Kashechewan evacuation to finish Thursday


KASHECHEWAN, Ont. – The evacuation of a remote First Nation community in northern Ontario due to flood fears is expected to be completed soon.

A spokesman for Kashechewan First Nation says the last 16 residents from the community of 1,900 people will get on the final flight some time this morning.

Chief Derek Stephen says 70 people will remain behind to monitor Kashechewan’s critical infrastructure.

The evacuation began last week as the nearby Albany River, south of James Bay, began to rise, stoking fears that the town’s old and damaged dike wouldn’t hold.

Officials are worried about the breakup of ice 18 kilometres upstream on the Albany River.

Kashechewan spokesman Daniel Sponagle says when the breakup happens, huge chunks of ice and fast-flowing water will put tremendous pressure on the dike.

This is the fourth consecutive year the town has had to be evacuated.

Evacuees have re-settled in Kapuskasing Greenstone, Smooth Rock Falls, Wawa, Cornwall, Kirkland Lake, and Timmins.

Chief Stephen said the time has come to move the community to a new permanent location on higher ground.