Debbie Anderson – a resident of the Semiahmoo First Nation reserve – estimates half of those who call the reserve home don’t have running water.

Semiahmoo First Nation appeals to Surrey for water

SFN band councillor Joanne Charles said "an emergency connection to (Surrey’s) water supply and sanitary sewer” has been requested

The Semiahmoo First Nation could connect to Surrey’s water supply within a year, city staff confirmed Wednesday.

But they would “absolutely” need extensive infrastructure upgrades to do it, and that, said utilities manager Jeff Arason, will not come cheap.

He said a consultant hired by the band estimated the work needed would cost “in excess of millions of dollars.”

“We just received the final report a few weeks ago, we are reviewing it now,” Arason said. “It’s technically feasible to connect to our system.”

SFN band councillor Joanne Charles said she and Chief Willard Cook appeared before the city’s transportation and infrastructure committee Monday “to request an emergency connection to (Surrey’s) water supply and sanitary sewer.”

The delegation was booked after the band received notice from the City of White Rock that the city’s water supply to the reserve would be terminated “within… 18 months” – and Semiahmoo research indicated it typically takes up to three years to secure a new supply.

Mayor Wayne Baldwin, however, responded to the news release, telling Peace Arch News the termination was a “possible outcome… if we can’t come to some sort of negotiated agreement (surrounding the provision of services) that makes sense.”

A sticking point has been the city-owned pump station located on band land near Stayte Road. The band wants it removed, and Baldwin said the city is prepared to do so – but, “we’re saying if we’re going to spend millions of dollars, there should be some sort of return.”

If the White Rock water supply is cut off, the move would not impact all residents of the reserve, as many have been living without water and sanitary-sewer connections for years.

Debbie Anderson – a member of the Tla’amin First Nation who has lived on the Semiahmoo reserve for three years – said the supply stops around the 16300-block of Beach Road, around 100 metres west of the house she shares with Darren Dolan.

She and Dolan, who has lived his entire life on the reserve, pay to have water that they can use for showering, laundry and the like trucked in. As well, they buy bottled water for drinking and cooking.

She estimated that half of reserve residents are living under the same conditions.

Those on the existing water supply have been under a permanent boil-water advisory since 2005.

Charles said the feasibility study had been underway prior to the termination notice, exploring the costs of connecting Beach Road residents to either a White Rock or Surrey supply. She said estimates of in excess of $8 million “doesn’t take into consideration all the needs that we have.”

But first, “I have to find a water supply… It’s going to be a lot of hard work that we need to get through and time is of the essence,” she said.

“White Rock hasn’t responded to our requests for meetings for months. For us, we just need to move forward.”

Arason said staff have been asked to report back on “opportunities and challenges” in servicing the entire reserve. That report is hoped to be ready for the next meeting, set for Oct. 17.

Regarding infrastructure, Arason said the reserve is currently serviced through one connection point with White Rock’s system, and the size of that pipe decreases as it extends into the reserve.

“To service all the customers, they would need a new piping system,” he said.

For a fire-protection supply, “they would need to completely replace all of their pipes because they’re just not large enough.”

While Surrey currently services one reserve customer, the duty free shop further south, Arason said any further connection to the reserve would likely be from 8 Avenue.

 

Just Posted

Surrey RCMP looking for missing 17-year-old girl

Police say Rachel Friend was last seen at 4:30 p.m. on Nov. 19, near the 14900-block of 81A Avenue

Three-team trade brings another goalie into Surrey Eagles’ nest

BCHL team ships Chase Stevenson to Trail and acquires blue-liner, goalie

McCallum promises taxes won’t rise in Surrey: ‘That’s set in stone’

Surrey mayor says free parking, a municipal force and other campaign promises won’t mean a tax hike

Surrey council approves free two-hour parking at city hall, around hospital

Although council gave its blessing to offer the free parking Monday (Nov. 19), it was already made free last week

Surrey School District says it needs 7 new schools in next decade

Surrey council endorsed the district’s 2019-20 capital plan on Monday, Nov. 19

VIDEO: Shoppers like self-checkout lanes at the grocery store, survey suggests

Grocery Experience National Survey Report suggests most grocery shoppers spend 32 minutes per visit

No deal in sight: Canada Post warns of delivery delays into January

Union holds fifth week of rotating strikes as both sides remain apart on contract negotiations

COLUMN: Higher interest rates will slow B.C. economy after ‘unusually robust’ show

Jock Finlayson is executive vice president and chief policy officer of the Business Council of BC

Jason Aldean, Old Dominion to headline Merritt’s Rockin’ River concerts next summer

Four-day music festival at Coldwater River from Aug. 1 to 4

Police looking into two more incidents at private Toronto all-boys’ school

Police and the school have said two of the prior incidents involved an alleged sexual assault

5 to start your day

Body found in Maple Ridge ID’ed as Hells Angel, Japanese ‘rising sun’ flag gone from Langley classroom and more

Bovine tuberculosis found in cow on southern B.C. farm

CFIA said the disease was found during slaughter and they are investigating

Air force getting more planes but has no one to fly them, auditor warns

The report follows several years of criticism over the Trudeau government’s decision not to launch an immediate competition to replace the CF-18s.

B.C.’s Esi Edugyan wins $100K Giller prize for Washington Black

Edugyan won her first Scotiabank Giller Prize in 2011 for Half-Blood Blues

Most Read

l -->