Slave Lake and area residents ready to rebuild community

Mayor Pillay-Kinnee and Reeve Garratt welcome residents home

SLAVE LAKE, AB, May 28, 2011 /CNW/ - After nearly two weeks, Slave Lake and area residents have returned home to start rebuilding their community and their lives.

"I am thrilled to welcome home the residents of Slave Lake," said Mayor Karina Pillay-Kinnee. "My gratitude goes out to those who have worked tirelessly to get us home. I've never known people who have cared so much about a community who have never lived here."

"I also want to thank everyone who fought to save our town. Without these brave firefighters, we would have lost much more than we did."

Residents returned to the community on Friday, May 27 - many weeks earlier than expected.

"The speed that we were able to return home is a testament to the professionalism and commitment of the Emergency Operations Centre staff, the resiliency of our residents and the extraordinary goodwill of Albertans," said Denny Garratt, Reeve of the Municipal District of Lesser Slave River.

"But there are still those who do not have a home to return to. In coming days and months, we must rally behind our neighbours and lend our support."

As the community enters the rebuilding phase, support from government organizations and agencies across the province will be ongoing. Accommodation support will continue for residents who lost homes.

The Town of Slave Lake and the Municipal District of Lesser Slave River are working with the Government of Alberta on a housing plan for residents whose homes were damaged or destroyed during the wildfire. Residents without a home to return to are encouraged to stay where they are or use immediate housing options, such as friends, family and hotels.

A Community Social Centre is place to support residents returning to the area. Residents can visit in person at St. Mary of the Lake School (409 - 6th Ave. S.W., Slave Lake) or call 780-849-8175. Services and information include counseling, volunteer services, and childcare.

Approximately 1,400 emergency and support personnel remain in the Slave Lake area to assist the community as it moves into the recovery phase. More than half of the homes in the area now have gas and electricity restored.

SOURCE Alberta Public Affairs Bureau

For further information:

Provincial Operations Centre

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Alberta Public Affairs Bureau

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Flood/Fire Relief

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