Former Sandy Bay resident calls for donations to help homes battling cold
Clint McIvor is asking for donations of blankets, heaters and more to help residents of the First Nation
A man from Sandy Bay is asking for donations of heaters and blankets because he says people in the First Nation don't have proper heat.
Clint McIvor, who now lives and works in Portage, put out a plea on social media for donations he plans to bring to the community on Friday.
McIvor says 400 people in Sandy Bay have asked him for help after he posted a video online earlier this year that garnered support for a family living in a rat-infested trailer.
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"Nobody should have to be living, freezing in the cold like this. This is Canada and we're a rich country," he said. "Why do we have to live like this?"
McIvor said the band owns the houses and should be fixing them.
Sandy Bay Chief Lance Roulette says the band has heard from a handful of people with heat problems and isn't aware of any homes without at least minimal heat.
Roulette said he was "totally in the dark" about McIvor's donation drive until a CBC request for comment and had no idea so many people were asking McIvor for help.
He said the community has two electricians who have been busy fixing heating systems for those who asked for help.
Once he learned about McIvor's drive, he said he encourages people to donate.
"The direction that the group on the Facebook page is taking is one that presents the harsh reality of what First Nations go through," Roulette said Wednesday.
"To try and bring the community together more and make sure everyone is warm is definitely a necessity."
But he said he wants to see a better system put in place to deal with shortcomings than drives on social media.
Roulette said the band will provide heaters and blankets to people who call asking for one, and will follow up with the government housing branch to see who has called in.
"I think the processes that are in place need to be followed," he said. "Sometimes social media is a good way of getting that awareness out there, but it doesn't address the need because most of the housing infrastructure people do not have Facebook."
McIvor said he's asking for donations of anything from blankets and clothing to heaters and building materials.
"These houses have been like this for many years. People are asking me for help. I'm going to do whatever I can to help them," he said.
If you want to donate, he said you can contact him on his Facebook page.