Sunshine Coast Community Leaders stand with shishalh Nation to solve the water crisis

shishalh Nation Lands (Sechelt, BC) – Water shortages, restrictions, and increasing challenges have led shishalh Nation, the Sunshine Coast Regional District, the District of Sechelt, and the Town of Gibsons to deepen collaborative action to secure water resources for the future and meet the needs of all living in the region.

shishalh has developed a plan to build a new water reservoir to address the ongoing drought emergency, and local government partners are supporting the plan.

The proposed reservoir:

  • Developed within the existing mine site on shishalh Nation land, the proposed reservoir will have minimal new impacts.
  • Water to fill the reservoir will be captured during the short rainy winter months and used during the dry summer and fall.
  • If funded, construction for the reservoir can begin immediately, making some water available for the summer of 2024.
  • The reservoir will assist in ensuring a long-term sustainable water supply for the lower Sunshine Coast.

shishalh Chief and Council and other local community leaders are meeting with provincial and federal government representatives regarding the water crisis and the proposed reservoir plan, and we are waiting for confirmation of funding support so that the reservoir can be built immediately.

For more information, please watch our video about this critical project at:  Shishalh Water Proposal Video.mp4


lhe hiwus (Chief) Lenora Joe

“Water is an essential resource; we all need it to survive. Our ancestors instilled in our community to be protectors of the water and stewards of the land. What was once a water challenge is now a water crisis, causing anxiety and fear in our members and residents of the Sunshine Coast. This is more of a human issue than a business initiative, and we must address it now; the new reservoir is an essential part of the solution.”

Mayor John Henderson, District of Sechelt

“It is vitally important that we, on the Sunshine Coast, expand our water supply infrastructure – the situation is urgent, and we need short and long-term solutions. The good news is that practical and attainable solutions exist and that the four local governments are working together.  I look forward to the provincial government supporting our shared commitment to innovative, environmentally responsible and sustainable solutions. And I congratulate and thank the shíshálh Chief and Councillors on their initiative to introduce the two reservoir proposal.”

Leonard Lee, Chair Sunshine Coast Regional District board

“shishalh Nation, Sunshine Coast Regional District, District of Sechelt, and Town of Gibsons are known for innovative solutions and unwavering support for our community with quality long-term solutions. This is a solution we can offer all residents of the Sunshine Coast.”

Mayor Silas White, Town of Gibsons

“We need tangible and immediate solutions to this ongoing water crisis.  Using an existing mine site is a tremendous opportunity for the Sunshine Coast.   I am excited for this collaborative opportunity that can make such a difference for our community.”

Quick Facts

  • shishalh Nation hosted a water summit on May 23, 2023 with the Sunshine Coast Regional District, the District of Sechelt, and the Town of Gibsons. The summit cemented the understanding that the crisis must be addressed, and all community leaders are seeking a solution quickly.
  • Last October, the Sunshine Coast Regional District declared a State of Local Emergency because of the severe lack of available water for Coast residents. This crisis only abated in December of 2022. Both Chapman and Edwards Lake were drawn down to unprecedented levels, and the snow and freezing temperatures meant the lakes did not refill at anticipated speeds. In late November 2022, projections showed boil water advisories were possible within weeks.
  • On September 8th, 2023, Stage 4 water restrictions were again implemented.

Please find the contact information for the shishalh Chief below. All other inquiries can be sent to the shishalh Nation Communications Manager.

lhe hiwus (Chief) Lenora Joe

Julia Cook
Communications Manager, shishalh Nation