Manitoba

Red Cross closes first Island Lake evacuee centre

The emergency shelter at the RBC Convention Centre has been closed, with around up to 350 Island Lake evacuees set to spend another night at the Winnipeg North Soccer Centre.

Up to 350 residents remain at soccer complex

Cots are seen inside the Winnipeg Soccer Federation's indoor complex on Leila Avenue, where a temporary shelter for evacuees has been set up. (Kari-Jane Hamilton/Submitted)

The emergency shelter at the RBC Convention Centre has been closed, with around up to 350 Island Lake evacuees set to spend another night at the Winnipeg North Soccer Centre. 

About 100 people who spent the night at the downtown shelter Wednesday night were transferred to the Leila Avenue facility, Red Cross spokesperson Jason Small said in an email. 

On Thursday afternoon, Garden Hill First Nations's chief and council organized a march between the shelters to rally for better shelter conditions and access to hotel rooms.

Garden Hill spokesperson David Harper urged the Red Cross to "place them in hotels as soon as possible, because with the current conditions, even kids contracting colds from one another, it's starting to escalate."

Small said the shelters were opened after the Red Cross learned hotel space was limited in Winnipeg and Brandon. But in the last week, hotel rooms have continued to become available. 

In total, around 4,200 people were forced from their homes in Wasagamack, St. Theresa Point and Garden Hill due to a fire about one kilometre away from Wasagamack. 

Small said 350 evacuees in total stayed in the two shelters Wednesday night, but a count of how many are bedding down on cots Thursday night won't be available until Friday. 

The emergency shelter was established on Aug. 31. Small said the Red Cross chose to keep the soccer complex open as it is equipped with showers — unlike the convention centre — and is closer to shopping and a large park.

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