St. David supports the Pikangikum Water Project.
Pikangikum is a First Nations community in northwestern Ontario. It came to national attention after a wave of youth suicides in 2011. The tragedy prompted a group of Toronto-based professionals to work with the Pikangikum elders and school system. This group (called the Pikangikum Working Group) identified 12 priorities for the community. The first priority was to get a new school, which opened in the fall of 2016. The second is clean water.
The water problem
- Of the 450 homes in the community, 415 (90%+) do not have water or waste-water services.
- Surface water sources (lakes and rivers) are vulnerable to contamination, as are in-home water storage systems.
- Inadequate and decrepit wooden outhouses are used by most residents.
- Most of the present homes do not have the space or the structural integrity to support bathroom facilities.
- To provide a source of potable drinking water to Pikangikum homes, equipping the homes with a cistern to hold the water and a wastewater holding tank, as well as the necessary fixtures and fittings.
- Since 2013, more than $600,000 has been raised and 24 homes equipped with clean water and waste water removal facilities and the skills/labour training and jobs that go with the system.
- Families of Pikangikum, mostly elderly and with extreme health constraints, express relief and happiness in having access to clean water, toilets and bathing facilities at home.