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Town Hall Summary June 2nd

Fort McMurray, AB, Canada / MIX 103.7

Town Hall Summary June 2nd

Day 2 of the re-entry went very smoothly, thank you to everyone who returned today and follow instructions, took their time and did their part to make it a safe return for everyone.

Returning home to Fort McMurray could cause you to relive some of the moments from the evacuation, if you require mental health assistance there are Alberta Health Services reps at each information centre to help with whatever you may need. You can also call Health Link Alberta at 8-1-1 or the Mental Health Help Line 1-877-303-2642.

The hospital will be fully open on June 21st, as of now the diagnostic imaging, lab services, EMS and the emergency room are all functioning.

Again children under the age of 7 should NOT return to Fort McMurray at this time along with people who:

Have A chronic or acute medical condition, like asthma
Requiring regular primary care, specialist care, laboratory, or diagnostic services
Requiring counselling or mental health services
More than 36 weeks pregnant or a high-risk pregnancy
Receiving cancer treatment, dialysis, or other specialized medical services
Requiring home care, home oxygen or home health supports
Recently discharged from hospital or had a transplant

The boil water advisory is still in effect, do not ingest the water without first boiling it. The water IS safe to bath in and wash clothes.

Please limit use of laundry machines, dishwashers and showers as to no overload the waste water system.

Air quality has been good over the next few days, it may continue to fluctuate.

A re-entry package will be at your door when you return, it has all the information you might need along with advice from the Red Cross and Alberta Health Services.

Please visit the information centre in your area to get all the information you might need for your area of town.

Before entering your home , make sure you talk to your insurance provider to find out what the procedure is, the may ask you take pictures for your claim.

Make sure you have all of the things you will need before returning to Fort McMurray, bring a 14 day supply of food, prescription drugs, water, gas etc, there are places open here but have limited resources.

Traffic on Highways 63 and 881 will continue to increase, before you travel look get info at Alberta 511 for the latest road reports.

More and more services come back online as people continue to work hard to get their businesses running.  A link to all of the services available and the dates of when other will open can be found here.

There has been no cross contamination of chemicals and other hazards from the damaged areas of town into any other part of Fort McMurray.

Testing in all areas of town continues to be done of the air and soil, results will be made public soon.

If you are a renter make sure to contact your landlord before returning to make sure you can access your residence.

Please respect the 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)


Questions and Answers

Q – When will the rebuild in Beacon Hill Start?

A – It was announced today residents of the affected areas Beacon Hill, Abasand, Waterways, and Stone Creek will be granted access June 10th.  They are still in the reentry phase, the clean up phase and rebuild phase will be address at a later time.

Q – With all of the people who have lost there homes, or are unable to live in them due to damage, will there be enough interim housing in Fort McMurray to accommodate everyone?

A – They are working with property management companies to insure interim housing for those who need it.  The Red Cross has set up emergency housing for those who are in danger of becoming homeless, and there are hotels available for those who may need it.  Before accessing these, first see if you are able to stay with family or friends before you can arrange a long term housing option. For specific information on your situation call 310-4455.  Please do not return to Fort McMurray until you have secured a place to stay.

Q – Does the dishwater get hot enough to clean the dishes with the towns water that is under a boil water advisory?

A – Yes, if your unit has a heat cycle option or a sanitize options it will eliminate the bacteria in the water.  IF you do not have these, during the rinse cycle you can add bleach to insure the bacteria is killed and your dishes are safe to use.

Q – I have lost my job and got denied employment insurance, are there other options to supplement my income until I am able to get another job?

A – They recommend you contact Alberta works to help with income support, and to help find you a job.

Q – When will mail delivery be up and running in Fort McMurray, should I have my mail sent back there?

A – Canada Post estimates it will open its doors on June 10th, a plan is being put in place for mail delivery for those areas damaged by the fire.

Q – Will the Red Cross only be helping with transportation back to Fort McMurray during the reentry period?

