Redford visits Fort McMurray as flood repairs, emergency continues
Published Saturday, June 15, 2013 8:30AM EDT
As Fort McMurray, Alberta copes with a state of emergency due to flooding, Premier Alison Redford has toured the area and visited with residents and volunteers.
Redford headed to the oilsands community Friday afternoon, following a morning meeting with B.C. Premier Christie Clark.
The premier met with volunteers of all ages who were working to mitigate the damage caused by the flooding.
“The first day off school and this is what they’re doing: filling sandbags,” she said. “It’s an amazing community. Every single time I come here, I’m impressed.”
She said the province’s emergency services are on standby, should the municipality require help.
Redford’s visit comes one day after the municipality issued evacuation orders for the Grayling Terrace neighbourhood, as well as the southerly portion of Draper Road, due to concerns about the overflowing Hangingstone River.
So far, more than 400 residents have registered at the local emergency reception centre.
There is hope for respite now that water levels are beginning to drop, but eroding river banks continue to put many homes at risk.
On Friday, crews dropped heavy concrete blocks along the banks of the river to prevent further erosion.
Brad Grainger, deputy chief of operations and technical services, said that the area has seen no continued erosion.
But it’s a local embankment known as Beacon Hill that is continuing to cause concern. Officials fear that debris might break off from there, dam the river, and cause even more flooding.
Ptarmigan Court Trailer Park, Grayling Terrace and the southern portion of Draper Road remain under a mandatory evacuation order, according to a statement issued by the municipality of Wood Buffalo on Friday.
Emergency officials are working to ensure the areas are safe before the evacuation orders are lifted, but the municipality says there is no timeline for the removal of the orders.
A weather warning for the area from Environment Canada has also ended, but the forecast calls for more rain over the weekend.
With files from CTV Edmonton’s Amanda Anderson