Grande Prairie gives evacuees hotels and food but space runs low

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Evacuation centre managers in Grande Prairie are encouraging evacuees to head to a different facility, outside Edmonton, as spaces fill up.

The Grande Prairie Regional Emergency Partnership, or GPrep, was set up to support South Slave evacuees fleeing wildfires over the past two days.

However, by Monday evening, the GPrep website was encouraging evacuees to head to the Servus Credit Union Place in St Albert, just outside Edmonton, to register for accommodation.

Mackenzie Koep, who works for GPrep, said evacuees who do reach Grande Prairie should register at the evacuation reception centre – located at the Alliance Church – so they can be set up with accommodation and meals.

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Refreshments and snacks are available at the reception centre, which is open from 8am to 8pm daily.

Meals are being provided at the Holiday Inn and Suites and at the Friendship Centre at 10507 98 Avenue.

Evacuees are being set up in campgrounds and hotels around the city, depending on their needs and available space. Hotel parking and laundry expenses will be covered as well as accommodation expenses.

Evacuees can use wristbands to access city transit and the Eastlink Centre – which has pools, a fitness centre, and fieldhouse – at 10 Knowledge Way.

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Up-to-date information for Grande Prairie evacuees, such as meal times, is on the GPrep website. You can also find a list of 10 clinics accepting walk-in patients if you need medical care.

The 811 number also works in Alberta, if you want to call a registered nurse for health advice.

While many people are still trying to work out where friends and family ended up following the evacuation – there were also flights to Yellowknife and Fort McMurray, as well as many people driving to other communities – Koep said no names from the evacuee registration list will be shared publicly.

“The purpose of registration is to allow municipalities to quickly provide assistance, connect evacuees with resources and keep evacuees updated on the situation,” she said.

GPrep was activated on Sunday when the NWT government asked the Alberta government for help,

The Alliance Church opened at 7:30pm on Sunday evening and operated throughout the night.

Of the 485 people who had registered at the church as of 11:30am on Monday, 180 were evacuated by air from Hay River. An update on evacuee numbers was expected on Monday evening.

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