Ukrainian refugees wait for a transport at the central train station in Warsaw, Poland on March 27, 2022. (File photo/Black Press)

Ukrainian refugees wait for a transport at the central train station in Warsaw, Poland on March 27, 2022. (File photo/Black Press)

Rensby moving forward with Ukrainian sponsorship

Trying to organize community to raise necessary funds

Local resident Charlie Rensby is moving forward in pursuing avenues to potentially sponsor a Ukrainian refugee or a family of Ukrainian refugees and bring them to Burns Lake.

Rensby, who is a Village of Burns Lake councillor, first announced the idea during a council meeting several weeks ago. His plan is to try to organize community efforts to raise the required funds for the sponsorship, and this is not a Village of Burns Lake undertaking.

READ MORE: Councillor Rensby wants to sponsor Ukrainian refugees

So far, Rensby has been in contact with the federal government through MP Taylor Bachrach’s constituency office. “The federal government is streamlining immigration for Ukrainians. They’ve opened up a super visa that allows refugees to come to Canada for three years,” Rensby told Lakes District News.

“The federal government would also contribute some funds, but it would be up to the community to come up with a place for the refugee or refugees to live, provide a job or jobs, and cover starting out funds and transportation costs. In terms of capital, I’d say we need to raise about $40,000,” he continued.

There’s a catch though; according to Rensby, in order to be able to sponsor a refugee, you have to be able to somehow get into contact with them first.

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“It isn’t like picking a random person off a list, a connection would have to either made or previously established. That’s why I’m urging anyone in the community who has a relative or friend or anyone they know in Ukraine to get into contact with me so that we can try to move forward with the process and get them to Burns Lake,” he said.

In terms of a timeline, Rensby told Lakes District News that things could happen within weeks, though it’s dependent on both fundraising and making a connection with a refugee.

“I know that this is big ask from the community, but I look at things that were done during the forest fires in 2018 which basically left people as refugees. Our community came together and moved mountains. There’s nothing that inspires this town more then helping people,” said Rensby.

If you wish to donate to the cause or if you have information to share, Rensby can be contacted at crensby@burnslake.ca.


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Eddie Huband
Multimedia Reporter
eddie.huband@ldnews.net
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