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Behchokǫ̀ elder now has running water but laments lack of info from Tłı̨chǫ Government

Behchokǫ̀ elder Celine Whane at her home in January. Since then, she says the Tlicho Government has started some repairs on her home. Right now, she is staying in rental housing in the community. (Carson Asmundson/CBC - image credit)
Behchokǫ̀ elder Celine Whane at her home in January. Since then, she says the Tlicho Government has started some repairs on her home. Right now, she is staying in rental housing in the community. (Carson Asmundson/CBC - image credit)

A Behchokǫ̀ elder is now getting help repairing her house after going more than two months without running water this winter but still has concerns about what the repairs will be and how long she'll be out of her home.

The Tłı̨chǫ Government moved Celine Whane into temporary rental housing at the end February, and has started repairs on her house.

For Whane, 77, who has been advocating to get her house fixed for years, it's a huge relief.

"The best part of it is that I can open the tap whenever I want water, whenever I want to do something," she said of her new rental.  "And I can take a shower."

Celine Whane moved into her new temporary rental in Behchokǫ̀ about three weeks ago.
Celine Whane moved into her new temporary rental in Behchokǫ̀ about three weeks ago.

Celine Whane's new temporary rental in Behchokǫ̀. She moved in at the end of February but hasn't been told how long she'll be staying. (Travis Burke/CBC)

But as glad as she is to be getting repairs on her home, she feels there have been a lot of problems with the process, especially a lack of communication from the employees at Tłı̨chǫ Government.

Whane said she hasn't been told what repairs are on the list to be fixed during the current construction.

In January, she told CBC that the most pressing problem with her house is a lack of proper insulation on some of her pipes. She says she believes it's the reason her pipes freeze and break so often and leave her without running water.

But it's not the only problem with the building.

The windows in the building are too small for their frames, leading cold air to blow through all winter, and one of the doors doesn't sit properly in the frame. The foundation of the house is also unstable, because it was built on muskeg.

The windows in Celine Whane's home are too small for their frames. One of her sons has sealed the gap with duct tape, but cold air still blows through them into the house.
The windows in Celine Whane's home are too small for their frames. One of her sons has sealed the gap with duct tape, but cold air still blows through them into the house.

The windows in Celine Whane's home, photographed in January. Whane said she hasn't been told whether they will be fixed during the current repairs. (Carson Asmundson/CBC)

"They just said they are going to fix it, that's about it," she said.

"I just want to know what they're going to do, but nobody says anything."

She also said she doesn't have any information on how long the repairs on her house will take, or how long she can expect to stay in the temporary rental.

Three of her sons are currently living with her in the two-bedroom apartment. Most of her belongings are in storage, because space is so limited.

"I love sewing, but I can't do it, because everything is packed, everything is scattered," she said.

And the steep stairs up the apartment are challenging for Whane. She had polio when she was young and has trouble with one of her legs as a result.

"Other than that, it's okay," she said.

CBC reached out to the Tłı̨chǫ Government to ask for answers to Whane's questions, but did not receive a reply.