It may have taken almost an extra week but the provincial government last Wednesday also declared the Township of Sioux Narrows-Nestor Falls a disaster area.
This means the municipality is eligible for funding under the Ontario Disaster Relief Assistance Program (ODRAP).
Despite the delay, Reeve Jerry O’Leary praised the provincial and federal governments for their speedy response to the flooding damage.
“It’s not very often we throw roses at the government but I thought Chris Hodgson’s action was quick and decisive and timely,” he said.
“In Thunder Bay, Ian Smith was very helpful and very understanding. I really have to commend the Ontario government. I’m very impressed, actually.
“I hope they can keep the speed up,” he laughed.
O’Leary said the biggest disappointment to residents in his township was lack of insurance
“It was a rude awakening. We thought we had insurance but when you read the fine print. you don’t,” he remarked.
“The water is receding but very slowly. Needless to say, we’ve had a lot of rain on and off,” O’Leary continued. “There’s still approximately 18 inches at the parking lot at the air base and there’s base flooding around Pine Lake.
“This is the worst I’ve seen it up here,” he added. “The water is actually up almost two metres in Pine Lake.”
Parts of Northwestern Ontario experienced severe flooding June 9-11 that caused extensive damage to private properties and local infrastructure in the area.
“The province is committed to helping the residents overcome the effects of this disaster,” Hodgson said in extending the disaster area to include Sioux Narrows-Nestor Falls, which straddles both Rainy river District and Kenora District.
“We will do what’s necessary to help alleviate the hardship that residents in this area are facing,” he pledged.
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 call 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 has decided to waive the requirement of local fundraising in this circumstance.
“We will provide the financial assistance that’s needed to restore this area to pre-disaster condition as soon as possible,” Hodgson said.
Special assistance of up to 100 percent also will be provided to the municipality to cover eligible costs associated with rebuilding damaged infrastructure.