The northern village of La Loche is making funeral preparations after the carnage of Friday’s school shooting.
And the community’s leaders are trying to stem the flow of liquor as people deal with their grief.
La Loche’s liquor store and bar are banned from selling alcohol this week.
People from the nearby reserve area are meeting outside La Bar, but say they’re just visiting with each other.
Roland Janvier, who grew up in La Loche and whose children went to school there, says he’s not sure how he feels about the closures. But if they become permanent, he’s worried about people hitchhiking to nearby communities while drunk.
“For a week it’s okay but to just completely shut down, it’s going to affect people a lot because they’re going to travel out of town to go get it,” Janvier said.
“It’s just going to sober up a few people, that’s about it.”
Meanwhile, the provincial government says its primary goal following the tragedy is to offer support and assistance to everyone affected.
Duane McKay, Commissioner of Emergency Management with Government Relations, says the province is focused on any immediate needs — but he says they are in constant communication with the community about any long-term needs that may arise.
“There are a number of items that have been raised and we have made it clear that the community needs to drive those mid- and long-term issues,” says McKay. “As we look at short-term needs, we are encouraging them to let us know how those may impact long-term goals they have to ensure we build a stronger community at the end of this.”
Other ministries are also providing immediate support to La Loche.
The Ministry of Education says more staff will be arriving in the community later this week.
Also, Natalie Huber, Executive Director with the Ministry of Social Services, says there are financial supports for those affected by the tragedy.
“We are here to help and anyone needing financial assistance can go to our office in La Loche or any other office to find support,” says Huber.
These benefits will be provided for any family members who need money for transportation, meals or accommodations.