Deer Lake and Popular Hill First Nation communities have been evacuated due to the forest fire hazard in the area.
Evacuees have been forced out of their homes with whatever they can take with them. Communities such as Dryden, Thunder Bay, and Cornwall are housing some evacuees.
A Deer Lake First Nation evacuee that was evacuated to Dryden on her way to Thunder Bay has publicly accused the Comfort Inn Dryden of raising their room rates due to the evacuation.
KenoraOnline was able to speak with a friend of the evacuee to tell her story.
“[The evacuee] had to purchase a room while she waited for her ride to Thunder Bay because she had her two boys. She wanted to protect her kids, possibly from too much smoke in their lungs. The hotel said you're gonna pay $220+$100 damage deposit.” said a friend of the evacuee
The evacuee’s friend did mention that she stayed at the hotel a couple of months prior and the room rate was lower rate.
KenoraOnline was able to reach out to the Comfort Inn Dryden General Manager for a comment on the accusation of the increased rate.
“It's during the peak season that rates increase due to supply and demand. Our prices online on our website are in line with our on-site prices. The higher rates started in June, which is basically when your peak season starts and due to the interprovincial travel reopening, it increased demand in our pricing. However, we already had an evacuation rate as set up based on the reduction of last year's rate.” said Comfort Inn General Manager Yvette Burns
“We did not realize when this guest was checking in that they were evacuees," added Burns
Burns mentioned that after an audit check the hotel staff realized that she was an evacuee and contacted her to refund her the difference in room rates.
“[The evacuee] mentioned yesterday that she was an evacuee, but they said no, you're gonna have to pay the whole price. Their reimbursement doesn't fix the fact of what happened, especially during the tough time as an evacuee.” added the friend of the evacuee
The Comfort Inn has evacuation rates set up for upstairs and ground floor rooms. Burns did mention that in conjunction with Second Chance Pet Network along with the Comfort Inn both will be waiving pet charges to evacuees and if space allows evacuees can overnight park in their parking lot.