Flood compensation to top million-dollar mark

The province already has poured $150,000 into Rainy River district in advance payments for flood damage and expects to have reached more than $1 million in damage claims over the next few weeks.
Under the Ontario Disaster Relief Assistance Program, the province has offered an advanced payment of up to $2,500 per household to cover the costs of clean-up and repairs for homes, farms, and businesses damaged by severe flooding June 9-11.
Homeowners, farmers, and businesses in 10 district municipalities, as well as the townships of Ignace, Sioux Narrows-Nestor Falls, and Machin in Kenora District, are eligible for the advances, which later will be deducted from their official ODRAP claim.
“Advanced claims and payouts to people as of Friday was over $150,000 so far,” Ian Mollett, manager of the disaster relief office here, said.
Just over 150 claims have been submitted for flood damage worth more than $861,000. Mollett noted some of the claims didn’t include an estimate and he expected compensation would easily top the $1-million mark.
He added more homeowners, farmers, and businesses are expected to come forward in the next few weeks.
“There are examples of tourism businesses who said that just getting their business up and running during the tourism season was their first priority and beginning the claim process was second,” Mollett said.
So far, both the ministries of Municipal Affairs and Housing and Northern Development and Mines are pleased with the manner in which the province has dealt with this crisis.
“Residents are getting the help they need with immediate repairs and clean-up,” Municipal Affairs and Housing minister Chris Hodgson said Monday.
“I am pleased our government acted quickly to help residents adversely affected by the flooding,” echoed Northern Development and Mines minister Jim Wilson.
“I encourage those who need help covering the costs of clean-up and emergency repairs to make use of this assistance,” he stressed.
But Kim and Wade Desserre of Pinewood have mixed feelings about how the province is coping with flood damage.
Their home suffered an estimated $50,000-$60,000 in damage while it could cost a whopping $100,000 to repair farm equipment destroyed in the flood.
“They gave us the $2,500 up front. That did come out very quickly,” Kim Desserre said Monday. “Wade went in with his application on [July 3] and got his cheque on the fourth so that was out very quickly.
“[But] any other money to get started going with repair work is going to take a while,” she added. “ODRAP is just having a meeting now to select the adjuster and it won’t be until after that [and the adjuster’s inspections] that we will get any money.
“We’re looking at completely replacing our home, and several other people are looking at major repairs or completely replacing their homes,” Desserre noted.
“The $2,500 is a drop in the bucket.”
Advance payment forms are still available at municipal offices, government information centres, and the ODRAP office at 400 B Scott St. in Fort Frances.
For more information, contact the office at 1-866-282-9992 or visit www.mah.gov.on.ca
In related news, disaster relief office staff will be at the Atikokan municipal office (120 Mark St.) tomorrow (July 18) from 1-5 p.m. to answer questions.