Construction has started on a new raw water intake and treatment plant for Biigtigong Nishnaabeg (Pic River First Nation) on the north shore of Lake Superior.
A March 17 news release from Chief Duncan Michano and Patty Hajdu, federal Minister of Indigenous Services, celebrated the start of construction of the $58-million plant, expected to be operational in November 2024.
A joint community and federal government project, the plant will provide drinking water for more than 168 homes, the administration office, schools, teacher accommodations, health centre, community centre and daycare.
The release said initial construction began late last year when the contract was awarded to Biigtigong Nishnaabeg.
The community of 1,279 people – including 530 living on reserve – is located on the Pic River, near south Heron Bay. The Town of Marathon is a neighbouring community.
“Although Biigtigong Nishnaabeg has never been under a long-term or short-term drinking water advisory, this plant was developed as a proactive measure to safeguard community drinking water in the future,” said the release.
"Biigtigong Nishnaabeg is very pleased to see the beginning stages of our water project come to life,” said Michano in a statement. “This project is critical in meeting the needs of our community to supply clean, reliable drinking water. It is also essential infrastructure for the future growth of our community. This project has allowed our community to secure a basic need for many generations to come."
"Part of keeping water safe and healthy in communities is repairing and replacing infrastructure as it ages,” added Hajdu. “With a new water intake and treatment plant now under construction, Biigtigong Nishnaabeg can continue to ensure their community will have access to clean water now, and into the future. “