A – The Red Cross will be there to help you with your return to Fort McMurray whenever you decide to return, visit your local Red Cross location, or call 1-888-539-6918 to arrange transportation.

Q – News organisations are saying the government is ignoring experts when it comes to air quality and contaminants being spread around the city. Is this true, are they ignoring the experts to get people back to Fort McMurray sooner than they should?

A – Safety of the public has always been the number 1 priority, if there was any doubt no one would be returning to Fort McMurray at this time.  They are constantly conducting tests on air quality, soil water and ash, there has been no evidence found on cross contamination.  They continue to say this is a voluntary reentry and certain people should not return:

children under the age of 7

Have A chronic or acute medical condition, like asthma
Requiring regular primary care, specialist care, laboratory, or diagnostic services
Requiring counselling or mental health services
More than 36 weeks pregnant or a high-risk pregnancy
Receiving cancer treatment, dialysis, or other specialized medical services
Requiring home care, home oxygen or home health supports
Recently discharged from hospital or had a transplant

No one wants anyone to enter Fort McMurray if its unsafe.

Q – Is there further financial support for those who are not returning to Fort McMurray due to health reasons or they do not feel it’s safe for them yet?

A – If you need you can apply for the:

Wildfire Evacuee Transitional Accommodation benefit to help cover the costs of temporary housing in Alberta. This funding will not limit other benefits like the debit card allowance, Income Support or Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped.

The benefit covers costs of rent, damage deposit, and utility connections for up to 90 days from the date of evacuation and may also apply to hotel room costs while evacuees arrange temporary housing.  Or you can contact the Red Cross or Alberta works offices to see how they may be able to assist you.

Q – Will there be additional garbage pickup in Fort McMurray due to the excess amount of food and damaged items?

A – The day after your zones reentry, there will be garbage collection in your zone, you will be able to use all three of your bins (black, light blue and dark blue) for garbage at that time.  Regular garbage pickup will resume June 15th.  Also the landfill has waved all fees for the entire month of June.

There are also temporary transfer stations set up around town.

Q – Where are all of the donations from the people around the world, why are they not here for the residents?

A – A donation management plan has been approved,  all donations are collected and kept in Edmonton until they are needed then they will be sent to Fort McMurray.

Q – Is your employer allowed to fire you or say you quit because you do not wish to return to Fort McMurray at this time?

A – For specifics on your rights, and what your employeur can do call 310-4455, here is a link to the Workers Rights of Canada

Q – Will the home that are still standing in the damaged areas be destroyed as a result of contamination?

A – This has not yet been discussed, it will be part of the cleanup phase after reentry has been completed.

Q – My landlord has raised my rent and said if I refuse to pay it they will not clean up my unit of smoke damage or replace to fridge.  Is this price gouging and threat to evict allowed?

A – It was announced today all hotels, leasing services, rental properties and work camps must use the same price they were charging April 30th 2016.  If anyone has raised prices contact Pulse Wood Buffalo at 780-743-7000 to make a complaint and they will be investigated and have action taken against them.

Q – How far away from Fort McMurray is the fire?

A – This is a tough question to answer, the fire is not at 581 695 hectares in size.  It causes no threat to Fort McMurray or surrounding areas at this time.  There are still hot spot all over the fire area that are being taken care of _Andrew

Q – When will we be able to go look throw our houses in the damaged zones with insurance adjusters?

A – June 10th is when you will be able to enter Beacon Hill, Abasand, Water Ways and the other damaged areas of town, details on exactly whats going to happen will be released shortly.

Q – Is there testing being done in Saprae Creek as well as Fort McMurray?

A – Yes testing is being done in all areas, and will be released to the public soon.

Q – I have found ash in my home blown around while the fire was burning, is there a place I could bring it to have tested to see if there are contaminants present?

A – If you have ash in your home talk to your insurance provider as this will have to be part of your claim, the Insurance Bureau of Canada will release a list of independent testing labs you can call soon.

