Government Services Minister Craig Leonard says he's pleased with the progress the provincial government is making as it hands out disaster financial assistance for flood victims in the northwestern village of Perth-Andover.
Leonard said in an interview on Monday that less than two months after the flood, half of the claims have already been processed and paid out.
"All we can do is look at it from a historical point of view. The response on the Perth situation has been probably one of the fastest we've ever had in the province," he said.
"Looking back to the [St. John River flood in] 2008, it was about six months before cheques started rolling out to people, in Charlotte County [in 2010 and 2011], it took upwards of four months for that to happen."
Leonard said all flood victims in Perth-Andover have now applied for assistance.
He said advanced payments have been made to everyone who is eligible.
And some offers have been made that could come close to buyout value.
Premier David Alward said shortly after the flood happened that the provincial government would consider buying out some homeowners who are living in the flood zone.
In 2010, the New Brunswick government bought out the homes of 22 people following a series of floods across the province. The 22 homes, which were damaged beyond repair, met specified criteria set out by the government in the disaster financial assistance program.
SNB office opening
Service New Brunswick will move back to its regular office in Perth-Andover on Monday, from its temporary location at Marty's Electric.
Leonard said the Service New Brunswick office will allow residents to get answers to any questions they have about disaster financial assistance options.
"Many times it is something that can be fixed right away because it is just something that either side isn't aware of, either it is the property owner that is not aware they need to do a little step or vice versa," Leonard said.
"And so, that is a situation where we want to make sure people have access to those answers and that is what a big part of the SNB office that is opening today will be."
The March 23 flood caused the community of about 1,770 people to declare a state of emergency. The flood level was roughly 1.5 metres higher than the last major flood in 1987.
It destroyed houses and businesses, damaged schools and the hospital, washed out roads, and forced about 500 people to leave their homes.
The Hotel-Dieu Hospital in Perth-Andover is closed and sections are damaged beyond repair. Meanwhile students from Southern Victoria High have been sent to schools around the region to finish their year because of damage sustained by the high school.
The village will have to replace its largest private sector employer.
Thing5 — a hotel reservation centre, which was formerly known as Virtual Agent Services — announced it won't be reopening its office after the flood.
The company informed the village the damage to its facility from the record March 23 flood was too great for it to rebuild.