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Frustrating and Emotional End for Wood Buffalo Recovery Committee

Fort McMurray, AB, Canada / MIX 103.7
Frustrating and Emotional End for Wood Buffalo Recovery Committee

It was an emotional end to the Wood Buffalo Recovery Committee.

On Wednesday, they held their last meeting after council voted to dissolve the committee and take over their responsibilities.

For some of the members it was an emotional end and for others, it was a frustrating one.

“I don’t believe it was the right time at all, there is lots of work that needs to be done so I don’t agree with dissolving early,” said Committee Member Marty Giles.

He notes a recent conversation with the mayor of Slave Lake suggests, before this construction season is over, there could be more surprises to come.

As the doors close on the WBRC, the biggest project still on the minds of a few members is the East Clearwater Highway. Back in May, Premier Rachel Notley told reporters they’re contributing $5 million for pre-design of the project. This is in addition to the $5 million committed by the RMWB.

For Giles and Committee Chair Jeanette Bancarz, this was the biggest project the committee tackled and will need more work done by council.

“Having that alternate dangerous good route is critical to our community’s safety going forward and that will be a long-term project and it will be the biggest, costliest decision for the municipality,” added Bancarz.

The recovery has seen a lot of positives over the past year from the re-occupation of Abasand, Beacon Hill, and Waterways, to the first permit issued and the first rebuild to be completed.

However, the proudest part of the job for Bancarz was how they were able to engage with the community.

“Our absolute best decisions, in my opinion, came from our residents so they made suggestions to the right people and that was one of the beauties of our sub-committees.”

Both members say they will still be active in the community’s recovery with Giles hinting of becoming a regular delegate at council’s meetings.

“It has been an honourĀ and privilegeĀ to serve those who were impacted by the wildfire and I’m immensely proud of the contributions of the committee,” added Bancarz.

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