Lake St. Martin flood-evacuees move into long-awaited homes in Gypsumville
Published Friday, March 16, 2012 6:11PM CST
Four families forced from their Lake St. Martin homes by flooding in 2011 moved into new homes Friday.
Temporary homes in Gypsumville, Man.-– located off of Highway 6 just south of St. Martin -- are now becoming available for flood evacuees from the Lake St. Martin area.
Evacuees have been without homes since the flood last year.
Gordon Ryle just moved in. "The boys are happy. They're happy they woke up here. They have their own rooms," Ryle said of his young sons.
The Ryle family has spent the last 10 months living in three different hotels. With a newborn, the lack of stability has been difficult for the family. And they're not alone.
Diane Travers, Ryle's girlfriend, is relieved to be in their new temporary home. "My oldest was walking around the kitchen looking around, being all happy," she said.
Four homes have been finished for flood evacuees in Gypsumville and more are expected to be complete within the next week. As each one is finished, more families will arrive.
There are currently 53 households confirmed for relocation to the Gypsumville area and at least a dozen other applications are currently being processed.
Ryle says he expects more people to apply now that the process has started for others. He believes there has been a hesitancy to apply because people are worried the temporary solution may not be so temporary.
"People are scared of – when they hear temporary – we might be here forever. We might not even get a new reserve yet," said Ryle.
A spokesperson for the chief of Lake St. Martin First Nation told CTV News that is in fact the fear of many Lake St. Martin residents, but people are free to move if they choose.
Kerri Irvin-Ross, the Minister of Housing and Community Development, said the province has been in talks with the chief to work with families to sign leases.
But a new permanent home for the Lake St. Martin evacuees would be up to the federal government, she said.
"They've given a commitment to chief and council and the community that it should be within the next two years, but we are open-ended right now," said Irvin-Ross.
Until a more permanent home can be found, Ryle said his family is just relieved to have a place to call home.
-- with a report from CTV's Ina Sidhu