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Town Hall Summary May 31st

Fort McMurray, AB, Canada / MIX 103.7

Town Hall Summary May 31st

Update from Premier Rachel Notley

All 5 re-entry conditions have been met
– Wildfire is no longer an imminent threat to the community
– Critical infrastructure is repaired to provide basic service
– Essential services, such as fire, EMS, police and healthcare are restored to a basic level
– Hazardous areas are secure. There are 100 truckloads of fencing being sent to Fort McMurray.
– Local government is re-established

Voluntary re-entry will begin tomorrow June 1st at 8 a.m.

Your help is needed to make sure the re-entry is done safely, please respect the zoned re-entry and the dates for each zone.

Re-entry schedule
– Zone 1: Lower Townsite, Anzac, Fort McMurray 468 First Nation, Gregoire Lake Estates (June 1)
– Zone 2: Parsons Creek, Stone Creek, Timberlea, Eagle Ridge, Dickensfield (June 2)
– Zone 3: Thickwood, Wood Buffalo (June 3)
– Zone 4(a): Gregoire, Prairie Creek, Saprae Creek Estates (June 3)
– Zone 4(b):Grayling Terrace, Draper (June 4)
– Waterways, Abasand, Beacon Hill (delayed until remediation and clean-up has been completed by the municipality)

If you enter your zone prior to the re-entry date you will not have access to services like gas until your re-entry date.
Safety of residents has always been the number 1 priority of everyone, and still is. Constant checks are being done to make sure all 5 re-entry criteria are in place.

Do your part to help with re-entry by having a plan of your own
– If you rent contact your landlord to see if it will be possible to enter your home on the re-entry date.
– Bring all the supplies you will need for a period of 14 days (food, clothes, water etc. Refer to re-entry booklet)
– Drive safe and abide by all laws of the road, Red Cross is busing in an average of 2000 people per day.
– Go to the information center in your area to get all the info you will need and to check in with the Red Cross, they will be handing out clean up kits, Atco, cable and internet companies, the Insurance Bureau of Canada, health and safety inspectors, Alberta Health Services representatives, and many more organisations will be at these information centers to help you


Questions and Answers

Q – How long will the information centers be running?
A – All 7 information centers will be open from June 1st to the 15th from 8 a.m. to 8.p.m. after the 15th the two main info centers located at Westwood High school and Compostie high school will be open indefinitely.

Q – With the soil, ash and air tests finding asbestos and other toxins, is it truly safe to return home?
A – All of the experts have put public safety at top priority, if there was any reason at all it may be unsafe to return, you wouldn’t be. They are confident it is safe to return for healthy adults and children over 7 years old.

Q – Will there be designated areas in town for people to park campers to live in for those who have lots their homes, or are in the areas such as Abasand, Beacon Hill, and Water Ways.
A – As of now interim housing is being worked on but will not be ready by June first, there is a by-law in place restricting camper living on your property to 2 weeks, this is being looked at.
If you do not have a place to stay secured before your re e-entry date DO NOT return to Fort McMurray , make sure you get a place to stay before returning.

Q – When will people outside of Alberta get access to the debit card funding?
A – Starting tomorrow June 1st and going until June 15th offices will be opening up across Canada for those evacuees who left Alberta. An email is being sent out to everyone out of province telling you where to go. You will go to an office register for the funding, your info will be entered, and within 2 days your relief debit card will be sent to your nearest Canada Post office.
If you plan on returning to Alberta, you can still pick up your debit card at an Alberta Works office, there is no deadline for these cards.

Q – What time will Highway 63 open for re-entry into Fort McMurray?
A – Re-entry will begin at 8 a.m. to coincide with the hours of operation for the Information Centers ( 8 am to 8 pm)

Q – I will not be returning to Fort McMurray during the voluntary re-entry due to health concerns, or my kids, or my home was lost. My insurance company said my mass evacuation coverage will not be extended why is this when the mandatory evacuation notice is still in place?
A – Mass evacuation coverage by insurance companies has a limit, whether it is a dollar amount or a set amount of days (usually 30) it is running out, you can talk to your provider and try to see if they will extend this coverage for you.
If you live in an area inaccessible due to the toxins but your home is still intact you may be eligible for the prohibited access funds of your policy. You must talk to your insurance provider to see what exactly your policy entails.

Q – In the areas that are not accessible due to safety concerns, will there be a time designated to search for anything that has survived?
A – They are working on this, if you think something may have survived the fire in your home, like a fireproof safe or lockbox or gun case even they as that you register for item retrieval at, they will be looking at the claims on a case by case manor and if there is a high probability your item could have survived the fire they will send a trained professional in with all of the proper ppe and equipment to retrieve it.

Q – Is it safe for my kitten to return to the city and play outside?
A – One of the main concerns for pets, is the ash or dust on the ground so just clean up your yard so it’s safe for them outside.

Q – I am renting a room in a house, will I be considered part of the members in the household and there for not receive the re-entry funding from the Red Cross?
A – If you registered separately from the others in the home then you will get your full funding as well.

