THUNDER BAY – Displaced residents from the Kashechewan First Nation are not expected to return home until their nursing station is repaired.
Fire chief John Hay said there is no change in the status of the nearly 650 evacuees that have been in Thunder Bay for nearly a month and there is no definitive timeline for them to return home.
The primary issue is getting their medical facility able to support the community.
“I believe the nursing station is the only real problem they have up there,” Hay said. “We don’t know the scale and scope of the problem.”
Hay says there have been conflicting reports regarding the damage the nursing station sustained during the flooding.
The city received more than 600 evacuees in early May as rising floodwaters from the Albany River forced the James Bay area community to evacuate.
Thunder Bay is primarily hosting Stage 1 evacuees, who include the elderly, children and those with medical conditions.
One of the evacuees, Peter Wesley, died of an apparent heart attack in the city on May 19.
Hay said funeral arrangements were held in the city with some of his family members brought in from other host communities.
The body still needs to be repatriated to Kashechewan.
As days have turned into weeks many of the residents are starting to get anxious and are anticipating when they can return home.
“Our guests are getting a little restless...They’re still a long ways from home and they’re still in a hotel room,” Hay said.
"Even though we do provide as much recreation opportunities as we can they're still not at home. They're still inside a lot more than they're used to being inside and I think that's having a little bit of a toll on the parents."