Evacuees are no longer staying at CNC. While the Emergency Reception Centre will remain at the college, the City moved evacuees to the Charles Jago Northern Sport Centre (NSC) at UNBC today.
“It was really about providing them with better service,” says Rob van Adrichem, the Director of External Relations for the City of Prince George. “Bringing people into one location really enables us to then be able to focus our service delivery on one location, instead of being split in multiple locations. So that was the driving force behind this.”
With the upcoming school year, the City also wanted to give institutions time to prepare for classes in the fall. “UNBC, the facility there is kind of separate from the main campus — still on the grounds of the University, but still separate from the main academic buildings. Whereas at CNC it’s all kind of integrated.”
65 evacuees in lodging, as well as 30 more staying in tents, were all moved throughout the day. They either took a shuttle or their own transportation.
Not all left willingly. Tatiana Ruiz has been tenting outside CNC for the past couple weeks. She says notices were handed out early this morning, telling evacuees they need to relocate. “They came and handed us papers, and told us basically we needed to leave today. They wanted us to leave at 8 o’clock this morning, but then we had security guards this morning telling us the last buses leave at 4:45, so you are welcome to have breakfast and lunch, and then move.”
Ruiz says early in the afternoon, she and her family were then told they needed to leave immediately. It has soured her experience in an already stressful time. “It’s a little bit frustrating. Honestly I don’t want to be here, I just want to go home, but I don’t really have a choice. So we just do what they say.”
One evacuee who has been staying at the NSC says evacuees from CNC are being welcomed at the new location. “People are just wonderful, helping them from the college, getting their beds, getting their stuff, getting their bed numbers straightened out,” says Rebecca Byington. “We all know each other from Williams Lake. Good to see old friends again.”
About 180 evacuees are now at the NSC. The City says there is still room for more, intending this to be the last move evacuees have to make during their stay in Prince George.