Vivian ChuiOmineca Express
Vanderhoof’s council is appealing the province’s refusal to provide funding for private property damage caused by flooding in May.
Emergency Management BC has granted financial assistance to the district towards the immediate response to the flood and the damage to public property — sandbagging, for example — but not for damage caused to homes, said Tom Clement, the District’s Chief Administrative Officer.
“In making the decision they decided that there wasn’t enough damage, there weren’t enough homes to meet the criteria,” Clement said. “We’re going to appeal that and say one is enough, if there was damage.”
In response to Vanderhoof’s application, Emergency Management BC said that “the high water table from April 24th to June 24th and subsequent water seepage into residential low lying homes” was not eligible for Disaster Financial Assistance, after “[assessing] the severity of the event, the safety of people, the extent of the damage and the number of people and/or communities affected.”
Part of the district council’s appeal is to get a better understanding on the damage residents have, Clement said.
“It doesn’t sit well with council that there seems to be an arbitrary limit,” he said. “Is it 10 homes, 20 homes, or three homes?”
The district’s mayor Gerry Thiessen will meet with MLA John Rustad on Wednesday for his advocacy on the appeal.
“It was incredibly disappointing for us as the community that we didn’t qualify,” said Thiessen. “Especially as the person in charge of northern British Columbia’s emergency preparedness had recommended [Vanderhoof] to qualify for national disaster fund.”
For Paul Collard who resides on View Street, his finished basement had been affected by both this year’s flooding as well as in 2007.
“The cost has not been huge to fix things, but losing about 50 per cent of living space for 40 days in a year certainly is,” he said.