Kashechewan Residents Prepare for Potential Evacuation

`Roadway flooding in Kashechewan
Roadway flooding in Kashechewan

THUNDER BAY – As the snow and ice melt in Ontario’s northern communities like Kashechewan and Fort Albany struggle with flooding as the ice breaking up in the river has the potential to form ice dams.

Thunder Bay is among communities that have been asked by the Province to host residents of Kashechewan First Nation due to the potential for flooding.

Kashechewan in Spring
Kashechewan in Spring

“Thunder Bay has a long history of stepping forward as a host community, supported by full funding from the federal government,” said Mayor Bill Mauro. “Our community is pulling together to assist our neighbours from the north.”

The City’s response is a coordinated effort in partnership with the Canadian Red Cross, Department of Indigenous Services Canada, North West Local Health Integration Network, and the Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management Ontario (OFMEM). The City’s Emergency Operations Control Group met today and confirmed support of the request to host and start preparations.

The evacuation of Kashechewan may begin as early as April 15 with the first flights going to Kapuskasing, followed by Cornwall, with Thunder Bay tentatively receiving approximately 250 guests as early as April 18-20. The plan is subject to change depending on weather and flight availability.

Working closely with OFMEM representatives, the City will continue to monitor the situation and planning is ongoing.  A full cost recovery agreement is in place between Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada and the City.

Kashechewan is a First Nation community located near James Bay in Northern Ontario.