Enterprise, N.W.T., 'just about back to normal' after Hay River flood, says mayor

·2 min read
Enterprise, N.W.T., Mayor Michael St Amour says at the peak of the evacuation of the Hay River area this spring, Enterprise's population swelled to well over 1,000.  ( - image credit)
Enterprise, N.W.T., Mayor Michael St Amour says at the peak of the evacuation of the Hay River area this spring, Enterprise's population swelled to well over 1,000. ( - image credit)

The major flood response by people in Enterprise, N.W.T., last month helped forge bonds between the community's 86 residents, says Mayor Michael St Amour.

Flooding of the Hay River in early May triggered middle-of-the-night evacuations of Hay River and the K'atl'odeeche First Nation. In the midst of the chaos, Enterprise opened its doors as a muster point and a place of shelter for hundreds of evacuees.

St Amour said that happened while the community itself was dealing with flooding.

Enterprise is "just about back to normal" now, St Amour said, but at the peak of the evacuation, its population swelled to well over 1,000. More than 600 evacuees filled out registration forms; many more streamed through the hamlet on their way to other communities. Residents opened their homes, taking in 40 or 50 families.

"We've always been family-oriented, and now [we're] even more so," St Amour said, speaking with CBC's Loren McGinnis last week.

"The response of the people was tremendous."

St Amour said two people from Hay River are still staying in Enterprise. Additionally, two people who lost their home and many of their animals at the Fox Farm, a short distance from Enterprise, are staying in staff housing until funding and insurance kicks in.

"We'll take it day by day," St Amour said. "They'll stay there as long as they need to."

St Amour said they'll have a sit-down soon to talk about what the future looks like and whether the community would like to relocate.

Looking ahead

In mid-May, the N.W.T. government unveiled its updated disaster assistance policy, increasing the amount of funding available for residents and businesses from $100,000 to $240,000.

St Amour said he expects government support to help out with the financial side of flood recovery, but the most important step is making sure residents — including those from Fox Farm and areas like West Point First Nation — are safe going forward.

"Flood mitigation should be a top priority, or relocating low-lying areas," he said.

West Point First Nation Chief Kenneth Cayen told CBC in late May that his community is having discussions about relocating to higher ground, possibly past Enterprise.

St Amour says he hasn't been part of any conversations about that yet, but he's open to the discussion and wants to help.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting