Nfld. & Labrador

Province sets aside $2.96M for Mud Lake flooding victims

The province has secured nearly $3 million in readily available relief funding for people who were evacuated from their homes on May 17 — when Mud Lake and a portion of Happy Valley-Goose Bay were flooded.

MHA Perry Trimper says residents will be contacted about money they’re entitled to starting Wednesday

An aerial photo shows the flooding in one area of Mud Lake near Happy Valley-Goose Bay. (Donald Edmunds)

The province has secured nearly $3 million in readily available relief funding for people who were evacuated from their homes on May 17 — when Mud Lake and a portion of Happy Valley-Goose Bay were flooded.

Residents haven't received their assessments yet, but Lake Melville MHA Perry Trimper says, starting Wednesday, the Department of Municipal Affairs and Environment will begin contacting claimants.

Lake Melville MHA Perry Trimper says claimants will be contacted by the Department of Municipal Affairs and Environment beginning Wednesday. (Mark Quinn/CBC)

"We're still not saying that everything is going to be covered, but what we are telling you is that we are pushing the boundary as to what is deemed to be an essential item of your property," said Timper.

"Things like generators, woodstoves, trailers, chainsaws, kerosene heaters, fishing equipment, freezers and out buildings … chicken coops, power tools, canoe. These kind of things are being included."

If more [money] is legitimately needed, then we'll take a look at that.- MHA Perry Trimper

Trimper said Mud Lake does not have regular road access, which is why the province dipped into a contingency fund and extended the kind of items being considered.

The $2.96 million was determined by adding together the high-end assessment of the 33 claims that have been made to date — 20 residential in Mud Lake, eight residential on the access road in Happy Valley-Goose Bay and the remaining in small business and nonprofit claims.

"If more [money] is legitimately needed, then we'll take a look at that," said Trimper.

Resident seeking legal advice

Residents can either take a cash settlement or a settlement that would cover the cost of contractors.

Mud Lake resident John Chaission initiated a class action lawsuit for flood victims. (CBC)

"Before I do any signing or anything, I'm sending it to my lawyer." said John Chaission, a Mud Lake Road resident who initiated a class action lawsuit for flood victims.

"I don't want to sign a document that's going to release the provincial government or Nalcor from this class action lawsuit."

Claimants will be required to sign a final release and indemnity form if they choose to tap into the relief fund.

Study into cause underway

In the meantime, an independent assessment into whether Muskrat Falls is at fault for the flooding is being conducted and is expected to be released next month. 

"If there was something to happen with Nalcor, and Nalcor was paying you for that damage, I would assume that anything that you received under our program … any payout that you receive from Nalcor would be reduced by that amount," Nancy Emberley, with the province's Department of Municipal Affairs and Environment, told the the people who attended the Happy Valley-Goose Bay meeting over speaker phone.

Aerial views of Mud Lake show houses under water during the spring flood. (Jacob Barker/CBC)

"It wouldn't stop you from doing anything with regard to suing Nalcor or anything like that."

In order for the federal government to supply disaster relief funding, damages have to hit around the $1.5 million mark.

Trimper said the province will be contacting the minister of public safety and emergency preparedness now that damages appear to have exceeded that threshold.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Katie Breen

Video producer

Katie Breen shoots and edits video for CBC in St. John's. She began working in news ten years ago as a reporter. Now she tells most stories from behind the camera. You can reach her at katie.breen@cbc.ca

now