Grassy Narrows signs agreement for new mercury treatment facility

The community of Grassy Narrows has inked an agreement for a mercury treatment centre to help community members dealing with mercury poisoning.

“Today I signed the agreement for our Mercury Treatment Home. A 24 bed care facility for the people of Grassy Narrows who are suffering from Mercury poisoning. It is worth 19.5 million dollars,” Grassy Narrows Chief Rudy Turtle shared to Facebook Thursday night.

The Trudeau government committed to constructing the mercury poisoning treatment facility in 2017.

A year later, former minister of Indigenous Services Jane Philpott reiterated the government’s commitment to building the centre.

The community unveiled its plan for the treatment facility in the spring of 2019.

Grassy Narrows wanted the government to set up a $88.7-million trust to pay for construction and maintenance of a survivor’s home as well as a care centre for people with mercury poisoning.

Construction was scheduled to start in the fall, but by December that hadn’t happened and Turtle, along with other community members, were in Ottawa criticizing the government for taking so long.

Grassy Narrows is an Ojibwe First Nation located 55 kilometres northeast of Kenora, Ont.

The community has been dealing with mercury poisoning for over 50 years after Dryden Chemicals Ltd., a pulp and paper mill, polluted the English-Wabigoon river system with untreated neurotoxic mercury between 1962 and 1970.

APTN News has reached out to Turtle and Indigenous Services Canada for more information.

More to come.