The meeting clarified the Government of Alberta’s re-entry support for evacuated residents of the northern Alberta Metis settlement, which began on Thursday, June 20.
“Our thoughts are with the Paddle Prairie Metis Settlement residents as they return home. It is not just the loss of home and buildings that is devastating, but the loss of a way of life: traplines, decades-old timber, hunting grounds and other traditional harvesting means. We realize the significance and will do what we can to support the residents of Paddle Prairie through this trying time.”
Strong collaboration with the Paddle Prairie Metis Settlement Council and the Metis Settlements General Council has made possible the safe return of hundreds of residents.
“We are very grateful for the effort put forward by the Honourable Minister of Indigenous Relations, Rick Wilson, for his advocacy and continual communication throughout this ordeal. I extend my utmost gratitude for receiving an audience with Minister Wilson and his colleagues, Honourable Devin Dreeshen, Honourable Rajan Sawhney, Honourable Kaycee Madu, and representatives from the Premier’s office, recognizing that these ministers had been working tirelessly all evening and still made time to meet with us first thing in the morning. Together, we are working on a multitude of initiatives to mitigate the impact this disaster has had on the residents of the Paddle Prairie Metis Settlement.”
“We thank the local council for working with us through this difficult time. Our government is committed to supporting the settlement while they assess what their long-term needs could be. Paddle Prairie, along with other communities affected by these wildfires, has been approved for a Disaster Recovery Program, which includes compensation for firefighting costs, food, physical and mental health care, and temporary housing – in addition to wildfire evacuation payments.”
As firefighters continue to contain the blazes, they are assessing the safe return for all evacuated residents.
“Alberta Wildfire will continue to support the people of Paddle Prairie Metis Settlement and all the northern communities affected by this year’s fires. I am proud of the incredible firefighters and support staff working in this difficult wildfire season. We appreciate the cooperation from the people of Paddle Prairie as they return home. On the road to recovery, our government will continue to work with the Metis Settlements General Council.”
Those who have been displaced by wildfire will have safe places to return to until permanent housing is available.
“The Ministry of Seniors and Housing has visited the Paddle Prairie Metis Settlement to assess the 16 properties affected. We are working with them to determine options for both interim and permanent housing of the residents who have had their homes destroyed by the wildfire.”
Financial and non-monetary supports for all evacuated residents will help to ease the transition back to their communities.
“During the evacuation, we provided Paddle Prairie residents with over $443,000 in support payments to nearly all evacuees. Those who did not receive their payments can still apply. We are grateful for the first responders, volunteers and Community and Social Services staff who have offered their supports to the community during this difficult time.”