About 40 members of James Smith Cree Nation are now staying in Melfort as they wait for high local water levels to drop.

Roads on the reserve were flooded as a result of the recent wet weather, making them impassable.

A number of water cisterns were also contaminated by the flooding and bottled water has had to be brought in.

Chief Justin Burns says his council made the decision to evacuate residents out of their homes.

He adds the band is currently discussing the flooding situation with provincial officials.

“The province really wasn’t doing anything at this point so we made the executive decision to get them out and we are actually footing the bill for this part of the evacuation,” he says.

However, Burns says the province has now indicated it will contribute financially toward the cost of the temporary relocation and has also committed funds toward various infrastructure upgrades on the reserve.

“We just recently learned that we got three million dollars from the province to address some of our needs with the build-up of our road system out here, so hopefully next year this problem won’t happen.”

Burns says once conditions dry up this spring, contractors will be able to do repair work on roads and other infrastructure at James Smith Cree Nation.