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

Okanagan-Shuswap weather: the warm sun is sticking around

Environement Canada forcasts sun, no clouds for Wednesday

TKI Construction looks forward to being part of Rutland

The company is renovating the old AG Outdoor Superstore

Rockets’ tiebreaker for playoff berth a franchise first

The Rockets travel to Kamloops for a do-or-die match against the Blazers

‘Our sales are hurting’ Kelowna music hub takes hit after big competition moves in

Milkcrate Records still taking a hit after Sunrise Records moved into town 2 years ago

Construction set to begin on new roundabout in Lake Country

Construction is scheduled from April until July

The UBC Innovation Library has helped over 1,100 students since opening in 2015

Students across B.C. can access their academic resources at the UBC Innovation Library

Facebook to overhaul ad targeting to prevent discrimination

The company is also paying about $5 million to cover plaintiffs’ legal fees and other costs

B.C. mosque part of open-house effort launched in wake of New Zealand shootings

The ‘Visit a Mosque’ campaign aims to combat Islamophobia

‘That’s a load of crap’: Dog poop conspiracy spreads in White Rock

Allegation picked up steam through a Facebook page run by a city councillor

Explosives unit brought in after suspicious boxes left at B.C. RCMP detachment

Nanaimo RCMP issues all clear after packages were found on lawn earlier in the day

Avalanche control tomorrow on Highway 1

Expect closures of up to two hours east of Revelstoke

2019 BUDGET: As deficit grows, feds spend on job retraining, home incentives

Stronger economy last year delivered unexpected revenue bump of an extra $27.8 billion over six years

Newfoundland man caught after posting photo of himself drinking and driving

The 19-year-old took a photo of himself holding a beer bottle and cigarette while at the wheel

Carfentanil found in 15% of overdose deaths in January: B.C. coroner

Carfentanil is 100 times more powerful than illicit fentanyl and used to tranquilize elephants

Most Read