Aboriginal Affairs Minister Announces Retrofit of Attawapiskat Healing Lodge Complete

Healing LodgeOTTAWA – Leader’s Ledger – Today, I am pleased to report that the retrofit of the Attawapiskat Healing Lodge is complete. Thanks to the hard work and round the clock efforts of AANDC officials, Emergency Management Ontario, the Canadian Red Cross staff and volunteers, and the community of Attawapiskat, any of the 25 families, currently living in temporary shelter now have access to a safe, warm dry shelter to sleep until the permanent housing modules arrive. In addition, work is already underway to repair the multi-family unit ATCO trailers which means that other residents will have a more comfortable place to live.

As well, the 22 modular homes purchased by the Government of Canada are en route to Moosonee, Ontario. These will all be delivered by the end of December and will be sent to Attawapiskat for installation as soon as the winter roads open.

In the meantime, our Government will continue with our action plan to address the urgent health and safety needs of the people of Attawapiskat. I am pleased that progress is being made and that working collaboratively is delivering concrete results for the community.

Our Government will continue working with the community, and our partners, to ensure the residents of Attawapiskat have access to safe and warm shelter for the coming months.

John Duncan MP
Minister of Aboriginal Affairs

The Minister included

ATTAWAPISKAT ACTION PLAN – PROGRESS TO DATE

November 9, an Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) letter to the Chief of Attawapiskat First Nation confirms the Department will provide $499,500 on an urgent basis for the renovation of homes for some of the families living in tents and shacks.

November 28, AANDC officials are sent to the community to carry out an on-the-ground assessment and they determine that there were urgent health and safety issues.

November 30, as a result of the urgent health and safety needs identified, Minister Duncan announces that a Third-Party Manager will be put in place.

November 30, the Minister also orders a comprehensive and independent audit be undertaken to identify how money has been spent and what oversight measures have been taken over the past five years. If there are problems identified, the Government will take action to address them.

December 5, AANDC appoints a Third-Party Manager and the Third-Party Manager’s work commences.

December 11, AANDC announces the Department will provide 22 modular homes for families in Attawapiskat First Nation. The homes will be delivered to the community via winter road as soon as they open.

December 10 and 12, 20 high-efficiency wood stoves and 10 composting toilets, purchased by AANDC, for families living in temporary shelters, arrive in the community.

December 12, AANDC requests the Canadian Red Cross conduct an assessment of work required to retrofit the Healing Lodge and to repair the De Beers ATCO trailers to provide access to warm, dry, safe shelter to Attawapiskat residents in need.

December 13, 14, 16 and 17, other material provided by the Red Cross and EMO, including plastic sheeting, fire extinguishers, styrofoam and other supplies, are delivered to the community.

December 14, a flight carrying rugs, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and cots arrives in the community.

December 16, another shipment of essential emergency supplies heads to Attawapiskat First Nation by plane. The shipment includes necessary supplies such as styrofoam insulation, beds, diesel generators and drywall.
December 16, Chief and Council agree to the Canadian Red Cross plan to retrofit the Healing Lodge.

December 20, the first of the 22 modular homes AANDC is providing to Attawapiskat First Nation are completed, and shipped from Fredericton, New Brunswick, where they were manufactured, to Ontario, where they will be stored until the winter road is ready.

December 20, renovation supplies are flown to Attawapiskat.

December 20, work to retrofit the Healing Lodge in Attawapiskat begins. A team, made up of various technical experts, is on the ground and working to ensure the Healing Lodge is comfortable and ready for any of the 25 families currently living in temporary shelter. Experts will ensure there is a supply of potable water, effective electrical, heating and fire systems, and a fully operational plumbing system in the Healing Lodge.

December 22, additional shipment of renovation supplies is transported by air to Attawapiskat.