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Northern Ontario First Nation community expects to finish evacuation Thursday


April 30, 2015   by THE CANADIAN PRESS


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

The Northern Ontario reserve of Kaschechewan is seen in this undated handout aerial photo. First Nations communities threatened by rising waters each spring should be moved off flood plains once and for all, a member of the Ontario legislature said Tuesday after flood fears triggered another wave of evacuations in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO

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.

Related: North Ontario First Nation community to begin evacuation due to flooding today

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 dikxe 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.

Related: All residents of Kashechewan, Ont to be evacuated due to flooding

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.