Kashechewan leaders meeting in Ottawa after flooding on reserve
1,600 residents of Kashechewan First Nation remain displaced due to damage caused by floods
The leaders of Kashechewan First Nation are meeting with officials in Ottawa this week as 1,600 people remain displaced due to damage caused by floods on the reserve near James Bay.
The northern reserve was evacuated almost a month ago after flooding reached a state of emergency. Deputy Chief Amos Wesley said the community needs a permanent solution to the perennial problem.
"It's an ongoing issue. It seems inevitable that we are evacuated every year. It's very sad to see the faces of our children, especially our elders, when they have to go through that fear and stress," he said.
Chief Derek Stephen said more than 20 homes and a medical clinic are in major need of repairs. Leaders are scheduled to meet with Health Canada officials on Friday to discuss when the clinic can be re-opened so that residents can return home. They met with officials from Aboriginal Affairs on Thursday.
"Every spring we realize the dangers of living in our area," Stephen said. "We're just sick and tired of being evacuated and using taxpayer dollars. We hate seeing it all go to waste."
Kashechewan is positioned on a low-lying area along the Albany River.
A $500-million relocation was one of three options on the table in 2007. In the end, the community signed an agreement with the federal government for a $200-million plan to reinforce the reserve.
- A previous version of this story stated that Kashechewan leaders previously asked to relocate and that the federal government rejected a $500-million plan to establish a new reserve on higher ground in 2007 in favour of a $200-million plan to reinforce the reserve. In fact, the $200-million plan was a joint agreement between the Kashechewan First Nation and the federal government.Jun 06, 2014 7:56 PM ET