HIGH RIVER, Alta. — The Alberta government is providing an extra $20 million to fast-track the remaining claims from the province’s 2013 floods.
Flooding in parts of southern Alberta in June, 2013 resulted in billions of dollars in damage. Hardest hit was the town of High River where entire neighbourhoods were under water for weeks.
There are still 2,000 applicants with open files under Alberta’s Disaster Recovery Program and Alberta Premier Jim Prentice said Saturday it’s time to put them to rest.
“The rebuilding of this community is an inspiration to all of us in Alberta and this is a time when Alberta needs inspiration,” said Prentice.
“It’s our intent by this summer the vast majority of the remaining claims will be resolved. Only the most difficult and complex files will remain open and even in those cases it’s our intent to get those cases closed as quickly as possible.”
Prentice said the government is adding an additional 15 temporary caseworkers to assist with file management.
In addition, he says those seeking to complete repairs on their homes will be able to receive a cash advance of 90 per cent of funding they are eligible to receive.
Previously, those looking for cash up front were only eligible for 50 per cent.
Once repairs have been completed, applicants can submit receipts to receive the final 10 per cent in funding.
Prentice said there is no plan at this point to free up extra money for homeowners in High River’s hard hit Hamptons neighbourhood who are asking for further compensation to get rid of black mould. He said they can apply under the current relief program.
“We’re aware of the circumstances in the Hamptons with black mould. This 90 per cent rule, if you will, will work for all claimants but it will work in particular for those who are affected by black mould,” Prentice said.
“If they’ve now discovered black mould in their home there’s an opportunity, on a one-time basis, to make a decision for remediation. They’re eligible for the 90 per cent.”
High River Mayor Craig Snodgrass had been advocating for additional assistance from the province with those dealing with the mould problem. He said the premier has been thoroughly briefed and is encouraged.
“It’s moving in the right direction to get it dealt with…absolutely.”
The Disaster Recover Program received more than 10,500 applications after the June, 2013 floods. More than 8,400 cases have been closed and nearly $110 million in financial aid provided.
© The Canadian Press, 2015