Manitoba lodge housing closing despite offer of federal funds
Lodge owed $3 million by Manitoba Association of Native Firefighters
A Gimli lodge forced to close due to non-payment will not stay open despite an offer of payment by the federal government.
Misty Lake Lodge is owed more than $3 million by the Manitoba Association of Native Firefighters for housing 2011 flood evacuees and will to close its doors Sept. 1. due to non-payment.
Today, owner Mike Bruneau got an offer from Aboriginal and Northern Development Canada, the federal department in charge of MANFF.
The offer, detailed in the letter below, says that an investigation into the bills is complete and they will force MANFF to pay $1,910.775.66 to Misty Lake and $693,442 to the Ashern Hotel, Bruneau’s other property that also houses flood evacuees.
The payment represents charges owing up to this past May.
That won't be enough to keep the hotel operating and evacuees will not be allowed to stay, Bruneau said, adding there is no mention of paying the bills that have piled up since May.
Bruneau also wonders about their accounting.
"They still owe more than $500,000 for those invoices they are talking about," he told CBC News. He wants an independent expert to look at the bills which he says should be honoured in full.
"They sent people to the hotels, they ate the food and stayed there partying, they should pay the full amount." he said.
The letter states that during the review, MANFF claimed that the payment delay was due to changes that were required by the Manitoba’s Emergency Measures Organization.
But EMO confirmed that no such changes were required.
MANFF told the review that because of this, the charges were not legitimate but the department determined that bills were legitimate and have demanded they be paid.
An expert will be placed at MANFF shortly to ensure that the payments to Misty Lake are honoured.
Bruneau is deciding what to do about the offer over the weekend but he said the lodge will close as planned on Sept. 1.