Ottawa is supporting a water and sewer partnership between Kenora and Wauzhushk Onigum.

"I'm beaming at the moment with the announcement," said Rat Portage Chief Chris Skead. "It has been on the prime minister's radar obviously to end boil water advisories. I know we're one of many communities, but today is the day for Wauzhushk Onigum."

The $7.2 million agreement announced by Kenora MP Bob Nault at the Golden Eagle Casino in the First Nation helps underwrite a partnership that has been talked about for many years between leaders of the First Nation and the neighbouring City of Kenora. If all goes according to plan, the boil water advisory could be lifted next year.

The timing fits in with the completion of Freedom Road -- connecting Shoal Lake 40 with the Trans-Canada -- as well as the next federal election, expected in the fall of 2019.chiefskeadWauzhushk Onigum Chief Chris Skead is beaming, after today's announcement at the Golden Eagle.

Ottawa is hoping to end all 105 long-term boil water advisories across the country by 2021.

Nault adds the funding agreement should also relieve pressure on water rates for Kenora residents, who have seen significant increases in utility bills, while providing room to grow in Rat Portage. This would include the possibility of a casino.

"If you want to put it in that context, because the taxpayers are paying for the water treatment plant and the sewage treatment plan. So, more efficiencies, less cost," he noted, after the announcement.

The province forced ratepayers in Kenora into a five-year, 10 per cent a year increase in water fees, in order to replenish water and sewer infrastructure funds.

The Kenora area has also been chosen as one of five sites for a casino, as part of the northern Ontario bundle, by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation. While Gateway Casinos of B.C. have been chosen as the gaming provider for the northern bundle, they have not yet chosen a site for the Kenora location.

Wauzhushk Onigum leaders have expressed interest in reviving their casino operation, and improved water and sewer infrastructure would assist their application.

There may also be opportunities for developing marina facilities at Bare Point or Northern Harbour, not to mention housing developments, if more water and sewer hookups are available.

Last year, Northern Harbour was at about 250 slips, but owners have suggested they could expand to as many as 550.

In his comments after the announcement, Nault talked about both marinas and casinos as possible projects for the area.

For more information:

Ending long-term drinking water advisories

Kenora casino update

Hall adding to capacity


More Local News

Ottawa to help skills training

Ottawa's new training benefit program will offer $2.3 million for workers in the district. Kenora MP Bob Nault made the announcement, after visiting with the prime minister -- as well as the minister…

Developer balks at utility costs

David Luby had a straightforward message for Kenora city council. Unless he got help with water and sewer costs, he couldn't afford to build an 11-unit sub-division. "In past history, the town has…

Rickford 'cleaning up the (hydro) mess'

The provincial government is promising to keep its promise by lowering hydro rates by 12 per cent, as well as limit future rate increases to the rate of inflation. Earlier this week, Energy Minister…

Safe needle disposal tips

Residents are reminded to take extra care, while discarding of used needles this spring. The health unit says you should use gloves or tongs when picking up used needles, and to put them in a hard…

Kenora shop owner faces uncertainty after fire

The owner of Kenora’s Link & Pin, Mark Thompson, is starting to work on the rebuilding process. His storefront was demolished during last weekend’s Main Street fire, along with the remainder of the…

Fire chief, mayor talk decision to demolish

Crews are still cleaning up the rubble left from the demolition of the Lila's block in Kenora, following Sunday's fatal fire on Main Street. Once it was determined the fire wasn't going to go out…

OPP investigating Pikangikum homicide

The OPP is continuing to investigate a homicide in Pikangikum First Nation, 10 years following the death. On March 22, 2009, 33-year-old Judy Ann Quill of Pikangikum was last seen leaving a family…

Council won't be twinning the Rec Centre rink this term

Kenora Council have decided to hold off on plans to twin the rec centre rink. Council directed administration, at their last council meeting, to cease the needs assessment of a twinned ice surface at…

Aerial truck purchase pays off for city, firefighters

It was a tough first test for the City of Kenora’s new $1.2 million aerial firetruck. The vehicle was used on its first fire on Sunday, as emergency responders fought the Main Street fire – which led…

Police target, charge distracted drivers

Police are reminding residents to focus on the roads, not their phones. OPP officers across the North West Region recently completed a distracted driving enforcement blitz, taking place between March… is Kenora's only source for community news and information such as weather and classifieds.