Barbara Roden   The official groundbreaking for the Bonaparte water treatment plant took place last week. (from l) Tyler Hanson

Barbara Roden The official groundbreaking for the Bonaparte water treatment plant took place last week. (from l) Tyler Hanson

Treatment plant means better water for Bonaparte

Water on the Bonaparte reserve is not currently treated, so the new water treatment plant is eagerly awaited.

A ground-breaking ceremony at the Bonaparte reserve north of Cache Creek on October 19 brought the band one step closer to having a state-of-the-art water treatment plant and new reservoir.

Elders, band chief Ryan Day, members of the band, and representatives of the engineering and construction firms responsible for the project were on hand to mark the official start of the project, which will be complete in June 2017. It will mean clean, treated water for the reserve, which draws its water from wells and does not currently have the capacity to treat it.

A new 600 cubic metre reservoir—three times the size of the current reservoir—is being constructed 700 metres uphill from the plant. A generator will ensure that the water keeps flowing even if the power goes out.

At the ground-breaking ceremony, elder Roger Porter remarked on the importance of the occasion. “Water is one of the precious things we have left, and I ask the spirits to keep our water safe.” Elder Diane Sandy echoed the importance of water. “We cleanse with it, drink it, and it’s nourishing. It’s so important that everything works out with this water system for our children and grandchildren.”

Tyler Hanson, vice president of construction firm Willbros Canada, says that this upgrade to the water system at Bonaparte is the result of many years of hard work. “It’s an honour to be invited here to make every-day fresh water for this community available.”

Rob Taras, the Willbros project manager on site, says that two new wells have been drilled, which will feed the new water treatment plant. “It’s been four or five years in the planning, engineering, and approval,” he says. “The water quality wasn’t good, and the infrastructure couldn’t cope with new buildings on the reserve.”

“It’s probably 20 years since someone said we need a water treatment plant,” says Bonaparte councillor Neal Antoine, and Day notes that a lot of successive chiefs and councils have worked to get the project to this point. Jas Sandhu, the site inspector for engineering firm David Nairne & Associates, agrees that finding water takes time.

“We had to start from scratch and find the proper water, design the plant, and put the project out to tender. It took a bit of work to find the groundwater to tap into, but there’s lots of water, so there’s no problem with the supply.”

“These things take a long time,” agrees Day. “The reservoir was way too small, and the new one will give us capacity for firefighting.” Noting that the water is not currently being treated, Day says that the treatment plant is “a really big deal for us. It will be a big improvement to health.”

Work will continue at the site throughout the winter, and between 10 and 20 people will be at work on the project at a given time. Five of the employees are members of the Bonaparte band and one of them is Art Antoine, an equipment operator.

“I worked on the last project here, in 2009,” says Antoine, who then went to work in the oil sands for several years, returning to Bonaparte in 2015. “This job is better than being in camps,” he says, noting that he can now be at home with his children.

He lives just above the church on the reserve, about two minutes’ away. “It’s a short commute,” he says with a laugh. “And a good company with a good boss.”

 

Just Posted

Ashcroft hospital emergency closed sign, 2016. Photo credit: Barbara Roden
Ashcroft Hospital emergency department closed this weekend

Closure due to unexpected limited physician availabiliy, says Interior Health

Residents line up outside the Vernon Recreation Complex for their COVID-19 vaccine Saturday, June 5. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
No appointments necessary for first dose COVID-19 vaccine: Interior Health

People can just show up at clinics, register on the spot and get the shot

Heidi Roy of the Cariboo Jade Shop in Cache Creek with the 3,000 jade boulder, which is now on secure display inside the shop. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)
Massive jade boulder returns to Cache Creek store six months after daring heist

The 3,000-pound boulder was stolen on Dec. 19, 2020 and found abandoned in the bush a week later

Dr. Albert de Villiers, chief medical health officer for the Interior Health Authority. (Contributed)
Child sex crimes charges against Interior’s top doc won’t impact pandemic response: Dix

Dr. Albert de Villiers is charged with sexual assault and sexual interference

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

Most Read