Nahanni Butte, N.W.T., considers moving town across river
Chief says he would support move if that’s what community wants
The community of Nahanni Butte, N.W.T., is considering moving the entire town across the Liard River.
The move to higher ground would potentially keep the community safe from future devastating floods.
According to estimates, the summer flooding caused millions of dollars in damage. Even when everything is fixed, there is no guarantee the Liard River won’t flood the town again.
Now, some say it's time to consider a permanent solution.
Chief Clayton Konisenta said he would support a move if that’s what the community wants.
"I think it's a perfect opportunity for our future generations to live on the high ground. Also I was thinking we could have our own water main and sewer lines and not have to struggle with the issues we have today," he said.
Konisenta added that his family’s traditional home is located on the other side of the river, and it’s part of the band’s traditional territory.
Allison De Pelham, the acting Band manager in Nahanni Butte, said the idea has people talking.
"That's a big debate: when the next 100-year flood will show up. A lot of people are saying in the next five years."
Marlene Matou lives higher up in the community on a hill.
"I know some people probably want to relocate but I don't want to. I'm fine where my house is," she said.
Houses that are close to the river are held up by struts. Several municipal buildings, including the band office and the fire hall, are located near the banks of the river.
Repair work has already begun on several of the buildings, but repairs to things like roads and drainage have to wait until the ice bridge is in place.