but yet in many Indigenous communities, water can be difficult to access, at-risk because of unreliable treatment systems, or contaminated. That's the case in Delaware First Nation, an Indigenous community of about 500 people an hour southwest of London, Ont., a place where fishing was everything 60 years ago.
In 2016, town council approved an average increase of 53 per cent to the water and sewer rates. About 900 addresses within town limits — homes that are required to be connected to the municipal water system — were hit by the rate surge. The increase was an unpopular move. In Bancroft, incomes average $33,460, which is about 30 per cent lower than the provincial average of $47,915.
Green Party of Ontario Leader Mike Schreiner will table his first ever private member's bill Wednesday. In it, he asks the province to protect a drinking water source for Guelph, Wellington county and Waterloo region. It's the first bill introduced by the party in the provincial legislature. "For decades the people of Guelph have shown the province how to responsibly use water and what it means to defend water against private interests. Now, climate change and sprawl are putting even more strain on our water supply, so we must take action to protect what's left," Schreiner said in a release prior to tabling the bill Wednesday.
The proposed law would allow municipalities, with the approval of the minister, to sidestep environmental laws, such as drinking water source protection. Doherty thinks the bill would also reduce transparency in government by letting councils get rid of public consultation and eliminating the public’s right to appeal municipal decisions.
Regional councillors do not support planning changes proposed under Bill 66 and will be sending that message to the province about it. During the planning and works committee meeting on Tuesday morning, councillors voted on a staff recommendation to tell the province the region does not support proposed amendments to the Planning Act as set out in Bill 66, the Restoring Ontario's Competitiveness Act, because "it fails to adequately protect human health and safety and in particular the safety of the Region of Waterloo's drinking water resources."
The agency responsible for inspecting elevators, pipelines, furnaces and ski lifts in Ontario is failing to meet its mandate to protect public safety, warns the province's auditor general in a new report. Auditor general Bonnie Lysyk says the Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA) is doing little to address real safety risks in its areas of responsibility.