Below is a rough summary of the municipal town hall held on June 27. The information below is not meant to represent direct quotes, but rather the information that was provided by various officials with the RMWB, Canadian Red Cross, AHS, and IBC.
-Emergency Management Director Bob Couture says REOC will be integrating with Recovery task force
-Q: Why can some homes start rebuilding in other areas besides ABW?
A: Depends on Chief Medical Officer’s recommendations, working to expedite system for non-restricted areas to speed up rebuild
-Q: Will they be able to rebuild in ABW before September 30?
A: Have to be careful to over-promise, but believe it could be earlier than that date.
-Q: When will normal transit return?
A: Plan is July 4, details to come later this week
-Q: Do we have to pay property taxes this year?
A: Tax rate bylaw is being presented at Tuesday’s council meeting, but late fees have already been waived until December 31st.
-Q: When will contractors be allowed into restricted areas to make repairs to homes that are still standing?
A: Contractors allowed in between hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. with permission to make repairs
-Q: Are there Red Cross supports near Wandering River?
-Q: When will capital projects be reinstated?
A: (Technical difficulties make the answer inaudible) Council approved a list of projects that are set to continue, while another set are set for further review by July 19th.
-Q: What is the process for applying for a debris removal permit?
A (Doyle): Go to www.rmwb.ca, under municipal services you can find E-Permit link. Can also go to Powder Dr. location to go through process in person.
-Q: When will boil water advisory be lifted?
A: Couture hoping for Gregoire lift next week, will go out from there
-Q: Will I be able to access my home after June 30?
A: Access is already being granted between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., won’t change after June 30
-Q: Were samples for toxic ash taken from Wood Buffalo, Prospect Pointe, Saprae Creek?
A: Samples were taken from every neighbourhood.
-Q: What’s happening north of the river? We keep hearing about ABW.
A: Samples taken throughout the city, trying to treat everything consistently. Phase 2 samples will be posted on GOA and RMWB website soon.
-Q: Can we put provincial/federal funds towards clean-up so insurance money can be saved for rebuild?
A: Don’t know about government role, but cost of clean-up is typically included in insurance plan. That’s why they’re looking for the most cost-efficient way to get cleanup done.
-Q: What’s being done for those who didn’t have tenant’s insurance?
A: Red Cross looking to assist in that situation, visit them at Future Forward or Hardin Street locations
-Q: How fast can debris removal begin?
A: Bylaw trying to get information package on how to do debris removal out to residents, health and safety requirements must be met.
-Q: Is the hospital fully operational with blood work and surgeries, etc?
A: Currently performing urgent and emergency surgeries. Looking at restoring fully-elective surgeries on July 18th. Need to arrange physicians and schedules before that can happen.
-Q: When can I live in Abasand again?
A: Chief Medical Officer has labeled ABW as restricted areas. RMWB is working with her to come up with a timeline for return, hoping to have a date soon.
-Q: Will residents who are still under boil water advisory be supplied with potable water?
A: Working hard to get the boil water lifted. It can be consumed if boiled for 1min though. Not supplying bottled water.
-Q: Having a hard time getting a business license because I can’t operate business in current location. How can I transfer the location on my license?
A: Send name and phone number into bylaw, they’ll look into the file.
-Q: When will I be able to get EI benefits?
A: Send contact information at wildfire recovery website www.wildfire-recover.ab.ca
-Q: My trailer was totally destroyed. Leading up to the fire, if we lived in a trailer we couldn’t get it insured. Why? Is there any sort of program for recovery?
A: Need a bit more detail on specific situation. Call consumer centre 1-844-227-5422. Not aware of anything available through insurance for the uninsured.
-Q: How safe is it to be walking/biking near damaged areas like Real Martin Drive?
A: Public should use all precautions necessary, refer to welcome package information on what PPE is required. Emphasis is safety, proper PPE is needed in heavily hit areas.
-Q: I haven’t received my Red Cross funds yet. What’s going on there?
A: Red Cross apologizes for not receiving their initial funds. Case will be looked into personally, getting close to having transferred to 88,000 people already.
-Q: Can you get access to red-tagged homes in damaged areas after June 30?
A: RMWB is developing plans for Abasand, Beacon Hill, and Waterways. Working on access to “green” homes first, need to satisfy safety requirements.
-Q: Why are we taking so long to do testing, and not starting remediation?
A: Sifting needed to happen first, permitting process has been developed in meantime. Learning lessons from Slave Lake, where bulk removal and remediation could expedite process. IBC says coordinated debris removal set to start on July 8.
-Q: Backyard was used for crew access, trees laying in their yard. Is RMWB responsible, or resident?
A: The fallen trees are part of FireSmart program continuing out into community. IBC says if there is tree damage, insurance policy could include tree debris removal.
-Q: Why is it safe for those in the standing duplexes in Stone Creek to not wear PPE, but those nearby in debris field need it?
A: Those going into Green/Pink homes in damaged areas should be wearing long sleeves, N95 mask for protection. Those going into debris should wear full suits, respirator mask.
-Q: When will services be restored in Fort McMurray for special needs children?
A: Working with service providers to bring them back to town. Many are expected to re-open in July.
-Q: All the health inspector did to determine our home’s safety was a visual walkthrough in pink-slipped home. Why was it publicly stated that the home would be tested for air quality?
A: Inspectors don’t conduct air quality testing. Inspectors looking for water damage, general damage to building materials. Environmental consultants can be hired to conduct air testing, information is available on their website.
-Q: We’re concerned about the air quality in Wood Buffalo, Stone Creek. Is there going to be testing done?
A: Second round of test results are looking to be published first week of July. Third round will be done after cleanup.
-Q: Nobody’s called me about a sifting appointment. Is that going to happen before the end of the month?
A: Area of 201 Abasand is too dangerous to conduct sifting operations, out of control of RMWB. Condo Board agrees.
-Q: Our RV is currently in Abasand. Are we safe to leave it there while cleanup is going on?
A: Air quality during cleanup will be monitored in real time. Contractors are required to meet environmental standards, will ensure that the neighbourhood is safe.