First Nation awaits relocation following spring floods

Published: April 17, 2019

Updated: April 19, 2019

Author: Luke Jones

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A First Nation community that was impacted by spring floods in northern Ontario will be relocated, the government promised this week.

Spring floods were stronger than normal at the Kashechewan First Nation community and a new permanent location for its 2,500 members, although the Federal Government has yet to decide on where.

Kashechewan First Nation is located just north of Fort Albany, but it seems the 2,500 members will not remain together. In fact, the members are being sent to other locations through Ontario. NDP MP Charlie Angus says spring floods in Kashechewan are typical, but this year had been harder than normal.

Many members of the First Nation may question the government as it has been promising to relocate the community to higher ground for some time.

“This year, there is a lot of bitterness among people because it is just another broken promise, just another year of flooding and just another year of mass evacuations,” Angus said.

Angus says he is committed to creating a new community over the next five to 10 years. He says the millions the government spends on evacuations, fixing flood damage, and repairing mitigation infrastructure could be better spent on a permanent relocation.

“The plan was, ‘Let’s divert that money and start to actually build, piece by piece, a new community,” Angus said. However, he says there is no money in the federal budget for this commitment.

“This is all just talk,” he said. “Good words and promises from the government will not get this community to safe ground. You need the financial commitment for infrastructure and it is not there.”

This weekend, the chief and council declared a state of emergency.