Hay River reopens to everyone but many homes may not be habitable

Last modified: May 15, 2022 at 8:07pm

The Town of Hay River says all residents are now free to return after the week’s extensive flooding, but many services are down and homes may not be fit to live in.

Issuing its reopening plan, the town said anyone can return from 6pm on Sunday, May 15 but residents will need to decide whether their home is safe to occupy.

The town assigned zones to areas of Hay River: green for areas where everything is working, yellow if one key service is compromised, and orange where there are multiple issues.


“All residents will be permitted to return,” the town stated shortly before 6pm on Sunday. “However, in some areas one or more critical service will not be available and some areas remain inaccessible.

“It is critical that returning residents understand the specific services which are available at their property when deciding as to when it is appropriate to return.”

More: Read the Hay River reopening plan, zone by zone

The plan, the town said, “does not consider risks that may be the result of individual property damage caused by flooding.”

Private property holders, the statement added, “will need to schedule assessments of their property to ensure [they are] safe to occupy.”


The town directed residents to an NWT government checklist that can be used to help you assess your property and return home safely. An updated version of the NWT government’s disaster assistance policy will be revealed on Monday – we’ll bring you a full guide to that on this website once it’s available.

After this article was first published, the Kátł’odeeche First Nation issued an update of its own that recommended residents of the reserve stay away for the time being.

Which zone are you in?

The Town of Hay River’s reopening plan uses a zone system to indicate the level of damage to municipal infrastructure and services in each area of the community.

Green Zone


In this zone, the town said, all utility and infrastructure systems are working.

  • Mile 5
  • McRorie Rd south through Miron Drive
  • Corridor excluding Paradise Gardens (see below)
  • 553 including Saskatoon and Cranberry
  • Industrial area
  • West Channel Bridge to Airport
  • Downtown core and highway commercial premises between Northwestel and the Boardroom restaurant

Schools in the green zone will remain closed for the time being, the town said.

Yellow Zone

In this zone, the town said, one utility or infrastructure system is compromised.

  • McRorie Rd to the West Channel Bridge (excluding Riverview Dr, Beaver Cres, Caribou Cres, Gaetz Drive and the downtown core)

In this zone, lift station one is offline and submerged. The town expects at least four or five days will be needed to access the lift station and begin a mechanical assessment.

Orange Zone

In this zone, the town said, multiple systems are not working.

  • On Riverview Drive, Beaver Crescent, Caribou Crescent and Gaetz Drive, roads are inaccessible and restoring access will take at least three to five days after the ravine is dewatered. Meanwhile, these streets are affected by lift station one being offline for most of the next week at least.
  • Paradise Gardens has considerable damage to the road through erosion and undercutting, leaving it impassable in places. A structural assessment will take place in the next week. Trucked water and sewer can’t be provided while the road is out of service and there’s no power, restoration of which depends on the road assessment. Many homes in Paradise Gardens have been destroyed, the town said.
  • Old Town, Lakeshore Drive, the West Point First Nation and the West Channel can’t be accessed. Road access and restoration of power and propane service is expected in two to three days (power may take a little longer for the West Point First Nation and West Channel). There won’t be any trucked water or sewer until the road can be used by heavy vehicles.