Price gouging in Fort McMurray after wildfire will not be tolerated: council

WATCH ABOVE: Wood Buffalo councillors are warning anyone looking to take advantage of evacuees who have lost everything.

Councillors of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo have a warning after reports of price gouging in the community.

It appears as though there are people who continue to try to take advantage of evacuees who have lost everything in the fire.

“You can’t go around and try to make yourself rich off the backs of people that have nothing,” RMWB Councillor Keith McGrath said from Fort McMurray Wednesday morning.

“Anybody that tries to make a dollar on the backs of people that have nothing, that’ll tell you what kind of people they are. And that’s the kind of people we can do without.”

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McGrath said price gouging in Fort McMurray has been reported and it will not be tolerated. The issues was brought to the attention of administration Tuesday morning and the councillor wants to reassure residents they are on top of it.

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The issue was brought up during a council meeting in Edmonton Tuesday night and the Alberta Emergency Management Agency said there are measures in place to make sure residents aren’t taken advantage of.

“All hotel and camp spaces are being tracked by the REOC [Regional Emergency Operations Centre] and I understand that Bob [Couture] has had to take some extraordinary measures as a result of potential price gouging. He has my full support in that. It’s unfortunate but some will seek to make profit off of an event like this,” Shane Schreiber with AEMA said.

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Wildrose Leader Brian Jean said there are measures in place to deal with those who try to make an extra buck during a devastating time like this.

“We have laws in place, the Landlord Tenant Act, to deal with that kind of thing. If people are feeling that there is some form of taking advantage they can report that to the Landlord and Tenant Advisory Board or the Landlord and Tenant Act will apply and there are remedies for that kind of thing,” Jean said, adding he rented an apartment Tuesday and hasn’t seen price gouging first-hand.

Jean rented an apartment Tuesday after losing his home to the fire. He said he is paying less than $2,000 for the one-bedroom apartment, which he believes is reasonable in Fort McMurray.

“I truly think that what we need to do is be very reasonable and consider those people that are less fortunate than ourselves.”

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Mayor Melissa Blake said after so much help from people outside Fort McMurray, it’s time for residents to take care of each other.

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The province is also reminding tenants to call their landlords before coming back home to make sure they can access their rental properties.

The Landlord and Tenant Advisory Board can be reached through the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo’s website.