New Brunswick will seek federal relief for Arthur damages
Infrastructure Minister Claude Williams says officials are analyzing the damage caused by Arthur
Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Claude Williams says the New Brunswick government will seek federal disaster relief funds to help lessen the financial burden of cleaning up after post-tropical storm Arthur.
Williams said Arthur, which swept through New Brunswick on July 5, caused less damage to provincial infrastructure compared to recent floods and other storms.
However, he said on Tuesday that his staff across the province are busy tallying up all of the Arthur-related costs.
"At this point, yes we are gathering all of the information and we know once the damages hit $750,000 the province is eligible under the disaster program," Williams said.
"Certainly, staff is tallying all of the information that would be eligible under that fund and our intention with [the Department of] Public Safety is certainly to go and have access to help alleviate and cover the costs that we have incurred up until now."
Williams said it may cost $300,000 to fix one damaged bridge between Bath and Florenceville-Bristol.
So he said the preliminary estimates indicate the provincial government will surpass the $750,000 threshold to qualify for federal disaster relief funding.
In a July 8 email to CBC News, an official with Public Safety Canada said the federal government would help the New Brunswick government with funds if they were requested.
"When large natural disasters strike, the Government of Canada's priority is to work closely with the provinces and territories to assist Canadians. We have not had a request from the province of New Brunswick but if we do, Public Safety Canada will work to provide that assistance without delay," according to the federal department.
The provincial infrastructure minister said part of the assessment and planning process for rebuilding after Arthur is ensuring that bridges and highways can sustain future storms.
"Some of those bridges have been there for 40 or 60 years and with the climate change maybe today we need to look at other ways to make sure it is sustainable on the long term," he said.