Disaster relief office to be set up

With the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing having declared the entire Rainy River District a disaster area Friday, town council officially agreed with the decision during a special meeting Monday night.
“It’s a very good thing to do,” said Mayor Glenn Witherspoon. “All kinds of people don’t have insurance to cover this sort of thing because of the frequency of flooding claims here.”
The newest development means local residents will be able to make claims to the province for flood damage in the near future.
“There’s going to be an [Ontario Disaster Relief Assistance Program] office set up here for people to use. It should be set up for the next six months or so,” the mayor remarked.
“Hopefully, we’ll have some more details in the next day or two,” he added.
Ministry rep Ian Millett was expected to be in town sometime Monday.
Friday’s declaration covers the 10 municipalities and unorganized areas in the district, including Fort Frances, as well as the Township of Ignace in Kenora District.
The ODRAP is a source of financial aid for losses of essential private property—not covered by insurance—suffered by private homeowners, farmers, small businesses, and non-profit organizations.
Guidelines calls for the establishment of a local volunteer disaster relief committee to be appointed by the affected municipalities as soon as possible.
The committee will be responsible for settling eligible claims made by affected residents at up to 90 percent.
The province decided to waive the requirement of local fundraising in this circumstance.
Special assistance also will be provided to all 11 municipalities to cover up to 100 percent of eligible costs associated with rebuilding infrastructure that was damaged.
Besides Fort Frances and Ignace, the 11 also include Alberton, Atikokan, Chapple, Dawson, Emo, La Vallee, Lake of the Woods, Morley, and Rainy River.
The district last was declared a disaster area in October, 2001 following the fierce storms July 31.

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