Queen’s Park – Following a meeting with Attawapiskat Chief Ignace Gull and Band Council last week, Timmins-James Bay MPP, Gilles Bisson, asked the Liberal government to follow through on its commitment to provide funding to ensure the diesel spill in Attawapiskat is cleaned up.
“Have you made a new reallocation of funds in order to get this project back on track and clean up the VAST site,” Bisson asked.
Bisson explained that the spill, which came from diesel tanks used to generate electricity for the community, has contaminated nearby grounds that are now home to many public spaces.
“Unfortunately, in Attawapiskat—there was a major diesel spill over a period of years that contaminated ground underneath what is now the daycare centre, what is now the hospital, what is now the ambulance garage, nurses’ residence and other buildings in around the VAST site—VAST site being where the tanks used to be,” Bisson said.
Bisson explained that the government used the original promised dollars to clean up another more recent spill under the WAHA (Weeneebayko Area Health Authority) Hospital in Attawapiskat. The original allocation of $1.6 million from the Ministry of Health was used to clean up the more recent 2014 diesel spill leaving them with no funds to clean the original spill.
“To be clear, Minister, your ministry made the allocation, so the responsibility has already been accepted by the Ministry of Health (MOH), because much of where the spill is happens to be on MOH property under WAHA, which is the hospital,” Bisson explained.
“What we need is a commitment that the dollars that were supposed to be allocated for the cleanup is reallocated in today’s dollars, so that the community can do the clean up and make sure that kids in daycare centres, nurses in nurses’ residence, ambulance attendants and people in the hospital are not going to be at risk and the community is cleaned up,” Bisson said.
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