MANFF used Misty Lake Lodge like a 'party house,' says manager
The people who run a Manitoba lodge that housed First Nations flood evacuees are accusing MANFF co-ordinators of treating the facility like a "party house."
The general manager of Misty Lake Lodge in Gimli, Man., says she found drugs and drug paraphernalia on Monday inside a room that was assigned to a co-ordinator with the Manitoba Association of Native Fire Fighters (MANFF).
"The co-ordinators use this place as a party house," Retha Dykes, the lodge's general manager, told CBC News.
"The fact that they've gotten away with this behaviour is reprehensible."
When confronted, the co-ordinator in question told Dykes the drugs were his but said he never used them on the hotel property.
Misty Lake has been housing 65 evacuees from the Lake St. Martin and Little Saskatchewan First Nations for the past two years, after the two reserves were severely damaged by flooding in the spring of 2011.
MANFF was responsible for providing on-site care to First Nations members who have been staying in temporary accommodations, including Misty Lake Lodge, since the 2011 flood.
MANFF co-ordinators were stationed in hotels where the flood evacuees have been staying.
The aboriginal agency was also in charge of managing millions of dollars in federal funding to care for the evacuees.
Owner says he complained for months
Lodge owner Mike Bruneau said he had complained for months to MANFF and federal government officials about partying and unruly behaviour, but he said nothing was done.
Hotel staff had called the RCMP on numerous occasions. RCMP records show 28 calls to the hotel since the flood evacuees came there in 2011.
The calls were mostly for alleged assaults and other disturbances, but it's not clear who might have been involved.
Bruneau said in May that he would ban MANFF co-ordinators from Misty Lake and the Ashern Hotel, which he also owns.
But this week, he said he fears the agency may never pay him $3 million in outstanding accommodation and food bills.
"My relationship with MANFF is bad enough I thought if I threw them out, it would be worse," Bruneau said.
On Monday, Bruneau announced he is closing his hotel on Sept. 1, blaming the unpaid MANFF bills.
The closure forces the evacuees to find new places to stay.
In an email to CBC News, a MANFF spokesperson said no one at Misty Lake Lodge has contacted the agency with drug allegations.
As well, the spokesperson said MANFF "has not received any official word from Misty Lake Lodge on the closure of the hotel."
The federal Aboriginal and Northern Affairs Department stated in an email that its policy is to forward any allegations of criminal wrongdoing directly to the RCMP, and "we encourage others to do so as well."