Photo: Johanna Morrow, a provincial representative from Emergency Management BC explains to residents what types of provincial funding is available for those who were affected by the last month’s flood./Kimberley Molina
A Town Hall meeting was held Monday, for Fort St. John residents affected by the July 29 downpour and subsequent flooding.
Both city and provincial officials were on hand to answer questions about the newly announced provincial emergency disaster funding available for the City’s property owners.
Over 20 residents from different parts of the city were in attendance to find out what types of damage are covered by the provincial Disaster Financial Assistance and what is required to apply.
Residents affected by flooding were encouraged to first speak with their insurance companies before applying for provincial aid.
The reason for first speaking with one’s insurance company is because many items, such as sewer backup are covered through insurance and would not be covered by the DFA, says Johanna Morrow, the manager of recovery and funding programs for Emergency Management BC.
Morrow says the program helps return certain items to their pre-disaster condition, but does not cover all items that have been lost.
The main purpose of the funding is to ensure one’s property is safe and dry, she says, adding that it can also help pay for some personal items that may have been destroyed.
One concern expressed by some of the residents at the meeting was if they would receive help with their hydro and water bills from having to clean up after the flood.
City Manager Dianne Hunter says she would consider the possibility but added that at this time, the City doesn’t have an emergency fund for disaster situations.
She says the City does recognize the event was traumatic for some residents, is learning from it, and is working to ensure a similar situation does not happen in the future.
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Morrow says the process for applying for the provincial funding is fairly straightforward.
Once an application is received, the emergency program staff determines whether a property owner is eligible, then assigns it to an evaluator who views the property and assesses the damage.
Although Morrow says it’s important to take pictures of any damage sustained, she stresses that it’s important residents begin cleaning up after this type of event as soon as possible.
The province officially declared the City’s flooding event was eligible for funding on Aug. 6.
Morrow says determining whether an area can be eligible for disaster funding is not black and white. The province looks at what impact an event had on both people and property.
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Property owners now have until Nov. 2, 2010 to submit an application to be considered for funding.
The Disaster Financial Assistance guidelines can be viewed below.