Provincial flood aid still pending

Central Alberta communities are waiting patiently to see if they will be accepted into a provincial disaster aid program that would help residents, businesses and municipalities themselves recover from flooding in mid July.

The City of Red Deer closed two pedestrian bridges on Piper Creek after flooding in July damaged the bridges’ supports.

The City of Red Deer closed two pedestrian bridges on Piper Creek after flooding in July damaged the bridges’ supports.

Central Alberta communities are waiting patiently to see if they will be accepted into a provincial disaster aid program that would help residents, businesses and municipalities themselves recover from flooding in mid July.

The City of Red Deer is among several municipalities that applied to the Disaster Recovery Program in the hopes of recovering uninsurable losses from severe weather experienced on July 12 and 13. Red Deer estimated 500-plus homes were affected by flooding.

Karen Mann, emergency management co-ordinator for the city, said she recognizes receiving a government answer will take time because there were so many flooding events that occurred around the same time.

“We’re trying to be patient,” said Mann.

Mann said her department is starting to receive inquiries again from residents, wondering if the provincial aid package is coming through.

The city is directing people onto the city’s website because that is where the information will be updated, she added.

The Town of Lacombe also filed for disaster aid on behalf of its residents, small businesses and the municipality.

Acting chief administrative officer Michael Minchin said the town filed a similar application in the summer of 2007.

“Unfortunately, when these things hit the summer, it takes a little longer,” Minchin said. “So we’re anticipating hearing something in the next few weeks.”

Minchin said the town was seeking about $1.8 million on behalf of residents/small businesses and less than $50,000 for the municipality.

“It would have been the most we’ve asked for in the last 10, 15 years — it was certainly larger than the claim we had in 2007.”

Flood aid has been trickling out across Alberta, including $7 million announced on Aug. 17 to the Vermilion and Cold Lake areas. Another $203.5 million was approved for disaster recovery programs in south and southeastern Alberta.

Municipal Affairs spokesman Tim Chander said he couldn’t speculate as to when any further announcements would occur.

“This summer, there have been a number of significant weather events and applications from throughout,” Chander said on Friday.

He expects that people have called their insurance companies in the meantime, documented the damage with pictures, cleaned up the mess and kept all receipts. Municipalities would receive financial aid for any cleanup and overtime costs experienced from a severe weather event.

Each application is thoroughly reviewed to see if some items, including reports of sewer backup, should be covered by insurance and therefore wouldn’t qualify through the program, Chander said.

A disaster recovery committee within the Alberta Emergency Management Agency is responsible for reviewing each application filed by municipalities, he said.

ltester@bprda.wpengine.com