Flooding has once again forced the evacuation of a northern Ontario First Nation that has long demanded the federal government move their town to a new location.
Roughly 1,500 residents of Kashechewan will be flown to Timmins, Kapuskasing, Thunder Bay and Cornwall as part of the evacuation effort, according to NDP MP Charlie Angus.
Angus warned that the First Nation could face “catastrophic flooding.”
Located on the Albany River, Kashechewan is at least partially evacuated every year. Millions of dollars are spent annually on flights, accommodation and cleanup.
In 2005, the Paul Martin’s Liberal government committed to moving the community about 30 kilometres up the river at an estimated cost of $500 million.
The Conservative government of Stephen Harper nixed the plan after it was elected in 2006, arguing the new town would still be prone to flooding.
The Conservatives proposed moving the residents to Timmins, Ont., about 450 kilometres to the south, but the community’s leaders did not accept that plan.
In 2017, Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government signed an agreement to explore moving the community. Funds have not yet been budgeted.
“The people have suffered annual trauma from the floods, evacuations, disruptions to school life and the damage to their homes and community,” Angus wrote on Facebook Sunday.
“The people deserve better,” he added.