The wildfire evacuee reception and Emergency Social Services centre is being moved a second time, the Thompson-Nicola Regional District announced Saturday night (July 15, 2017) just after 9 p.m.
This time, the centre is moving from Thompson Rivers University to the Sandman Centre. After initially being set up at the McArthur Island Sports and Events Centre, it moved last Sunday to TRU.
The decision comes on the heels of a mass evacuation of Williams Lake ordered earlier in the evening, with residents there told to make their way down Highway 97 and Highway 24 to Little Fort, then south to Kamloops.
Acting Mayor Arjun Singh said on social media that Williams Lake evacuees will be directed “as much as possible” to Kelowna because that city currently has more capacity.
Christopher Seguin of TRU said he’s not sure where Williams Lake evacuees will end up. “It may be a long night.”
Close to 500 cots have been set up in the Sandman Centre for group lodging with an expected expansion of another 200 beds. The arena will stay open tonight to receive evacuees, who will be accommodated on a first come, first served basis.
Four Paws Food Bank will also be open to receive small animals.
“Due to capacity limits with group lodging, we encourage evacuees and those on alert to plan ahead and arrange their own accommodation if possible and stay with friends and family,” the TNRD press release said.