The province is spending $1.75 million on housing relief for the Tahltan First Nation in response to ongoing rebuilding efforts from last summer’s devastating wildfires.
In a press release, the Ministry of Forest, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development said $1.05 million will go toward a housing project in Dease Lake, with the remaining $700,000 for modular homes in Telegraph Creek.
Since the fires, some Tahltan members are still living in a refurbished housing project in Dease Lake until their homes in the Telegraph Creek area are rebuilt. Others who have been able to return to the community are living in modular homes.
“In many ways, the residents of Telegraph Creek and Dease Lake are still struggling to get back to where we were before the wildfires hit last summer,” said Tahltan Chief Rick McClean. “We’ve been primarily focused on getting people home – although that has been in temporary housing. Now with this funding from government, we can help find long-term solutions for residents of our community in permanent homes.”
The 120,000-hectare Alkali Lake wildfire destroyed 21 homes in Telegraph Creek. Combined with regional district land, roughly 160 structures were lost, including 23 additional homes.
“When I visited Telegraph Creek and Dease Lake last summer, the co-ordination by the Tahltan and collaboration with our government to assist all residents was very impressive,” said FLNRORD Minister Doug Donaldson. “But when it comes to housing and recovery, they can’t do it all on their own, and that’s why we are stepping up with this money to help make these communities whole again.”
The provincial money is the latest of several high profile contributions to the Tahltan rebuilding effort, including a massive outpouring of donations from the general public across B.C. during and immediately following the crisis.
A bombshell donation of $250,000 from Pretivm Resources, owner of the Brucejack gold mine operation, was preceded by $86,000 in donations from Skeena Resources and other mining-related companies also working in the area.
And earlier this month Venturi Automobiles donated $76,000 during a visit to Telegraph Creek while field-testing a polar exploration vehicle with co-pilots Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield and Monaco’s Prince Albert II.