Penticton Indian Band councillors and administration staff and a representative for the federal government watch as Chief Chad Eneas (left) and Westhills Aggregates general manager Gregor Burton take a symbolic first dig at the ground for a groundbreaking ceremony for a $3-million waterline replacement project. Dustin Godfrey/Western News

Penticton Indian Band’s waterline project to improve health issues: chief

Construction set to begin within 2 weeks on decades-old line with asbestos in areas of the system

Replacement of a decades-old waterline on the Penticton Indian Band reserve will begin within a couple of weeks, modernizing a system that has had issues with asbestos and E. coli.

“Over the last 30 years, there’s been a number of projects to provide clean, safe drinking water for our members,” Chief Chad Eneas said.

PIB chief and council awarded a $3-million contract, funded in full by the federal government, to PIB-run Westhills Aggregates, with a ceremonial contract signing and groundbreaking Tuesday morning.

Related: Penticton Indian Band holding groundbreaking for waterline project

“Sixty-five per cent of our employees are members of the PIB community, and it’s really an honour for them to come in and work and better their community and provide this important infrastructure,” said Gregor Burton, Westhills Aggregates general manager.

The current project won’t replace the entire system, but will replace the water system in the reserve’s upper and lower villages’ water lines. Currently, the waterline has a variety of qualities in different areas, Eneas said.

“Over the years, what we were provided, the information, is that some of the pipe actually has asbestos in it, and some improper tie-ins that just totally create challenges when repairs are needed or if there’s a break in the line, so it definitely causes a health and safety concern for us,” he said.

“We’ve also received reports of some E. coli contamination as a result of the breaks, or the improper tie-ins to the line, so definitely there were some concerns.”

Related: Penticton Indian Band hopes B.C. housing funds will bring members home

Coun. Joan Phillip added that the replacement will be important to the reserve because the current waterline did not have digital mapping for the locations of the pipes, the new system will

“I’m just pleased at this time that we’re also able to engage our natural resources department and a couple of staff will be trained in GIS (geographic information system) and GPS mapping of this infrastructure, because in prior years, sometimes it was a hit and miss. We weren’t sure where the line was because it wasn’t digitized,” Phillip said.

“This is really going to provide enhanced response to any emergencies related to the waterline itself with the mapping of this project,” Eneas added.

Tabitha Eneas, housing manager for the PIB, said the original waterline were built several decades ago.

“It’s going back to ’50s, ’60s kind of thing, when some of our first homes were built out here, so they’re quite significantly old,” she said.

The band has other infrastructure needs, Chief Eneas said, with some talks in the works other potential projects, but none has yet come to a point of seeing any deals brokered. That includes “a number of projects” submitted to the federal government, but the annual budget for the band is limited, he said.

“It has been a priority, and it will continue to be a priority to get housing for our members.”

Report a typo or send us your tips, photos and video.

Dustin Godfrey | Reporter

@dustinrgodfrey

Send Dustin an email.
Like the Western News on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.

 

Penticton Indian Band councillors and Chief Chad Eneas (right) listen in as Westhills Aggregates general manager Gregor Burton speaks on the newly signed $3-million deal to replace a significant portion of the reserve’s waterline. Dustin Godfrey/Western News

Just Posted

BC SPCA investigates Okanagan woman with prior animal abuse convictions

BC SPCA is investigating a property near Vernon

Revelstoke Grizzlies celebrate the end of their regular season with awards

Their last game is on Saturday and the playoffs start next week

MP Stetski calls for more funding for rural internet

Stetski says there is a growing digital divide between rural and urban communities

Revelstoke Search and Rescue calls Feb. 11-17

Revelstoke Search and Rescue reports their activities to Emergency Management BC who… Continue reading

Sell regulated heroin to curb B.C.’s overdose problem: report

B.C. Centre on Substance Use points to organized crime and money-laundering as contributing factors

Why do zebras have stripes? Perhaps to dazzle away flies

Researchers from University of Bristol look into why zebras have stripes

Shuswap athletes help Team BC to podium at Canada Winter Games

Speed-skater wins bronze, ringette player contributes to playoff victory

Poll: More voters believe Canada doing worse under Trudeau government

22 per cent believed the country is doing better and 27 per cent said things are the same

HBC shuttering Home Outfitters across Canada

North America’s oldest retailer is revamping its various stores to improve profitability

Man wanted for sex trafficking, confinement may be heading to B.C.

Kevin Myrthil, 26, is also accused of assault on a 19-year-old woman at an Edmonton hotel

Bursaries available for trades students at Okanagan College

“With this bursary, we want women to know that there is a place for you in this industry and a place for you to excel.”

A mother’s warning: Man follows Peachland teen to her home from Kelowna

The teen’s mother is warning others about the incident

Kelowna RCMP urge hit and run driver to turn themselves in

An alleged hit and run occured late Feb. 18

Most Read