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Relief in Whitecourt for Fort McMurray evacuees - Whitecourt Star
WHITECOURT, AB, May 2016
Victims evacuating Fort McMurray can expect some relief on the road as they flee their homes to escape the destructive wildfires.
On May 3, The Microtel Inn and Suites by Wyndham in Whitecourt and Bonnyville, Alta., announced that they have allocated 40 rooms in each town for people that have evacuated Fort McMurray.
Eric Watson, MasterBUILT Hotels Chief Operating Officer, said he expects Albertans across the province to come to the aid of victims.
"Obviously this is pretty tragic," he said.
MasterBUILT Hotels has also become a victim of the fire, losing a Super 8 hotel in Fort McMurray.
"We can always build another hotel… A lot of other people have had their lives turned upside down," Watson said.
While none of the 40 rooms have been claimed in Whitecourt, Watson said 42 rooms in Bonnyville have already been filled by displaced peoples.
Chris Steffenson, manager of Midtown Mall, said he remembers the situation with the evacuation of Slave Lake in 2011 and has offered up to 6,000 square-feet for a relief centre within 8 hours of notice
"We've only had a couple of responses," he said. "There's quite a bit of support in town if anybody needs it."
Steffenson also requested assistance from the Canadian Forces, who have agreed to provide him with cots, blankets and possibly setting up a kitchen.
Jim Rennie, Woodlands County mayor, said Albertans are eager to provide aid during a crisis.
"It always makes me proud to see people step up for each other," he said. "I know people are jumping up for ways they can help. It's the real Albertan way."