Sandy Lake Residents Yearn to Return Home


Victoria Inn
People enjoying the fellowship and food and relaxing
THUNDER BAY – The City of Thunder Bay Emergency Operations Control Group await a plan from the Province to address repatriation of evacuated First Nation residents to their communities when the timing is right for their return. “Although the weather and fire situation will dictate the timing, we are awaiting an incident action plan for repatriation from the Province sooner rather than later so we can have input and be ready,” said Acting Fire Chief Greg Hankkio. “We are standing by, ready to assist. It is not certain how long the evacuation will last.”

Just over 2,000 men, women and children have been moved through Thunder Bay to other host communities across Ontario. The City of Thunder Bay is hosting about 280 residents of Sandy Lake First Nation.

The residents of Sandy Lake have had a number of opportunities offered to them while in the city, including trips to Chippewa Park, local swimming facilities, parks and the Thunder Bay Public Library. As well, the Regional Multicultural Youth Centre, Eat Local Pizza and Pastry, and the 31@ Junot Centre sponsored a barbecue on Friday night.

Sunday night, NAN brought in Rolling Thunder a Nashville Tennesse gospel group for the people to enjoy a night of music. Regardless of the number of activities, talking to the evacuees, they really just want to return home and get back to their lives.

The Ministry of Natural Resources reports, “Weather conditions promise a good day for firefighting resources in the west as they will experience cooler and cloudy periods throughout the day. The forecast for the next few days follows a similar pattern. However, fires in the northwest are still burning hot, providing a good example of the dry conditions that persist in the north”.

The local Emergency Operations Control Group responding to the evacuations includes the City of Thunder Bay, Nishnawbe-Aski Nation, Police, Fire Rescue, District of Thunder Bay Social Services Administration Board, Thunder Bay District Health Unit, Superior North EMS and Canadian Red Cross.

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