Q – My back yard is completely covered in fire retardant is it safe for my kids to be around it?
A – If your kids are under the age of 7, or are still in school they recommend to not bring them back to Fort McMurray. The fire retardant is environmentally friendly; however, it can cause skin rashes and should not be ingested or come into contact with your eyes.
Damage caused by fire fighting efforts such as fire retardant, fire blocks (tearing down fences garages etc) water damage caused by fire prevention are all covered by your insurance.

Q – When is the re-entry date for Gregoire?
A – Gregoire is part of Zone 4a, it’s re-entry date is June 3rd

Q – My landlord is not allowing me to enter my place during re-entry, why?
A – Some landlords are going to be returning for themselves for the first time during the voluntary re-entry, for liability reasons they have to go inspect the properties to make sure it’s safe for you to occupy. This also goes for WBHDC tenants they are not allowing you to return to your unit as of yet, so do not return to Fort McMurray you will not be able to access your home until they have completed all of their checks. Contact your landlord to make sure you are able to enter your home.

Q – Will there be banks open for June 1st?
A – Yes, 8 banks will be open starting June 1st with more opening in the coming days and weeks.

Q – What is the time lime for the opening of Peter Pond Mall?
A – Progress is being made on all of the store in the mall, it could possibly open sometime this week or next.

Q – Do you have to go to an information center as soon as you get into town, or can you go home first then go to the information center after?
A – You are able to do both, if you wish to go straight to your home you can then make sure you go get the information, clean up kits and check in with Red Cross at the Information Center. Or if you wish to go to the information centers first then go home you can, it is up to you.

Q – Will all of the tests being done be made public?
A – Yes, soon the testing and results of all the areas in Fort McMurray will be released to the general public.

Q – Are we allowed to return to Fort McMurray after the re-entry date of our zone?
A – Yes, after your zone re-entry date has happened, you are able to enter Fort McMurrray whenever you wish.

Q – For the homes still standing in the uninhabitable zones, will we be allowed to go collect some things and assess the damages?
A – Efforts are being made to allow this to happen, planning is still being done to designate times people will be escorted in to these areas to go into your home, once these dates and times are announced, contact your insurance adjuster to enter with you.

Q – If you have to use hand sanitizer with a 60% alcohol content after washing your hands with the water, why is it ok to bathe in it?
A – It is important to use the sanitzer on your hands after washing them with the water, because you use your hands to prepare food, to eat, you touch your face, eyes and mouth many many times a day, and you don’t want to spread bacteria that may be in the water.

Q – Is there an estimated travel time from Edmonton to Fort McMurray during re-entry?
A – With the amount of people returning and the sheer volume of traffic on highway 63 all at one time it could take 7 or eight hours to get to Fort McMurray, please drive safe and follow all of the rules of the road. Be courteous and do your part to make sure everyone returns home safely.

Q – Is it safe for my child to return to Fort McMurray at this time?
A – It is NOT recommended for children under 7, anyone who has a pre-existing health condition requiring regular doctor visits, those who have respiratory problems or the elderly to return at this time.

There are 2 factors to consider for bringing your kids back to Fort McMurray
– There will only be basic health services in Fort McMurray until at least June 21st
– Air quality could change at any moment and affect your children’s lungs

Q- Is it true those who are in Wood Buffalo Housing are not allowed to return to their home in Fort McMurray yet?
A – Yes, this is true, they are still going through their properties to make sure it’s safe to return and live in your home. As of now they are not allowing you to return to their properties. A list of openings will be made available soon. They will announce when it will be ok to return to your home. Contact WBHDC if you have any questions.

Q – Is there a date for day cares and children’s centers to be open?
A – It is not recommend bringing children under 7 years old into town yet; day cares and children’s services are preparing to open when they are able to.

Q – I am not going back to Fort McMurray yet due to my asthma; my insurance coverage is almost out, what should I do?
A – If you require further assistance, contact the Red Cross they will be doing case by case evaluations and may be able to help you financially with what you need. Talk to you insurance provider about what can be done to maybe extend your coverage.
Coming into town and seeing the devastation first hand may really take a toll on your mental health. Get the help you need, Alberta Health Services reps will be all of the information centers around town, call health link Alberta at 8-1-1, or call the mental health help line at 1-877-303-2642.

Make sure you check in with the Red Cross at the information centers when returning to Fort McMurray.
A big thing is to be safe on the road, you will be looking at all of the changes, the damage the devastation from the fire as you drive into town, please please be cautious, there will be lots of traffic on the road lots of people looking at the surrounding area and not exactly paying attention to the road, let’s make sure everyone gets home safe by taking your time on the road and obeying the traffic laws.
And please follow the re-entry schedule it is put in place for a reason, do you part and let’s make this re-entry a safe and proper one for all

Red Cross offering housing for displaced residents.

To qualify, residents need to go to an Information Centre and meet with the Red Cross. There they will do a needs assessment to determine if you are at risk of being homeless. Those who are determined to be sufficiently at risk qualify for this housing. It isn’t something that all residents qualify for, and we hope that residents who have other options leave those limited spaces for people who really need them.

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