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Post-disaster property buyout terms are provinces’ responsibility: Ottawa

Federal help for disaster relief kicks in once costs surpass what lower levels of government can reasonably cover


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Public Safety Canada says it places no restrictions on how provinces and territories set criteria for delivering disaster financial assistance after some residents of a small B.C. community devastated by flooding last year say they were disappointed to learn that property buyouts will be lower than expected.

The City of Grand Forks has said it advocated for funding to support buyouts based on pre-flood values, but the best compensation it could get from provincial and federal funding streams was based on post-flood assessments.

The statement was issued in June, the same month that federal, provincial and local governments made a joint funding announcement of $49 million through the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund to support recovery efforts.

Infrastructure Canada, which manages the fund, says it has no role in determining the value of damaged homes or buying out homeowners affected by flooding.

Emergency Management B.C. says in a statement the goal of the fund is to find ways to give people affected by the floods the means and opportunity to rebuild homes and communities in Grand Forks.

It will also help rebuild Grand Forks with risk mitigation at the forefront, it says.

“This is an opportunity to make sure that if an event of this magnitude were to occur again, it would not have the same outcome for this region,” it said.

Federal help for disaster relief kicks in once costs surpass what lower levels of government could reasonably be expected to cover on their own.

Public Safety Canada said in May that provinces and territories have asked for about $137.9 million to help cover costs related to 10 floods.

The federal budget included $260 million over two years for disaster relief including relocation costs, buyouts and permanent removal of structures on vulnerable properties.

News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc. 2019

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