Staff at Misty Lake Lodge are hoping mediation will help them sort out a dispute over unpaid hotel bills for flood evacuees.The lodge is currently owed about $2 million from the Manitoba Association of Native Firefighters.
Until recently, Misty Lake housed about 65 evacuees from Lake St. Martin and Little Saskatchewan First Nations.
MANFF was tasked with dispersing federal funds to Manitoba evacuees but has yet to pay a massive bill to Misty Lake.
Rytha Dykes, general manager at Misty Lake Lodge, said she checked with Manitoba’s Emergency Measures Organization and discovered the province had already paid MANFF for the lodge’s invoices — the very ones that MANFF has been slow to settle.
About $72 million has been advanced since the onset of the flood to MANFF in order to keep cash flowing to evacuees, but it doesn’t watch how the money is spent — that’s done in a federal audit, which hasn’t happened yet.
"They received government dollars to care of the evacuees," she said.
"We know they’ve received the funds."
Dykes said in light of that information, the hotel’s owner met with MANFF on Monday to discuss the bill but nothing was resolved.
"We’d like MANFF to have some sort of transparency, explaining what’s happened with the funds," said Dykes.
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada said they are now arranging for mediation, which Dykes hopes will provide answers.