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RMWB Wildfire Recovery Information

The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB) is pleased to share a Progress Report on work that has been conducted in order to permit the safe return of residents to standing homes in the restricted areas of Abasand and Beacon Hill.

Significant progress has been made across Fort McMurray with fortified fencing, additional tackifier, infrastructure assessments and water flushing all underway in preparation for returning residents. The safety of residents has remained the primary focus of the re-entry and re-building process. 

“The RMWB is in the process of finalizing our safety mitigation plan, which includes feedback from Alberta Health Services (AHS) and the Chief Medical Officer of Health (CMOH), to reinforce how residents will be kept safe during debris removal,” said Chris Graham, Deputy Director of Emergency Management. “We are optimistic the measures we have outlined will allow some residents of Abasand and Beacon Hill to return to homes in some parts of those affected neighbourhoods in August.” 

This represents the next step of the phased re-entry, which began on June 1. The final phase of re-entry, which includes residents of all remaining standing homes, will follow the debris removal process and is anticipated to be complete by September 30, 2016. 

The RMWB is not issuing development or building permits for Abasand, Beacon Hill and Waterways at this time. In accordance with Bylaw No. 16/011, Section 34, the Chief Medical Officer of Health must first advise, in writing, that an affected area or portion of one of these neighbourhoods is fit for habitation and subsequent rebuild prior to issuing development or building permits.

However, applications for demolition permits are being accepted and issued for Abasand, Beacon Hill and Waterways.  Following demolition, residents and/or their agents are encouraged to complete the application process for development and building permits to ensure they can be promptly issued once the Chief Medical Officer of Health’s restrictions are lifted. To date, 166 Demolition Permit applications have been received and 127 permits have been issued. 

The RMWB expects to deliver a final plan to the CMOH for consideration by the end of July. The role of the CMOH is to ensure public health and safety and the RMWB, AHS and the Government of Alberta (GOA) continue to work together to meet the expectations laid out by the CMOH.

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