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RMWB Wildfire Recovery Information

The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo has released another recovery progress report.

Council and Wood Buffalo Recovery Committee Updates

On Tuesday, Sept. 20, Council voted unanimously in favour of removing obstacles to rebuilding in fire affected neighbourhoods, including costs and safety restrictions.

Council also voted unanimously in favour of repealing Bylaw 16/011, which prevented the start of rebuilding in the neighbourhoods of Abasand, Beacon Hill and Waterways, until the Province’s Chief Medical Officer of Health deems these areas fit for human habitation. Council approved that the Chief Administrative Officer and the Interim Recovery Team Leader work together to develop a recommendation on compensation for owners of the 53 properties damaged during the firefighting operations by October 4, 2016.

At the Wood Buffalo Recovery Committee (WBRC) meeting last night, members of the Canadian Red Cross and United Way informed the community that more than $50 million in funding will soon be available for local charities, non-profits and community organizations to assist with recovery.

The WBRC also welcomed a presentation from the newly formed NGO’s Supporting Uninsured, Underinsured Recovery (NSUUR) Group, who presented an idea to gather organizations across the region to join together and help these property owners with financial assistance troubles. NSUUR Group includes the following organizations: Habitat for Humanity, Mennonite Disaster, World Renew, Samaritan’s Purse and Fuse Social, the Canadian Red Cross, Wood Buffalo Housing & Development, Money Mentors, Bankers & Mortgage Insurers and Local Builders.

Residents are encouraged to review the full Council and Committee Meeting Minutes and Recaps at rmwb.ca/council.

Programs and Other Initiatives

Last week, Wood Buffalo Economic Development – in partnership with the Government of Alberta – announced the Back to Business Coaching Program. The free program is dedicated to setting up local businesses for success. Businesses must meet the following to be eligible for the program:

  • Participant to be at least 50 per cent owner of the business. The owner also has the option to designate a staff member on their behalf.
  • Operating within the region prior to May 3, 2016.
  • Currently located or headquartered within the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo.

Demolition and Debris Removal

Demolition and debris removal is continuing across the community:

Date Demo Permits Received Demo Permits Approved Demo Inspections Completed Rebuild Permits
Sept. 22 1,565 1,526 418 77
Sept. 15 1,506 1,450 319 67
Sept. 8 1,456 1,400 279 53
Sept. 1 1,403 1,333 227 41
Aug. 25 1,270 1,248 197 10
Aug. 18 1,167 1,083 142 6
Aug. 11 1,059 827 N/A 0
Aug. 4 732 419 51 0

Here for You: Public Information Sessions

Residents are reminded of upcoming engagement opportunities in the community:

  • Today, Sept. 22, 2016, from 4 to 8 p.m. at Shell Place at MacDonald Island Park, with a focus on recovery for the uninsured and underinsured. Representatives from various social profit organizations will deliver updates and provide information to residents on programs and services available.
  • Sept. 29, 2016, from 4 to 8 p.m. at Shell Place at MacDonald Island Park, focusing on the "Wildfire Recovery Overlay." This would apply to the most heavily fire-damaged areas – Abasand, Beacon Hill, Stone Creek, Wood Buffalo, and the portion of Waterways that lies above the flood hazard zone. The Public Hearing for the amendment will take place Sept. 27, 2016.

The Municipality – in partnership with the Wood Buffalo Recovery Committee, Task Force, subject matter experts, and various stakeholders – will host formal presentations both weeks at 4:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. These presentations will be livestreamed on the Municipality’s Facebook page. Residents will be able to ask questions through the Facebook stream comment section, to be incorporated into the in-person Q&A portion of the presentation.

In an ongoing effort to bring information to residents and to gather feedback on recovery, the Municipality will be staffing a ‘Here for You’ booth at the Fort McMurray Tourism Fall Trade Show, held at MacDonald Island Park from Friday, Sept. 23 – Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016. In addition, Jeanette Bancarz, Chair of the Wood Buffalo Recovery Committee, will present at the ‘Ask an Expert’ sessions, from 11 a.m. – 12 noon, on both Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, and Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016.

A further Progress Report will be issued on Thursday, Sept. 29, 2016.

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