Nishnawbe Aski Press Release
NAN community leadership and members condemn hostel
SIOUX LOOKOUT, ON, July 7 /CNW/ - Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Deputy Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler (NAN health portfolio holder) together with NAN Grand Chief Stan Beardy, Assembly of First Nations National Chief Phil Fontaine, Lac Seul First Nation Chief David Gordon, Sandy Lake First Nation Chief Pardemus Anishinabie, and community members of Sioux Lookout and surrounding First Nations declared the Sioux Lookout Hostel condemned, officially closing its doors yesterday at noon.
"The health and safety of the people who access the services of the Hostel is being compromised daily by old heat and water systems, mould, and asbestos," said NAN Deputy Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler, adding the construction of a new Hostel is part of an agreement made almost ten years ago.
"We're still committed to working with Health Canada and would reconsider re-opening the Hostel if we can secure a ministerial guarantee, however at this point in time and for the safety of our people we have no choice but to close the doors."
A four party agreement to build a new hospital and hostel in Sioux Lookout was signed April 1997 by the Governments of Canada and Ontario, the Municipality of Sioux Lookout, and Nishnawbe Aski Nation plus four Treaty 3 communities. As part of this agreement the Sioux Lookout Hostel was deemed an essential support service for First Nation members across Ontario and the Government of Canada promised to provide or ensure the availability of funding for a new building.
The condemnation comes after a Wednesday meeting with First Nations and Inuit Health Branch Assistant Deputy Minister Ian Potter who could not commit to the construction of a new building until the House of Commons sits again Fall 2006.
The construction of the $84 million new Meno Ya Win Health Centre is scheduled to begin this summer with expectation to be available for occupancy 2009.
To date there is no official plan for construction of a new Hostel that will cost approximately $9 million.
The current Hostel with 39 beds is 57 years old and requires heat and water upgrades. There is asbestos and mould in the building and there are only 2 co-ed washrooms.
"I urge all parties to continue to work together to address this very vital issue. We have been given some assurances by the federal government, but what we want is a concrete commitment," said AFN National Chief Phil Fontaine. "We must ensure that this essential support service - a hostel that meets the basic standards most Canadians take for granted - is in place as quickly as possible."
Despite yesterday's condemnation of the Sioux Lookout Hostel, the current Hostel residents will continue to receive support services as part of an alternate care plan being developed by Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority and NAN.
"The doors are closing today, but an alternate care plan in terms of transportation, accommodation, and health care is in place for the current patients residing at the Hostel," Fiddler said yesterday.
The hostel houses patients from more than 30 First Nation communities across Northwestern Ontario when receiving medical care from Sioux Lookout Meno-Ya-Win Health Centre (Sioux Lookout Zone hospital and Sioux Lookout District hospital). Health services are provided to all residents within Sioux Lookout and surrounding area, including NAN First Nation communities north of Sioux Lookout, Lac Seul First Nation, and residents of Pickle Lake and Savant Lake.
/For further information: Jenna Young, Director of Communications, Nishnawbe Aski Nation, (807) 625-4952, (807) 628-3953 (mobile); Bryan Hendry, Communications Officer - Health, Assembly of First Nations, (613) 241-6789 OR (613) 293-6106 (mobile)/
The Kuhkenah Network Operations Centre backup power system performed 100% last night when the main hydro line from Dryden had a massive failure starting shortly before 5 pm.
When the blackout began the switch over from the battery system to the generators went smoothly. The generator at the satellite hub site kept the 38 satellite served communities across the northern parts of Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba online. The generator at the K-Net Operations Centre kept all the servers and services online. The battery supply for the fibre hub kept that circuit operational and the Bell Canada system was able to remain online throughout the 7 hour blackout.
The back-up system is now certified as full functional!
Thanks to Industry Canada FedNor for the investment in the backup system.