The mayor of Slave Lake is offering words of encouragement to evacuees in the wake of the wildfire in Fort McMurray.
Slave Lake saw hundreds of millions of dollars in damage when a wildfire ripped through the community in 2011.
Mayor Tyler Warman told Saskatoon Afternoon with David Kirton that today, about 90 to 95 per cent of what was lost has been rebuilt. While things like burnt trees along the highway still serve as grim reminders to locals, he said an outsider would be hard-pressed to tell anything had ever happened.
He said children in the community have proven especially resilient in bouncing back from the disaster.
“I think the mentality is really good, people have bounced back pretty well. But I’d be lying if I didn’t say there’s a small percentage of the population where the scars run pretty deep.”
On the practical side, he said it will be important when the recovery starts for evacuees and government to be diligent in finding reputable builders and contractors. He said there are also services that can be hired to have professionals deal with insurance companies. “And they’re worth every penny,” he said.
Warman said his main message to people who are wondering if they’ll ever recover from the disaster is that it’s possible — but it takes time.
“You’re going to be frustrated. Things aren’t always going to go the way you plan. You’re going to want to do everything as quick as possible, but sometimes that’s not the best procedure,” he said.