Don’t come back yet, Kátł’odeeche First Nation tells members
The Kátł’odeeche First Nation has asked residents not to return home yet, issuing advice on Sunday that differs from guidance provided in neighbouring Hay River.
Earlier on Sunday evening, the Town of Hay River said all residents could now return but warned many homes may not be habitable and some services and roads will take days to be repaired.
Residents would have to make their own decision about returning or staying away, the town said.
Later in the evening, in an update of its own, the First Nation said it recommended that its own evacuees “stay where you are until it is safe to come back to our community.”
In its statement, Chief April Martel said: “We don’t want people to come home to no power, heat or water.”
Residents of both Hay River and the Kátł’odeeche First Nation were ordered to evacuate late on Wednesday as unprecedented flooding hit the communities.
Hay River is still working to repair many roads and much of its water and sewer system, and power is out in parts of the town, but residents were told they were welcome to return and assess the damage to their area of the community for themselves.
The First Nation, adopting a slightly different approach, said the integrity of the reserve’s roads still needed to be inspected, then damaged roads would need rebuilding before heavy vehicles can restore power, fuel, water and sewer service.
Chief Martel said the likes of destabilized propane tanks posed a “very dangerous” problem in the community and the territorial government was also planning an “electrical inspection for the safety of the membership.”
In the meantime, the First Nation wants members to stay away.
Martel said she expected a significant amount of work to be completed by Monday late afternoon, at which point a further update is anticipated.