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Multi-million dollar project announced for OCN

  • In News
  • October 20, 2017
  • By Jenn

Opaskwayak Cree Nation turned sod Tuesday afternoon for the community’s new $17.3 million aerated lagoon project.
The project is a joint venture between the OCN owned Paskwayak Business Development Corporation (PBDC) and Strilkiwski North Ltd out of Dauphin, Manitoba.
OCN Onekanew Christian Sinclair commented the project is exciting for the community and will enable them to move forward on a number of other projects.
“It gives OCN an opportunity to do business in a new way and in a new way I mean instead of a company coming from outside what we’ve done is a joint venture - Paskwayak Construction and Strilkiwski North Ltd. We put in a bid to INAC for the project and we were successful bidders,” Sinclair explained.
According to Sinclair, the original amount put forth by INAC was $15 million and while the bid put in by OCN was $17.3 million, they were still the lowest bid.
“We were successful in the bid and now are able to announce the project and move forward,” Sinclair added.
Sinclair commented the partnership that was created for this project has a positive impact for OCN.
“We are going to be able to maximize employment, there will be the social economic benefit, fuel, hotel. We will be able to fully utilize the resources we have here on OCN. Contractors, trucks etc.”
The project is set to begin immediately and Sinclair said it will be completed by this time next year.
Onekanew Sinclair emphasized this project will allow the community to build capacity for the next 20 years which will allow for an expansion of infratructure - housing and commerical development within the community’s traditional territory and OCN lands.
“We can now move forward and confidently proceed. It is one step closer to independence. We are changing the way business is done, our First Nation can benefit directly,” Sinclair said.
Sinclair added, “OCN Onekanew and Onuschekawak are proud and honored to accomplish this in our first year of office. We look forward to benefitting OCN and the region.”
OCN councillor Lori Lathlin holds the Community Works and Operations portfolio and commented the project allows for future planning for residential and commercial use. She was excited by the announcement and Lathlin praised the current treatment plant staff - John McKenzie (Lead water treatment plant operator) Justin Spence and Ryan Hester for the work they do with the current treatment plant.
“They are the most important people in our community, they ensure we have clean, safe drinking water,” she said.
The new aerated lagoon project is funded by Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) and was designed for a 20 year life by JR Cousin Consultants Ltd, who have a long history of providing successful engineering services to OCN. The aerated lagoon will be located adjacent to the Umpherville Road and replaces an aging Mechanical Treatment Plant, which is no longer able to meet the upgraded wastewater treatment standards.
The lagoon will use state of the art technology (SAGR) which results in the ability to continuously treat wastewater before discharge in the Saskatchewan River. The process, according to information releases by OCN, will improve the environment and health and safety for OCN members as well as the surrounding community members who use the Saskatchewan River for various recreational and other activities. It will also improve the health of downstream rivers and lakes including Lake Winnipeg.
The aerated lagoon and SAGR are scheduled to be online in October 2018.