Upgrades to the TteS water distribution system are now complete at the North Reservoir site on the hillside above Chief Louis Way. An official opening was held today (Oct. 29, 2020) with about 30 guests attending.
The six-million litre water storage project allows TteS to expand opportunities for economic development on reserve by providing 365 hectares (900 acres) of underserved and un-serviced reserve lands with increased access to water. The reservoir will also provide water flows to industrial fire protection standards.
“This project showcases a step for TteS’s vision of self-reliance as well as opens up significant development opportunities for our community,” said Chief Rosanne Casimir.
She said it’s the first First Nations project to be funded mostly from development cost charges (DCCs), a tax on new development commonly used by municipalities to pay for utilities and infrastructure.
John ter Borg, the Band’s planning and engineering manager, noted the project was conceived at least 30 years ago and worked on by succeeding chiefs and councillors.
The project includes twin reservoirs, one of which will remain dark until it’s needed for future development.
Development enabled by expansion of Tk’emlúps water network will ultimately support the expansion of trade corridors to and from the Lower Mainland, and a one-day trip by train to the Port of Vancouver.
TteS financed construction of the North Reservoir without having to borrow from an external lender, by utilizing $1.2 million (25 per cent of the project cost) secured through Indigenous Services Canada (ISC), and contributing reserve funds collected under TteS DCC Law through the First Nations Fiscal Management Act.
As TteS portfolio holder for Planning and Engineering, Coun. Justin Gottfriedson added, “One of the highlights in my time on Council has been the North Reservoir project.
“Despite the pandemic and the challenges that come with it, the project was completed by an awesome team. This has been a community priority for so many years and it is good to see this through. Kukwstsétselp.”
Others speaking at the event included Manny Jules, former chief and now Chief Commissioner for the First Nations Tax Commission; Kamloops Mayor Ken Christian; Coun. Sonny Leonard;and MP Cathy McLeod.