Q – If I rent a room or suite in my home, will we all be considered part of the same household for the new funding being given by the Red Cross?

A – If you registered with the Red Cross separately then you will be considered separate families or individuals with the same address and all receive the funding.

Q – Will there be steps put in place to assure the school will all be safe for children to return to in the fall?

A – The school will be cleaned and inspected to make sure they will be safe for the kids to return in the fall.

Q – Can I park my RV on my property and rebuild or fix my home?

A – There is a bylaw in Fort McMurray saying living in an RV on your property is restricted to 2 weeks.  They are working on RV staging areas around town Abrahams Landing will be one of them, as of now it is unserviced, but they are working on getting services to it.

Q – Is there assistance from the Red Cross to drive back to Fort McMurray?

A – For travel assistance visit your local Red Cross office or call 1-888-539-6918.

Q – Will the reentry of damage areas on June 10th include the removal of fridges and freezers?

A – More exact details on the plans for those areas will be released soon

Q – Is it possible to make an appointment prior to June 10th to make sure my insurance adjuster will be able to come in with me into the damaged zone?

A – Yes call you insurance adjuster as soon as you can to secure an appointment.

Q – Are there things being done to prevent looting or break and enters?

A – There are 60 local RCMP officers and 90 additional members from accross Canada doing patrols, roving check stops and answering complaints.   Social media has blown the amount of looting out of proportion, there have been a few complaints submitted with most unfounded.

Q – Will the soil be put back to the same levels it was before the fire, or will it be put back to minimum code?

A – They do not have the information on this at this time.

Q – When is the proper time to put my fridge on the curb?

A – Any day before 3 pm you can put your fridge on the curb to be picked up, after 3 pm there will be no more pickups for that day.

Q – Why did Slave Lake have temporary housing set up right away, and why isn’t all the information for the damaged zones being released right now why do we have to wait to know what’s going on?

A – In the case of the Slave Lake fire, they did not have nearly as much vacant housing as Fort McMurray does or the amount of hotels in the area.  Details on the reentry of the damaged zones is being made public as soon as they are finished, plans are being worked on constantly to insure the safety of all residents.

Q – Can I go see my home in Stone Creek?

A – Only the badly damaged area of Stone Creek is fenced off and will be accessible on June 10th, homes around the fenced off area are accessible at this time.

Q – Why is my insurance company making me pay up front for my new fridge, but my neighbour is getting his money first to go buy a new one?

A – When it comes to home insurance no two policies are alike, they are all different and made up on a case by case basis depending on your provider, your neighbour has a different policy than you do and a different way of doing things.  For information on your policy and any insurance questions you may have, you can call 1-844-227-5422 the Insurance Bureau of Canada.

Q – Will everyone be receiving the same amount of financial aid from the Red Cross?

A – No, everyone is eligible for the initial email transfers of 600$ per adult plus 300$ per dependent, and now the reentry funding of 300$ plus 50$ per member of the household.  The other funding will be given on a case by case basis, if you are in need of additional funding please contact the Red Cross at 1-888-350-6070.

Q – Will Centennial RV Park be accessible on June 10th as well?

A – The June 10th reentry date refers to all areas damaged by the fire, more details on exactly what will happen with the reentry will be released soon.

Q – Will we be able to go through the debris to see if there is anything salvageable?

A – Part of the June 10th reentry for the damaged areas people will be able to request item searches of their property, these searches will be done by a trained individual with the proper personal protective equipment.  Individuals will NOT be allowed to search through the debris left by the fire, it is too dangerous.

Make sure you contact your landlord prior to your return to Fort McMurray to make sure you have a secure place to stay.

If you require mental help please get it by contacting the 1 24-hour Mental Health Help Line at 1-877-303-2642 or
811 Health Link Alberta.  There is mental health help at all of the 8 information centres around town.




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