WAWAKIPEWIN – Ontario Regional Chief Day reports, “The picture of the new generator is a Christmas night delivery that started making its way to the community – only thing is, this should not be considered a ‘gift’ but an essential piece of infrastructure that is vital to keep the community’s water system and any other essential service operational. Myles Tompkins and Crystal Spencer have been off-site working in contact with and taking direction from the Chief, and working with the Ontario Region to make this happen”
Mike Morris from Kasabonika Lake First Nation (Kas), will have a very important part in this process as WFN does not have an airstrip. Mike has remained committed to helping, which will likely be much needed in the next 48 hours. First Nations in the North are always mindful when it comes to emergencies like this – communities are remote, but never alone.
No electricity means some things become compromised – community safety, community infrastructure; and sometimes community spirit….not in WFN.
The community does have the capability to stay warm at this time with a day to day supply of wood, a small generator and some able bodies to help keep the water treatment plant from freezing.
Christmas Day was managed with making sure people were warm, dry, and safe. Planning and discussions took place with intermittent contact with the Chief and the Department of Indigenous Services, Ontario, Wawakapewin First Nation, Kasabonika Lake First Nation and other continued to dialogue and share updates yesterday.
Carolyn Bennett, Jane Philpott – this example of community preparedness and planning is a matter of interpretation at this point. The reality is this was preventable! And in many First Nations in the remote north – this is an all too common reality. We need to examine the power system policies of DISC as far as remote First Nation communities are concerned – this type of ill-preparedness can cost lives and millions of dollars. As an example, the emergency costs (travel, contractor, ancillary, etc., could have all been avoided.) Other First Nations with this potential scenario playing itself out – should be put on the table immediately in the Ontario Region.
I will be on a call with a number of others today to offer my continued support and put my two cents in when it comes to helping keep the focused pressure on the Federal response where need be and be prepared to extend communications where needed.
The community leadership of Chief Annemarie Beardy is something her family and community are no doubt proud of; for its leadership like this that sustain our First Nations. To respond to the needs of the people in times like this; is deserving of accolades that most would sooner say; “I just doing what I was committed to doing.” But I must say it “Chief Beardy, you are awesome — and your staff is too!”