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Recovery Milestones: Phase 2B Re-Entry to Begin Immediately, Permitting Fees Waived

(Fort McMurray, AB – November 4, 2016) Residents of 169 Abasand and 55 Beacon Hill homes can return home effective immediately, following a new recommendation from Dr. Karen Grimsrud, Chief Medical Officer of Health (CMOH).  

Security checkpoints in Abasand and Beacon Hill are no longer active and all green homes in the region are accessible to residents, marking a significant milestone in the ongoing recovery effort. Residents of Abasand and Beacon Hill who have already returned are encouraged to welcome their neighbours home. Mobile security patrols will continue in all damaged areas until further notice.

While the Phase 2B re-entry begins immediately, an Information Centre will be open in the gymnasium of Father Beauregard School (255 Athabasca Avenue) on Monday, November 7, 2016, from noon to 8 p.m. This schedule was chosen to ensure that residents have access to their properties as soon as is possible and to give external support groups time to organize so that they can provide the best possible service to residents on Monday.  

“On behalf of the Wood Buffalo Recovery Committee and Task Force, I’d like to share our gratitude to our returning residents for their patience and resilience. The Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Government of Alberta and Alberta Health Services have been indispensable in this process and we are very excited to welcome the last residents of restricted areas home permanently. As a community in recovery, we look forward to the continued safe rebuilding of our neighbourhoods with a goal of building back better.”
— Jeanette Bancarz, Chair, Wood Buffalo Recovery Committee

“I am humbled by the resolve of our residents during this difficult process and am grateful to all those involved in the recovery of our community. It is exciting to turn the page on demolition and focus ourselves on the task of rebuilding. The determination that is characteristic of this region, dating back to the first people of the land, is part of the DNA of people in the north and I have no question that our community will rebuild stronger than before.”
— Mayor Melissa Blake

“My November 4 recommendations to allow the full re-entry to Abasand and Beacon Hill recognizes the diligent work the municipality has done to protect returning residents from harm. As the community continues to rebuild, I encourage everyone to keep health and well-being top of mind. Each person’s journey after a traumatic event is different, and I encourage residents to access the health and community-based supports available to help you.”
— Dr. Karen Grimsrud, Chief Medical Officer of Health

Residential Waste Update for Phase 2B

Residents in Phase 2B will have the opportunity to dispose of residential waste free of charge at any of a number of bins located around their neighbourhoods. Beginning November 5, waste bins will be available at the following locations until further notice:

Beacon Hill

  • Beaver Ridge Close
  • Beaconsfield Road
  • Beaconwood Place

Abasand - North

  • Corner of Athabasca Ave & Ryan Lane
  • Corner of Athabasca Ave & Robinson Lane
  • Corner of Athabasca Ave & Richardson Lane
  • Corner of Athabasca Ave & Roy Lane

Abasand - South

  • Arsenault Crescent
  • Athabasca Ave
  • Corner of Athabasca Ave & Astum Court
  • Alpine Court
  • Corner of Aurora Place & Amren Drive
  • Aime Court

Tipping fees for residential household waste were reinstated on November 1, 2016. Residents and contractors are reminded that effective November 4, 2016, the landfill will return to regular operational hours from 8:15 a.m. to 5:45 p.m., seven days a week.

Returning residents are encouraged to contact their natural gas retailer as soon as possible to have heating service restored. When temperatures dip below zero, there could be freezing of water pipes at their property, which can cause damage through the winter months. Heating standing homes helps to prevent against this kind of damage.

For more information about the scheduled re-entry, visit www.rmwb.ca/ABW.

Permitting Fees Update

Effective Monday, Nov. 7, all permit fees and Safety Code levies associated with rebuilding structures destroyed as a result of the 2016 wildfire will no longer be required for in-person applications. Online applications will continue to require payment of fees until system changes can be implemented – these fees will be refunded at a later date.

Permitting fees and Safety Code levies that have been paid to date by a qualified resident will be reimbursed by the Municipality (includes fees paid by a contractor acting on behalf of a resident). In order to receive a refund cheque in the mail, qualified property owners will be required to provide proof of identification and an updated mailing address. Residents must submit the required documentation to Planning & Development, located on the first floor of the Timberlea Landing building (309 Powder Drive).

Property owners will save an average of $3,500, which is estimated to total approximately $3.2 million in 2016.

These costs will be split between the Municipality and the Canadian Red Cross.

For more information on the permit fee exemptions, please visit www.rmwb.ca/rebuild.


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All Winter Maintenance Zones relaxed Feb. 24 - 28.