A City of White Rock public-works crew inspects the city’s Semiahmoo Park pump station Wednesday

A City of White Rock public-works crew inspects the city’s Semiahmoo Park pump station Wednesday

United front as storm bears down

City of White Rock, Semiahmoo First Nation put conflict aside ‘in spirit of emergency preparedness’

Word that a series of storms would be bearing down on the West Coast this week led Semiahmoo First Nation to temporarily set aside its differences with the City of White Rock so workers could ensure the city’s pump station was ready for the inclement weather.

SFN councillor Joanne Charles said the city’s director of municipal operations, Greg St.  Louis, requested access to the pump, located in Semiahmoo Park, on Tuesday.

“The request that they had was to do an inspection of their pump chamber and the pump and the mechanics of it working, to ensure it would be operable with regard to the storm coming in,” Charles said, noting area flooding is a concern. “In the spirit of emergency preparedness, the Semiahmoo provided access today, provided that they paid for access… to check the equipment out.”

Charles and St. Louis toured the site while the work was conducted Wednesday. She said she reiterated her request for both councils to meet.

Charles told Peace Arch News last month that  tensions between the band and city earlier this year over the provision of water and sanitary-sewer services led the band to refuse the city access to the pump since early June.

The city gave formal notice to the First Nation in late August advising that it would “terminate existing water and sanitary-sewer service to the reserve within… 18 months,” however Mayor Wayne Baldwin told PAN that this is one “possible outcome” if the city and First Nation don’t come to an agreement.

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