Hodgson delivers interim disaster funding

District municipal leaders were all smiles yesterday morning at the Civic Centre in Fort Frances as they accepted cheques that totalled $1.5 million from Municipal Affairs and Housing minister Chris Hodgson.
But NDP leader and local MPP Howard Hampton also was on hand to ensure everyone in the district was remembered during the cheque presentations.
After his speech, Hodgson asked Hampton if he had anything to say.
“I’d like to thank the ministry for trying to work out the funding,” Hampton replied. “I’d also like to bend you ear about individual farm owners. They need to know what’s going to happen before the snow falls.”
Hodgson pledged that all disaster claims would be finalized as soon as possible.
“We expect claims will be out at the end of the year,” he said. “The province is committed to helping communities recover from the adverse effects of a disaster. I am pleased the province was able to contribute.
“It’s better than it’s ever been in terms of timeliness,” he added. “I’m pleased to say the assessment team was in place within 48 hours, a toll-free number was put in place, and over 600 claims were received.”
Hodgson also thanked the local Ontario Disaster Relief Assistance Program team who “worked all weekend to get personal claims done.”
Rainy River received the most money ($368,791), followed by Ignace ($202,809) and then Atikokan ($185,318).
Dawson was next ($135,247), followed by Chapple ($134,862), Fort Frances ($124,983), Machin ($100,000), Lake of the Woods ($88,342), Emo ($51,633), Morley ($49,902), La Vallee ($43,392), and Alberton ($14,241).
Sioux Narrows/Nestor Falls got the least amount of money ($9,161), but mayor Jerry O’Leary was on hand at the Civic Centre yesterday to accept his municipality’s cheque.
Although that township didn’t receive extensive damage—“only one road within Nestor Falls” was washed out—Mayor O’Leary said “Every little bit helps.”
“The government of Ontario has demonstrated its commitment to helping communities recover after a natural disaster,” said Fort Frances Mayor Glenn Witherspoon.
“Municipalities that suffered damages can now begin to rebuild knowing the necessary funds are available,” he added.
Some 13 municipalities in Northwestern Ontario were eligible for this assistance in the aftermath of the severe funding that occurred back June. Interim payments are based on estimates to date and represent about 50 percent of total damages.
The balance of funding will flow once the work has been completed.
ODRAP provides financial assistance to municipalities that sustain public damages as a result of a natural disaster.
Municipalities in a designated disaster area can apply for funding of up to 100 percent to cover eligible costs associated with rebuilding damaged infrastructure.