New Brunswick

Government commission helping flood victims navigate complex paperwork

A government agency in New Brunswick is trying it make it easier for some people to put their lives back together after this spring's record flooding by being more accessible.

Body that oversees building permits in Fredericton is hitting the road to help citizens

Building inspector Keith Manderville says 45 people have come to the Regional Service Commission 11 pop-up stations to have questions answered. (Matthew Bingley/CBC)

A government agency in New Brunswick is trying it make it easier for some people to put their lives back together after this spring's record flooding by being more accessible.

The Regional Service Commission 11 oversees building permits for the Fredericton region, including the Grand Lake area. Before anyone can rebuild, move, or demolish a structure, they first need to submit the correct forms. To help the weary masses navigate that world, the commission has been offering their services at sites closer to residents.

While they thought the information was helpful, Rick and Marilyn Ingram said they still have a long way to go. (Matthew Bingley/CBC)

Walking around her cottage on Robertson's Cove Road in Jemseg, Marilyn Ingram points out some of the worst damage. When the wind came up, it knocked the building off its foundation. While she and her husband have cleaned up the inside, they first need to fill out the right forms.

"[It's] tremendously stressful because, you know, there's so many different people, so many different government organizations," said her husband Rick Ingram.

Building inspectors with Regional Service Commission 11 have been helping property owners navigate the road to recovery. (Matthew Bingley/CBC)

It's this reason why the Ingrams came to a parking lot in front of the Mill Cove Nursing Home for help.

Under a pop-up tent, RSC 11 building inspector Keith Manderville and a colleague have been greeting property owners like the Ingrams, many arriving with an armload of paperwork.

"We've been helping people fill out their building permit applications, give them some advice on you know, how to rebuild and if they can rebuild," said Manderville.

The Ingram's cottage, like many others, was swept off its foundation during the flood. They decided they needed help to find out which permits they need to file to fix it. (Matthew Bingley/CBC)

This is the third location where RSC 11 employees have offered the services. Getting around the area is still difficult due to damaged infrastructure, so Manderville said they deployed to areas around Grand Lake to make it more accessible. So far, he said more than 45 people have come seeking advice.

Even with the advice, Rick Ingram said he was only feeling a little more confident.

"We'll see what happens, it's a long complicated process," he said.

Marie McNeill came by to sort out several pieces of paperwork, including a permit to repair her washed-out lawn. She had to evacuate her Waterborough home for 12 days when several structures were swept away.

"I think it's great," she said.

Even with the help, McNeill said the help she received finding the right forms only relieved a small amount of stress.

Manderville said if people have questions, they should call the office.

"We'll try to lead you in the right direction," he said.

The RSC 11 team will be putting on two more sessions in the next week. They'll return to the Mill Cove Nursing Home on June 1, followed by Hunters One Stop General Store in Douglas Harbour the next day. Both sessions will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.


Matthew Bingley is a CBC reporter based in Saint John.