About 66% of the people forced to abandon their homes in Fort McMurray will soon be able to return.
The removal of toxic ash and debris has been completed for 439 homes with 242 still left to go.
Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Karen Grimsrud says her goal is to protect the health and safety of Albertans.
“My recommendations are put in place to protect residents of Fort McMurray from potential harm. I visited Fort McMurray before I made my initial recommendations in May and I visited Fort McMurray again last Friday to ensure mitigation plans were in place to protect returning residents.”
Grimsrud says soil testing occurred as part of the decision to allow people back in those homes in Abasand and Beacon Hill neighbourhoods.
“Once the ash had been removed we were testing the soil to see if there’s any leeching of the ash into the soil, and the good news there was in the phase 2 testing there was no observable impact from the ash into the soil.”
Those whose homes have been given the thumbs up will be able to return as early as August 31st.
Wildrose leader and Fort McMurray resident Brian Jean is happy to hear that most of the remaining evacuees will soon be able to return home. He put out the following statement.
“It is a relief to hear that almost four months after wildfires devastated Fort McMurray, a re-entry plan is finally in place for many of the homes which did not suffer fire damage in Abasand and Beacon Hill.
“This sign off from the Chief Medical Officer is something Wildrose has been demanding, and my hope is that further red tape can be cut down so that residents of Fort McMurray can start to rebuild and get on with their lives.
“There still exists a need to green light development and building permits.
“Residents are still waiting for assurances that rebuilding can happen in Waterways. We all want to take advantage of what is left of the 2016 construction season.
“All levels of government must work around the clock to show the residents of Fort McMurray that getting life back to normal is their top priority.”