The Ahousaht First Nation released this photograph through Twitter Monday afternoon after declaring a state of emergency due to soil contaminants affecting the community’s water supply. (Image from @AhousahtAdmin Twitter Account)

UPDATED: State of emergency over for B.C. First Nation

“We need to be there in their time of need.”

Ahousaht lifted a boil water advisory on Thursday after spending the week under a state of emergency.

AhousahtEmergencyOver

The announcement ended a harrowing week for the isolated First Nation community, which had declared a state of emergency on Nov. 4 due to soil contamination in its water reservoir.

Some of the First Nation’s elders were immediately evacuated by vessel to the neighbouring community of Tofino, roughly 20 kilometres away.

“They’ve reached out to us and Tofino has responded by making our water accessible to them,” Tofino mayor Josie Osborne told the Westerly News on Nov. 4. “It’s always important to support our neighbours. We’re all in this together. They rely on us and we rely on them. We need to be there in their time of need.”

The water was transported from Tofino to Ahousaht by salmon farmer Cermaq Canada.

“Cermaq has a longstanding relationship with the Ahousaht community and we are happy to help in any way we can. Our thoughts are with the community and, in a small place like this, this is what neighbours do. We know Ahousaht would do the same for us if we were in a similar situation,” said Cermaq’s Sustainable Development Director Linda Sams.

Members of the Tofino Volunteer Fire Department accessed a fire hydrant to fill tanks that were then lifted onto a Cermaq barge by crane, according to Sams who added that the company remained active in the effort throughout the week.

”We are going to continue working closely with members of the Ahousaht Community, the District of Tofino and other local support services to ensure the community has the water required until their system is restored,” she said. “We will be setting up a recycling centre to gather the water jugs after the water supply has been returned. This is in-line with our commitment to protecting the environment and reducing micro plastics in the oceans.”

An Emergency Management B.C. spokesperson said EMBC supported Ahousaht’s evacuated elders through Emergency Social Services, but would not investigate the water reservoir.

“The Ahousaht First Nation has indicated that they are running low on reservoir capacity and have identified the need to relocate elders. Emergency Management BC is supporting that request with short term Emergency Social Services,” said an Emergency Management B.C. Spokesperson. “Drinking water systems and boil water advisories are the responsibility of local governments and water purveyors. Emergency Management BC does not support the operation of these systems…Indigenous Services Canada is engaged and aware of the situation, and they are the appropriate agency to help address any water system infrastructure concerns from the community.”

In 2016, West Coast communities supported Ahousaht during a water crisis caused by a water main break.

READ MORE: Tofino and Ucluelet offering support to Ahousaht in water crisis

READ MORE: Ucluelet First Nation helping Ahousaht through water crisis

READ MORE: Ahousaht declares state of emergency after water main break



andrew.bailey@westerlynews.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Celebrating advancements in adventure tourism

Mike Wiegele receives doctor of laws degree from TRU

USW shows generosity despite tough times

Canfor employees present cheque for $500 to Clearwater Secondary School’s sports teams

UPDATE: Three wildfires discovered in Clearwater area

All new fires suspected to have been caused by lightning

Clearwater hosts fastball tournament

Home team takes first in both U12 and U 14 divisions

10 facts about Father’s Day

Did you know that the special day for dads was first celebrated in 1910?

B.C. VIEWS: When farmland protection doesn’t protect farmers

Secondary residences aren’t mansions, families tell Lana Popham

Bombers down B.C. Lions 33-23 in season opener

Former Lion Andrew Harris leads Winnipeg with 148 rushing yards

Northern B.C. family remembers murdered Indigenous woman with memorial walk

Still no closure for Ramona Wilson’s family 25 years later

B.C. university to offer mentorship program for former youth in care

Students using the provincial tuition waiver program will soon be able to form a community at KPU

Cyclists competing in one of the toughest bike races on the planet pass through Fernie

Divide riders looking strong as they finish first leg of 4160 km race

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

B.C. bus driver loses case to get job back after texting while driving full bus

An arbitator ruled that Tim Wesman’s phone usage was a “a reckless disregard for public safety”

B.C. Interior First Nation family ‘heartbroken’ over loss of young mom

RCMP have released no new information since the June 8, 2019 homicide

Most Read