People should be in new homes by February 2020
CAT LAKE FIRST NATION – (Updated) – The new homes delivered last February to Cat Lake First Nation should be available to residents of the northern Ontario community by February 2020.
Speaking with Band Councillor Derek Spence things are progressing well with help from NAN and the Windigo Tribal Council that saw the homes delivered to Cat Lake on the winter road last season.
There was a delay as Indigenous Services Canada put in place a tendering process to assemble the homes. That caused a delay in putting the homes together of about six to eight weeks Spence reports.
Now the goal is getting people out of their homes which are infested with mould, and into new homes early in 2020.
If there is a hold up right now it is with Hydro One. Spence says that Cat Lake has sent in all the needed paperwork.
UPDATE – Hydro One Comments on the Delay
A spokesperson for Hydro One tells NetNewsLedger: “Hydro One has been working with Cat Lake First Nation to facilitate approximately 43 new connections in the community. This is a complex connection process involving external parties, such as the Electrical Safety Authority as well as customer requirements.
“An agreement was reached with the community to bundle the 43 connections rather than complete them individually due to the remote nature of the community, which would require the use of helicopters or an ice road.
“Hydro One is committed to working closely with Cat Lake First Nation to further explore how we can expedite the process to complete the connections as soon as possible.”
NOTE: Travel to Cat Lake on the ice road is limited from January to March. However there is year-round access to Cat Lake by Air.
NetNewsLedger contacted NDP MP Charlie Angus who first brought this crisis to light last February. Angus states, “We have worked so hard to get justice for people in Cat Lake. I am frustrated that the homes are still not liveable. People have been living in dire conditions. It is important that this project gets completed soon.”
Minister Greg Rickford the Kenora MPP is aware of the situation and is working to get faster action and answers from Hydro One.