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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, September 27, Council approved 12 measures that will offer varying levels of financial relief for residents affected by the wildfire. The total cost savings to provide residents relief will be more than $11 million, with some of the costs covered through the province’s Disaster Recovery Program and collaboration with various social profit organizations including the Canadian Red Cross..

Council also unanimously approved the second and third readings of the Wildfire Recovery Overlay (Bylaw No. 16/020). The change will positively impact rebuilding in Stone Creek, Wood Buffalo, Abasand, Beacon Hill, and the areas of Waterways that are above the flood hazard area. The amendment ensures residents are able to rebuild their homes to the exact footprint that their home had prior to the wildfire, allow construction of detached residential dwelling units on narrow lots, minimize the risk of ‘orphaned lots’ and allow property owners to start construction immediately after receiving development approval. The amendment was developed in collaboration with residents and the Abasand Rebuild Committee.

At the Wood Buffalo Recovery Committee (WBRC) meeting last night, Committee members unanimously supported a recommendation to Council to appoint interim Wood Buffalo Recovery Task Force Team Leader Dana Woodworth to the position permanently for the duration of the recovery.

The WBRC also voted to continue hosting weekly meetings, however they will start at 5 p.m. instead of 6 p.m., effective Wednesday, October 5, 2016. The WBRC will re-evaluate the schedule again on October 25, 2016 based on community need.

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

Demolition and Clean-up

Homeowners with destroyed properties are reminded that September 30, 2016 is the deadline to remove and lawfully dispose of structural ash and steel from their lots. Homeowners must have the necessary permits and begin work to clean-up their property by Sept. 30 or the Municipality will arrange for its contractors to complete the work on behalf of the homeowner.

Understanding that some residents may have encountered delays in their plans, the Municipality will allow extra time if work has started. Specifically, if there is evidence of stockpiling and removal of steel on the property on Sept. 30, the Municipality will assume that clean-up has started and will only take steps to complete the work if clean-up remains unfinished by Oct. 17.

Owners are urged to contact their insurance representative to formalize the details of their clean-up if they haven’t already. Those who are under-insured or not insured should contact the Canadian Red Cross at 1-888-553-5505 for assistance or visit their office in the Future Forward Building at 9816 Hardin Street. Owners should also confirm completion dates with their contractor to make sure the Municipality’s deadlines are met.

For more information about demolition and clean-up of properties, visit the Rebuilding the Community section of the Wildfire Recovery website at www.rmwb.ca/demolition.

Landfill Hours

Yesterday, the Municipality announced that the municipal landfill’s hours of operations for commercial haulers are being scaled back, effective Friday, September 30, 2016. Today, Thursday, September 29, 2016 will be the last night the landfill will operate through the evening and will then be open daily from 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. for both residents and commercial haulers.

The Municipality has reduced the landfill’s hours to reflect the reduced amount of daily incoming commercial haul traffic after 8 p.m. The Municipality also reports that demolition clean-up by SPECS is on schedule to meet the September 30 deadline. As of September 27, 2016, 548 demolition inspections have been completed.

Tipping fees continue to be waived for residential household waste until October 31, 2016, while commercial haulers are required to follow the landfill weigh scale requirements.

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. 29 1,613 1,575 551 108
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

Telephone Town Halls

Due to often complex resident questions and an increase in personal questions from residents, the last Telephone Town Hall will take place this Monday, October 3, 2016. Residents are encouraged to call the Pulse Line (780-743-7000), email recovery@rmwb.ca or attend the weekly Here for You Information Sessions to ask their individual questions.

Here for You: Public Information Sessions

Residents are reminded of upcoming engagement opportunities in the community:

  • Today, September 29, 2016, from 4 to 8 p.m. at Shell Place at MacDonald Island Park, focusing on the ‘Wildfire Recovery Overlay’. The Municipality 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.
  • Monday October 3, 2016, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Anzac Community Hall 6, with a focus on general recovery updates.
  • Thursday October 6, 2016, from 4 to 8 p.m. at Jubilee Plaza, with a focus on general recovery updates.

A further Progress Report will be issued on Thursday, October 6, 2016.

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