The federal government has committed $1.469 million for a 3.3-kilometre sewage expansion project on the Tseshaht First Nation reserve, ending at Tseshaht Market.
Minister of Aboriginal Affairs Bernard Valcourt made the announcement Wednesday morning.
The expansion will link to the Santu housing development along the way.
Also committing capital funds to the project is the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council. President Debra Foxcroft said NTC will provide $629,000 to the initiative.
This is about building strong and healthy communities because they are the foundation of economic development, growth and long-term prosperity, Valcourt said. He added that the federal government remains committed to investing in such infrastructure projects to ensure that First Nations have access to safe water and wastewater facilities.
Tseshaht Chief Council Hugh Braker said his community is excited about the opportunities that will be created by the expansion.
“For Tseshaht, this is a very important day. This is a day that is going to benefit the future of the Tseshaht people and I believe the future of everyone in the Alberni Valley. The economic spinoff from the development to this sewer line will benefit all of the regional district.”
The chief engineering firm for this project is located in the City of Port Alberni and the jobs from the project will come from that engineering firm, said Braker. While some subcontractors and contractors hired will be Tseshaht, some will not.
“The benefits to the community are going to be far reaching and very, very positive,” Braker said.
Port Alberni Mayor John Douglas was on hand for the announcement. It’s important to have these types of facilities, he said, and the potential is not just for the growth of the population, but also the economic growth that is set to occur in the region over the next century.
“For Tseshaht, this opens a whole new door for us,” said Braker. “The Tseshaht Market, where the sewer line will end, currently employs over 30 people. It contributes over 30 jobs to the economy in the Alberni Valley.
“We believe that the sewer extension is going to expand that and that more jobs are going to be created in what is becoming a business area for this First Nation.
* Debora Steel is HaShilthSa editor.