Sudbury

Worrisome flood forecast has Kashechewan preparing for annual evacuation

People in the James Bay community of Kashechewan have marked April 21st on their calendars. That's when this year's annual evacuation will take place in the flood-prone First Nation on the Albany River.

April 21st set as the date for 2,500 residents to fly south

Kashechewan is a First Nation located on the James Bay Coast. (Erik White/CBC )

People in the James Bay community of Kashechewan have marked April 21st on their calendars.

That's when this year's evacuation will take place in the flood-prone First Nation on the Albany River.

All 2,500 people will be flown out and housed in hotels in the south until the risk has passed.

The Chief of Kashechewan, Leo Friday, said preparations are underway.

"Yeah, everybody is aware of it and everybody's making plans. Trying to prepare and all the good things they have in their houses, raising them up now to where they think it's going to be up," he said.

Friday said with heavier snows and thicker ice this winter, scientists and elders are predicting this could be a bad flood year for Kashechewan.

He said the readings show there could be even more water coming down the Albany River towards Kashechewan than last spring. 

"And last year the river bank was over the top and half way to the dike. And our engineers say we don't have to be here when that happens."

A similar forecast was made last spring, but good weather during the break-up kept the community dry. 

The people of Kashechewan will be transported to towns in the south such as Kapuskasing at a cost of between $15 and $20 million. 

now