The Chief of the Nipissing First Nation says the local reserve won’t see much money from last week’s federal budget to improve water and sewer. Scott McLeod says it’s because some First Nations have been under boil water advisories for decades. McLeod says it means they’re the priority and not NFN because it’s not facing a water advisory. “When you put our needs against the needs of communities that have been under boil water advisories for more than 20 years, the amount of funding that’s coming down the pipe isn’t enough to address our needs,” said McLeod. “So we’re still going to be sitting on the sidelines with inadequate systems because there are First Nations that need a higher attention than we do.”
Nipissing First Nation faces another complication when it comes to receiving federal dollars. McLeod says because the reserve is “fractured” into five smaller communities, it means the reserve is spread over a large geographic area meaning one water system isn’t enough. However he points out the federal government sees NFN as a single reserve and that’s how funds are allocated as opposed to looking at is as several communities which he says is the reality. McLeod says Nipissing needs about $8-million just to get its water up to par and at least $10-million for its sewer system. He says more money is needed for sewers because some areas of NFN don’t have a sewer system while others are operating on septic type systems that are more than a quarter century old and are in need of upgrades.