Last year, a flood foced residents of Hay River to head to Yellowknife as an evacuation point. The city did what it could to make everyone feel at home as it possibly could then.
This year, it’s a wildfire which forced residents of Hay River and KFN to head to Yellowknife. And the generosity hasn’t changed.
Several local businesses in Yellowknife have offered its services to those who have been displaced because of the fire. Those services range from showers to clothing to food.
Devin Madsen, general manager and co-owner of the Racquet Club, said that its doors will be open to all the evacuees from Hay River, just like they were last time during the flood.
And all free of charge.
“Whether they want to do a workout or they want to have a shower — whatever they need,” he said. “People don’t need to bring anything — they can just come in and use our facility. I can’t imagine being uprooted from my house from a natural disaster and they’ve had to do it two times in the past two years.”
There is also support from the Home Base Youth Centre.
Carson Othmer, the centre’s coordinator, said that youth who are from Hay River will have access to the dorms and can come to the centre to have a shower, meal or for entertainment.
Othmer said they can accommodate around 50 youth in total as they’ve added additional beds.
“We’re prepared for it,” he said. “We have the budget to do it as well, and it’s nice to see that we have these resources available for extra youth. This could be tough (for the youth) — they might not have anywhere else to go.”
The city is also opening its doors to those who have been forced to evacuate. A release from the city stated that those who registered at the Multiplex were given a green wristband and that will allow for free access to all city facilities. That includes the Ruth Inch Memorial Pool, Fieldhouse or anywhere else an admission fee is charged.
A three-day visitor parking pass is also available for evacuees from the municipal enforcement division. Those who brought trailers will be able to use the RV pump-out stations around the city.