By Chad Ingram
The province says no Syrian refugees will be housed at the Frost Centre although a local politician was informed the facility was being cleaned and assessed just in case.
Dorset area residents have reported seeing work crews including cleaners at the centre in the past week.
“The Frost Centre is not being prepped to house refugees it was never being prepped to house refugees” Bryan LeBlanc communications director for provincial Minister of Citizenship Immigration and International Trade Michael Chan told the paper.
While LeBlanc said the province certainly owns buildings that would be suitable for the purpose “the federal government has not asked us to do anything.”
However Algonquin Highlands Reeve Carol Moffatt whose township is home to the Frost Centre received information from provincial contacts that the Frost Centre was part of an assessment.
“The province has quite recently undertaken a variety of assessments repairs and cleaning at the Frost Centre in response to the federal government’s request to seek interim lodging sites (ILS) for Syrian refugees” Moffatt wrote. “However the Frost Centre is officially ‘on hold’ and may never be used as an ILS since the federal plan is to use military bases and many first-arrival refugees are privately sponsored. We’re advised that if the feds select the Frost Centre as an ILS there would be substantial federal and provincial coordination required with a variety of services and agencies. Local government would participate peripherally as appropriate likely limited to ensuring that police fire and ambulance services are aware that the Frost Centre is active.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had pledged to settle 25000 Syrian refugees in Canada by the year’s end but has since pushed that deadline back to February after some Canadians were concerned the initial timeframe would compromise the screening process.