With plumbing and drinking water problems continuing to plague residents of Edzo, the MLA for Monfwi has called for the GNWT to declare a state of emergency.
In a sitting of the Legislative Assembly on March 10, MLA Jane Weyallon Armstrong called on Municipal and Community Affairs (MACA) Minister Shane Thompson to declare a state of emergency in the community.
“Still today, there are residents without clean drinking water in one of the communities, and their homes and personal property are being damaged and made unsafe from backed up sewer pipes,” she said.
Thompson replied that it’s up to the community, not the department, to declare a local state of emergency. However, “if the community wants to declare a state of local emergency, we are more than willing to work with them and explain the process to them,” he said.
Edzo has long grappled with plumbing issues, including frozen and broken pipes. When Weyallon Armstrong raised the issue in the assembly on Feb. 21, she said Elizabeth Mackenzie Elementary School was closed because of a frozen water pipe. She also said that in January, workers at the Jimmy Erasmus Seniors’ Home had to use buckets of water to manually flush the facility’s toilets.
At the time, Thompson said his department had no additional funds to help fix the community’s plumbing woes. In the legislature on March 10, the minister said his department was currently looking for more funds to provide to the community, including reaching out to the federal government.
“The chief has identified an issue there. We had a conversation, we brought on support staff, regional headquarters worked with the SAO (senior administrative officer) and their staff there and the water treatment centre,” said Thompson. “We’re trying to address it. There are some challenges and I feel very sorry that these challenges are happening, but we are working on it.”