05/28/2014 02:57 EDT | Updated 07/28/2014 05:59 EDT

Province responds after safety concerns keep legal aid from Labrador community

NATUASHISH, N.L. - The provincial justice minister in Newfoundland and Labrador says alternative housing arrangements are being set up to deal with safety concerns raised by legal aid lawyers who travel to Natuashish.

Terry French was responding to concerns raised by the Legal Aid Commission over poor safety precautions at the hotel in the Innu community.

Nick Avis, the chairman of the province's Legal Aid Commission, says he stopped sending lawyers to the community after finding out last week that the hotel had no fire exits, only one entrance, and the windows were wired shut to prevent children from getting inside.

French says temporary provisions have been made to ensure circuit court can be conducted on the reserve.

He says alternate arrangements have been made to make sure accommodations are available and the courts are able to go ahead.

In the meantime, French says a long-term solution must be found in consultation with the Innu band council, which operates the hotel. (VOCM)