INAC representatives meet with Potlotek chief to address water crisis
Published Thursday, September 14, 2017 9:35PM ADT
Representatives from Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) were on Potlotek First Nation Thursday to meet with the reserve’s chief to try and solve the dirty water crisis plaguing the community.
The meeting comes after Chief Wilbert Marshall hired an independent company from Ireland on his own dime to investigate why discoloured water continues to pour into the reserve’s treatment facility.
Marshall says he drank the water Thursday and it tasted and smelled fine.
"I drank it myself and I'm still here,” he says. “It was crystal clear. Even with the added chlorine, it was still clear."
Despite the improvement, the Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nation Chiefs is speaking out in frustration.
"It's just horrible in this day and age, for a family living in 2017, not having the ability to have safe drinking water, to have a shower, or even to wash your dishes and clothes," says Atlantic Policy Congress member John Paul.
Area MP Rodger Cuzner says there appears to be two long-term options. One would be continuing to use the current water source, and the other is switching to a so-called “second lake” located on the other side of the community.
"The current lake has so many things going against it,” says Marshall. “You have a highway going through it. You have houses all the way around it, and you have drainage from all over."
While some residents are optimistic, others are simply fed up and are demanding a fix once and for all.
"Sometimes my skin itches. The water makes me nervous," says resident Mary Anne Marshall.
"We need good water. We need water. Period," says resident Bernadette Marshall.
Officials are now waiting for a shipment of limestone to help cut down on levels of iron and manganese. That’s expected to arrive Friday.
Chief Marshall says he will meet with INAC again next week.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Ryan MacDonald.