Members of the Canadian Armed Forces and RCMP secure the perimeter of the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex Monday morning in Williams Lake in anticipation of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s visit to the lakecity. (Angie Mindus photo)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visits Williams Lake

PM and other dignitaries to pay a visit to Canadian Armed Forces, RCMP, fire fighters and staff at Cariboo Fire Centre Monday, July 31

It’s not every day that the Prime Minister of Canada visits Williams Lake.

Mind you, it’s also not a typical time in the Cariboo Chilcotin.

Several wildfires continue to burn around the lakecity and near many other rural communities in the area and in the Chilcotin.

Members of the Canadian Armed Forces have been in Williams Lake assisting with the efforts of the Williams Lake RCMP to maintain law and order throughout the former evacuation order and current alert, and have been stationed at the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex (CMRC).

Suitably, CMRC will be the backdrop for the PM’s first public speaking engagement Monday morning, July 31.

Trudeau, the Minister of National Defence, Harjit Sajjan, the Minister of Sports and Persons with Disabilities and Chair of the Ad Hoc Cabinet Committee on Federal Recovery Efforts for 2017 BC Wildfires, Carla Qualtrough, the Minister of Justice, Jody Wilson-Raybould, and the Premier of British Columbia, John Horgan, will meet with Canadian Armed Forces and RCMP members from the Williams Lake Wildfire Command Centre at 10:30 a.m.

A large security perimeter was ribboned off Monday morning as officers worked to secure the area for the dignitaries.

At 12:10 p.m. the Prime Minister, the Minister of National Defence, the Minister of Sports and Persons with Disabilities and Chair of the Ad Hoc Cabinet Committee on Federal Recovery Efforts for 2017 BC Wildfires, the Minister of Justice and the Premier of British Columbia will visit the Cariboo Fire Centre.

Crowds wait outside the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Arena for Trudeau.

At 1 p.m. the group will participate in an aerial tour of the fire zones in the region and will hold a media availability at 2:20 p.m. at the Williams Lake Airport.

On social media sites some have criticized Trudeau’s visit while other residents have called the Williams Lake Tribune to say they found the visit from the nation’s leader both “comforting and reassuring.”

 

The forest along the north and west perimeter of the Williams Lake Airport is a reminder of the first firestorm to hit the area July 7. A second firestorm July 15 forced the evacuation of Williams Lake. (Angie Mindus photo)

When the Prime Minister tours the fire zone Monday afternoon, he will see hundreds of BC Wildfire Service staff set up at the airport to fight the fires, as well as just how close the fire came to entering the city, the rural communities of Wildwood, 150 Mile House and Sugar Cane and even the airport and Cariboo Fire Centre, which was forced to evacuate for a time July 7 due to wildfire. (Angie Mindus photo)

The Spokin Lake fire remains a challenge for fire crews and continues to keep area residents from their homes. (Angie Mindus photo)