First Nations flood evacuees told to leave lodge
MANFF disputes claims by Misty Lake Lodge owner that evacuees were forced out
Some flood evacuees have been told to move out of the temporary lodging they've been in since 2011.
The owner of Misty Lake Lodge, near Gimli, Man., told CBC News that officials from the Manitoba Association of Native Fire Fighters (MANFF) came by the lodge on Wednesday night and told people they are being moved to a different hotel, in Winnipeg.
Two families were moved out immediately, while others were told they must be gone by next week.
Michael Bruneau said the evacuees were told that if they didn't move, their food allowances would be cut.
In statement to CBC, officials with MANFF dispute claims they're forcing flood evacuees to leave Misty Lake Lodge, saying the evacuees are choosing to leave on their own.
About 2,000 people still remain displaced by the Manitoba flood of 2011.
MANFF, an agency that is responsible for disbursing federal funds to cover First Nations' flood evacuees accommodation expenses, now owes millions of dollars in unpaid bills to hotels and other businesses.
CBC News has learned MANFF hasn't been paying some bills for the last six months. As of last week, at least six hotels and a restaurant are owed about $3 million.
"I've had kids here for a year and half, and we're not getting paid for their food or their housing," said Bruneau, noting he hasn't been paid for six months and is owed about $2 million.
Retha Dykes, the lodge's general manager, said she believes the evacuees are being used by MANFF to punish Bruneau for going public with his concerns."He has gone public with what they've been doing. He's talked about the fact that they are not paying their bills. He's also brought up a lot of information that's very damning to them — proof of mismanagement of money," she said.
In the statement, MANFF's executive director said the organization has paid several invoices submitted by Misty Lake and the Ashern Hotel.
Misty Lake has been housing 65 evacuees from Lake St. Martin and Little Saskatchewan First Nations. Another 20 evacuees live at a hotel Bruneau owns in Ashern.