Progress on Drinking Water Access in Cheakamus

In 2021, the Courts approved a Settlement Agreement between First Nations and Canada over unsafe drinking water in their communities. Nexwsxwníw̓ntm ta Úxwumixw (Council) voted to accept it in late 2022.

The Settlement Agreement also allows individual Members to seek compensation if they were affected by a drinking water advisory for at least one year between November 20, 1995, and June 20, 2021. The water concerns at Cheakamus IR 11 between October 7, 2011, and January 28, 2013 may make some Members eligible under the terms of the Settlement. Click the button below to access a dedicated website that has been set up with information about the Settlement and how to apply.

The Claims Assessment Tool on the website can help you determine whether you are eligible. You can also call the Claims Administrator at 1-833-252-4220 for assistance or speak to a lawyer for legal advice at 1-833-265-7589. Both services are completely free. 

The deadline to submit a compensation claim is March 7, 2023.

Deanna Lewis has been hired as a Community Liaison to support our people through this process. She can be contacted at kalkalath@hotmail.com or 604-849-1469.

Steps the Nation has taken

Safe drinking water on-reserve is a priority and significant progress has been made at Cheakamus. This Settlement and the funds received are just some of the many steps the Nation has taken to ensure safe drinking water for our community.

Ongoing monitoring of current system

Ta na wa Shéway I7x̱ w ta Úxwumixw (Planning & Capital Projects) continually monitors the water system at Cheakamus.

    • Water is tested weekly for bacteria and monthly for hard metals. It has been determined to be healthy for drinking and meets the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality (GCDWQ).
    • Bottled water is provided to households that prefer it.

 

Progress towards a new water system

The Nation has been exploring two options for upgrading the Cheakamus water system.

    • Connecting to the District of Squamish’s water system through a new watermain.
    • Upgrading/building new treatment facilities at the existing Cheakamus groundwater source.

 

This work has involved studies and careful consideration of the two options, talks with the District of Squamish (DOS), and applications to Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) for funding. The District is supportive of the Nation connecting to its system and in 2022, Nexwsxwníw̓ntm ta Úxwumixw (Council) approved proceeding with this option. Ta na wa Shéway I7x̱ w ta Úxwumixw continues to work with ISC, DOS, and Kerr Wood Leidal, an engineering firm, to move the project towards the design phase. Updates will be shared with the community as this phase progresses.

Settlement next steps 

The Settlement Agreement awards a lump sum payment to the Nation. It also requires Canada to provide a minimum of $6 billion to fix ongoing problems with water systems on reserve lands across the country. The Nation can apply to receive further funding from this amount. We will share more information when the funds have been received and decisions are made by Nexwsxwníw̓ntm ta Úxwumixw on where to allocate them.