Disaster relief office to open next week

Following the declaration of Rainy River District as a disaster area last Friday, the Ministry of Housing and Municipal Affairs rep is setting up a claims office in Fort Frances, which should be open by next Wednesday.
“We’ll be getting further information out to the public as soon as possible,” said Ian Mollett, manager of the disaster relief claims office, which currently is set up at the Civic Centre but will be relocating to 400 B Scott St. next week.
He noted claim forms will be available there, which district residents who have suffered damage not covered by insurance can fill out.
Mollett added he’s still waiting for word on when advisors will be brought into the office. “But when we get them, they’ll be able to talk to people before they go to the adjusters,” he said.
The office will be open here for about six months, during which time the ministry-appointed staff will try to get as much done as possible, said Mollett.
He remarked the extent of the storm damage was amazing. “I’ve seen pictures. There’s hundreds of pictures and I was amazed at those,” said Mollett.
“Then, we went out yesterday and looked at the same sites. It was good to see the water was down to an extent. But now you can see the results of what happened,” added Mollett.
“I fully understand what the people are going through.”
There also was a meeting between Mollett and district municipalities last night, at which he asked representatives to go back to their respective areas and chose members for a disaster relief committee.
“Those representatives will be responsible for the program being implemented in that area and the hiring of adjusters,” noted Mollett.
The committee will be responsible for settling eligible claims made by affected residents at up to 90 percent.
The disaster relief committee likely will have its first meeting during the first week of July. It will meet on a weekly basis after that.
Meanwhile, Fort Frances also will be assessing the expenses involved in addressing last week’s storms and requesting assistance.
Just last month, the town received $28,989.70 from the ministry for 100 percent of the eligible costs for public damages under the Ontario Disaster Relief Assistance Program that were incurred during last July’s storms.
The claim was made in January.
The ministry declared the district as a disaster area last Friday. This covers the 10 municipalities and unorganized areas in the district, including Fort Frances, as well as the Township of Ignace in Kenora District.
The Township of Sioux Narrows-Nestor Falls also was declared a disaster area by Municipal Affairs and Housing minister Chris Hodgson on Wednesday.
The district last was declared a disaster area in October, 2001 following the vicious storms of July 31.