Disaster relief welcomed

To the relief of many, the provincial government has decided several district communities that suffered varying degrees of damage and loss because of severe weather July 31 will receive disaster relief funding.
As first reported in last Friday’s Daily Bulletin, Northern Development and Mines minister Dan Newman announced that eight municipalities and two unorganized areas will receive funding after applying through the Ontario Disaster Relief Assistance Program.
“I am proud that our government is responding to the severity of the situation in the northwest,” Newman said. “This program will give northerners access to much-needed assistance.”
The relief will come in the form of 100 percent compensation for municipalities, and a format of $90 funded for every $10 spent on repairs by individuals.
This comes as welcome news in Lake of the Woods Township, where the cost of the damage still has not been assessed as clean-ups slowly wind down.
“From the township’s point of view, definitely, we had quite a lot of damage here. I mean, we spent the last month cutting down trees,” Reeve Valerie Pizey noted Tuesday night.
Council there was scheduled to meet Tuesday to discuss how the disaster funding will be allocated. In the meantime, residents have continued to make repairs and save their bills in hopes they would be compensated.
“Anybody that called us we said, ‘Go ahead and do what you have to. You have to repair your homes but save your bills,’” noted Reeve Pizey.
“Now we need to start getting the bills in,” she added. “I’m sure it won’t be long before things start rolling.”
Severe winds and torrential rains caused substantial damage in Lake of the Woods Township while in the neighbouring municipality of Morson, flash flooding caused most of the damage.
“People suffered a lot of damage and, of course, it wasn’t insurable,” said Reeve Pizey. “There were a lot of people that just didn’t expect a flood here.”
In La Vallee, numerous barns were destroyed and houses damaged by a tornado.
“I think we had in the area of $70,000 [damage]. That represents a big portion of our roads budget,” noted La Vallee Reeve Ken McKinnon.
“[The funding is] really good news for us . . . it’s equally good news for ratepayers for their uninsured losses.
“With the farm community, they have so many out-buildings and it’s so costly to insure farms they were at a loss, but this is great news for them,” he added.
The others earmarked to receive disaster relief funding included Fort Frances and Rainy River, the townships of Emo, Chapple, and Dawson, and the Dance Statute Labour Board and Tupman Lake Road Association.
Flooding, strong winds, and torrential downpours damaged hundreds of roads, barns, and homes–and stranded residents in several communities–after three separate storms tore through the district July 31.