Water plant opens but costs continue to rise

SIX NATIONS – The new $41 million water treatment plant was declared up and ready back in November just in time to give then Chief Bill Montour something to run up on the flag pole just before the elections.

It wasn’t enough to put him over the top however and Ava Hill became the new Chief by a very thin margin.

This past Friday, the official Grand Opening took place with members of the new council present to cut the ribbon.

But now that it is both unofficially and officially open, without a significant amount of money to build needed infrastructure, where is the water going to go? Outgoing Chief Montour estimated that it would cost more than $100 million to service the entire reserve.

Although the new plant is fully functional, the ad hoc water treatment committee is still recommending changes and add-ons that the committee believes would bring the plant to full efficiency for years to come.

The original budget for the installation of maintenance management equipment was $75,000 but council decided to cut that estimate to $57,020 and compromise a bit on the “Cadillac” system and settle for the “Chevy” instead. Now the committee is suggesting they go back to the original system. About half of the added cost would come from a contingency fund set aside for the project and the other half would be paid from the budget itself.

Also, a new electrical hoist has been recommended to replace the cheaper manual system that has already been installed. According to project manager Michael Murray, the present hoist has proven itself not up to the capacity of the electrical hoist and is already maxing out. Another $77,698 is needed to replace it.

A maintenance contract with SELOG Norlock Inc to maintain the facility for three years is another $23,250. That money will also come from the contingency fund.
Other smaller additions will also be added on as well.

District Two Councillor Councillor Carl Hill was not surprised at all by the last minute changes.

“We passed all those recommendations. We kinda had to,” he said. “Maybe it was a surprise to some, but not to me. That’s what the contingency fund was there for.”
Elected Chief Ava Hill explained the current situation regarding next steps for the new plant.

“The water from the new plant will go through the existing lines which include the Village of Ohsweken where we have the housing subdivisions, along with many offices and businesses,” says Hill. “It will also go to the system at Public Works where many community members get water to truck to their homes. There are currently 600 hook ups with 30 percent commercial and 70 percent residential. There are 500 truck fill cards. It is estimated that approximately 8000 people will be serviced. In order to get pipelines through the whole reserve, the current estimate is 120 million dollars. The decision on where the piping should go first has not yet been made.”

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