The Ahousaht First Nation released this photograph through Twitter Monday afternoon after declaring a state of emergency due to soil contaminants affecting the community’s water supply. (Image from @AhousahtAdmin Twitter Account)

Water emergency lifted for Ahousaht

Supply considered safe after week of uncertainty and concern

Ahousaht lifted a boil water advisory on Thursday, declaring its water quality and levels safe after spending the week under a state of emergency.

The announcement ended a harrowing week for the isolated First Nation community, which had declared a state of emergency on Nov. 4 due to soil contamination in its water reservoir.

Some of the First Nation’s elders were immediately evacuated by vessel to the neighbouring community of Tofino, roughly 20 kilometres away.

“They’ve reached out to us and Tofino has responded by making our water accessible to them,” Tofino mayor Josie Osborne told the Westerly News on Nov. 4. “It’s always important to support our neighbours. We’re all in this together. They rely on us and we rely on them. We need to be there in their time of need.”

The water was transported from Tofino to Ahousaht by salmon farmer Cermaq Canada.

“Cermaq has a longstanding relationship with the Ahousaht community and we are happy to help in any way we can. Our thoughts are with the community and, in a small place like this, this is what neighbours do. We know Ahousaht would do the same for us if we were in a similar situation,” said Cermaq’s Sustainable Development Director Linda Sams.

Members of the Tofino Volunteer Fire Department accessed a fire hydrant to fill tanks that were then lifted onto a Cermaq barge by crane, according to Sams who added that the company remained active in the effort throughout the week.

”We are going to continue working closely with members of the Ahousaht Community, the District of Tofino and other local support services to ensure the community has the water required until their system is restored,” she said. “We will be setting up a recycling centre to gather the water jugs after the water supply has been returned. This is in-line with our commitment to protecting the environment and reducing micro plastics in the oceans.”

An Emergency Management B.C. spokesperson said EMBC supported Ahousaht’s evacuated elders through Emergency Social Services, but would not investigate the water reservoir.

“The Ahousaht First Nation has indicated that they are running low on reservoir capacity and have identified the need to relocate elders. Emergency Management BC is supporting that request with short term Emergency Social Services,” said an Emergency Management B.C. Spokesperson. “Drinking water systems and boil water advisories are the responsibility of local governments and water purveyors. Emergency Management BC does not support the operation of these systems…Indigenous Services Canada is engaged and aware of the situation, and they are the appropriate agency to help address any water system infrastructure concerns from the community.”

Just Posted

Transportation Safety Board’s out-of-date data system makes it hard to track trends

An upgrade to the system will be coming in the next fiscal year

Canadian Armed Forces to change approach to sexual assault investigations

New program aimed at a more open and transparent process, will consult with civilians, health and law professionals

West Shore RCMP officers cleared in Goldstream trestle death

Independent Investigation Office of BC issues final report

Changes coming to BC Ferries reservations for Vancouver Island routes

Many customers are booking multiple reservations, inflating wait times

Friends, family remember Dan Sealey, stepson of Minister of Agriculture, in private gathering

Lana Popham confirmed Sealey died of an accidental drug overdose earlier this month at age 23

Unique technology gives children with special needs more independent play

UVic’s CanAssist refined seven prototypes aided by $1.5M government contribution

Canada Post ‘cooling off’ period won’t resolve postal dispute, says CUPW

CUPW national president Mike Palecek says the union isn’t holding rotating strikes to harm the public

Calgary city council votes to shut down bid for 2026 Winter Games

More than half of those who went to the polls voted ‘no’ to bidding for the games

Union offers support following B.C. mine death

Death of B.C. mine worker described as a wake up call for industry

Family launches fundraiser for Island man who spent days trapped in smashed truck

GoFundMe campaign aims to raise $5,000 for Duncan Moffat’s recovery program

Death of 38-year-old Fernie man at B.C. coal mine under investigation

Vehicle collision occurred at approximately 10:45 a.m. Sunday morning

Breathing polluted air during pregnancy may increase odds of baby having autism: SFU study

Study looked at nearly all births in Metro Vancouver between 2004 and 2009

Calgary Stampeders back to Grey Cup with 22-14 win over Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Calgary was favoured to win the 2017 and 2016 Grey Cups, but lost to the Toronto Argonauts and Ottawa Redblacks respectively.

Most Read