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Hub 2021 year in review, May

New ambulance arrives
Vincent Fabian mans a checkpoint against Covid-19 on the Hay River Reserve May 6. Only members of K’atlodeeche First Nation, reserve residents and essential workers are permitted to enter. NNSL file photo

New ambulance arrives

A replacement for the town’s aging ambulance arrived.

The unit, built in Nova Scotia on a Ford F350 chassis, cost about $156,000 and took over from a 1995 vehicle. Fire chief Ross Potter said it was the first new ambulance for the town since 2015 and that each vehicle should provide about 20 years of service.

The vehicle’s landing in Hay River coincided with the replacement of a communications tower that was knocked off the fire hall during a wind storm the October previous.

Town awards permit for shelter

Another step toward a new women’s shelter in Hay River was taken with the approval of a development permit.

The Family Support Centre had a letter of intent from the Canada Housing and Mortgage Corp. to fund most of the construction of a new building with nine bedrooms and a maximum occupancy of 18.

“To me, we have the funding when the money is in the bank and we’re not there yet,” Janet-Marie Fizer said. “There are some other hoops that we have to go through.”

Old Town evacuated

Vale Island was evacuated by flood risk for a second year in a row. On May 6, both channels of the Hay River were choked with ice; the order was issued 2 p.m. May 7.

The town erected a checkpoint on the bridge restricting access to the island.

“I’ll move what I can and if I can’t move it, well, you can always get new stuff,” said Bryan Seaton, 22, who never leaves the island for spring flooding.

“We’re kind of up on maybe a three- or four-foot platform around here, and before the water reaches my house it fills up all the ditches and then it will fill up all the trails behind everybody’s houses,” he said. “Not really any ice damage around here because it’s got other people’s houses to go through first.”

Major flooding avoided

Hay River was mostly spared from flood damage during the spring break-up of 2021, but it wasn’t completely unscathed.

Four Seasons campground on the shore of Great Slave Lake for example was damaged for the second time. It suffered about $500,000 in damage in May, adding to the $300,000 sustained during a storm the previous August.

Hub hosts evacuees

Some Fort Simpson residents escaped flooding in that community by flying to Hay River.

The Hub served as an evacuation centre for 27 residents displaced by high water from May 15 to May 19.

“Fort Smith has been doing the heavy lifting with supporting their evacuation, but they were filled to capacity for that weekend ad we had means at that point … to support the cause,” Glenn Smith, town SAO said.

Métis self-government framework

The Northwest Territory Métis Nation, Canada and the GNWT signed a framework agreement on self-government May 19.

“After many years of perseverance and struggle, the Hay River Métis Government Council is pleased that we have reached an agreement on the Self-Government Framework Agreement and recognize we have lots of work to do,” said HRMGC president Trevor Beck.

He said the agreement would guide negotiations toward a final agreement as part of the NWT Métis Nation’s land claims negotiations process and sets out the process for self-government negotiations also.