The Wood Buffalo Recovery Committee has voted unanimously in favor of holding weekly public meetings.
The Committee will be holding these meetings every Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the Council Chambers in the Jubilee Centre. These meetings will be open to the public while simultaneously streaming live at rmwb.ca.
This schedule is not set in stone just yet as they will re-evaluate at the September 28th public meeting. They will be taking in to consideration the community’s need before making a final choice on a set amount of meetings.
The municipality also wants to remind citizens that they can interact with the committee through the Town Hall Meetings, Pulse Line at, 780-743-7000, online at rmwb.ca and on social media
The committee also heard updates on the Task Force and the Business and Economic Recovery Update.
Interim Recovery Team Leader, Dana Woodworth, took the time to point out the current priorities that the committee is taking.
This being Abasand, Beacon Hill, transitional housing for families who are trying to find a place to stay in the region after the wildfire, mental health and safety of workers.
He acknowledged the mental health of residents saying some people must recognize that they’re fighting a personal battle since coming back from the evacuation.
For safety precautions, they are encouraging workers to use the usual regulatory standards along with the safety measures mentioned in the demotion permits about the ash and soil.
As for Beacon Hill and Abasand, the municipality is still in talks with the Chief Medical Officer of Health with hopes that re-occupation could be coming back in the coming weeks.
The RMWB and the Government of Alberta are still doing deeper studies into measures to protect Waterways from flooding. So at this moment, there is no timetable for re-occupation in the area.
He also talked about the importance of stakeholder engagement not just to give out information to the community but to also receive vital information coming back from the residents.
Soon after hearing from Dana Woodworth, the committee was given a second update on the business and economic recovery from June 21st to August 17th.
Highlighted in the presentation was the Back to Business Resource Centre, the YMM Home Show, the additional funding that small businesses have received from the Government of Alberta, Red Cross and the RMWB as well as getting into detail about the three phases they have set in place on the recovery.
Phase One includes: The Wood Buffalo Business Hotline, Emergency Relief for Businesses, The Back to Business Resource Centre, Business Recovery Expositions and Refining the Phase Two Plans.
Phase Two includes: Small Business Financial Aid, Economic Impact Assessment Post-Wildfire, a Wood Buffalo Economic Development Strategy, Recovered Response and Recovery Activities and Refining Phase Three.
Acting Director of Economic Development, Keith Smith says the region is close to transitioning to Phase Two while working on Phase Three.
The committee is also encouraging residents to attend the first and second Information Sessions starting Thursday August 18th at the Suncor Community Leisure at MacDonald Island Park.
The second session, being held on August 20th, will be at the YMM Home Show also at MacDonald Island Park.
All the information gathered from these sessions will be posted on rmwb.ca/engage in the following days for the rest of the public to read.