Evacuees moved to UNBC from CNC

Forest fire evacuees who have been staying at the College of New Caledonia were relocated to the Northern Sport Centre at University of Northern British Columbia on Wednesday.

The move was made "in order to better provide services to evacuees," city hall said in a press release.

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About 65 people and 30 tents were affected and raised the total staying at the NSC to about 180.

Among them were a middle-aged Liz Jansen and her elderly mother, Trilby.

They said they were told they were being moved because CNC was being turned back into a school.

"Which is good that they did that," Liz said as the two sat on a curb outside the NSC waiting for a bus to take them to an appointment with a denturist downtown.

They were taking a wait-and-see attitude towards whether NSC was an improvement although Trilby said the new digs look good and "everybody's been really helpful."

As for their time at CNC, a constantly-crying baby was at the top of their complaints. Occasionally the food was sub-par and Trilby said sleeping on a cot has been troublesome because she's so thin and boney.

They also questioned why they weren't put in a motel like so many others appeared to have been.

B.C. Corrections guards were brought in to keep an eye on things at CNC. Liz said that didn't initially sit well with her, "because I've been in jail so many times and when I see them, it gives me the creeps."

However, one of the guards who recognized her from jail offered her some cigarettes to break the tension.

"That was kind of weird," Liz said with a laugh.

Other than a few fights and arguments, they said little trouble broke out at CNC.

The two hail from 100 Mile House but elected to stay behind rather than take the bus home on Monday because Trilby had lost her dentures and was being fitted for new ones. The work would normally would cost $3,000, but was being offered for free, Liz said.

"We're very lucky for that, very lucky," she said.

The emergency reception centre will remain at CNC, providing evacuee registration, the renewal of referrals, and government services.

Shuttle buses, boxes and crates and detailed instructions about the move were provided to the evacuees, according to city hall.

Other than a few stragglers staying in their tents outside the CNC gym, all appeared to have been relocated by noon Wednesday.

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