Nfld. & Labrador

Mud Lake households can get up to $270K in relocation funds to avoid future floods

The Newfoundland and Labrador government is relaxing its relocation assistance requirements for residents of Mud Lake who want to move over fears of future flooding.

Central Labrador community flooded in 2017, displacing residents and destroying properties

This photo from May 2017 shows flooding in Mud Lake. The community is downstream on the Churchill River from the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project. (Yvonne Jones)

The government of Newfoundland and Labrador is relaxing its relocation assistance requirements for residents of Mud Lake who want to move over fears of future flooding.

The central Labrador community was hit hard in 2017 when flooding of the Churchill River destroyed properties and forced people from their homes.

Some blamed the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project for the flood — a class-action suit making its way through the court system is seeking damages from Crown corporation Nalcor Energy — but an independent report in 2017 determined natural causes were likely to blame, concluding that ice blocked the river's mouth, forcing water over the banks.

Normally, the provincial government requires 75 per cent of a community's residents to vote in favour of relocation before the province agrees to assist.

But in a government press release issued Thursday, that threshold has been waived for Mud Lake because of the "environmental circumstances and geographic location of the community."

"Assistance is being extended as a result of previous and potential flooding events which have been an ongoing concern for some residents," reads the statement, from the Municipal and Provincial Affairs Department and the Environment and Climate Change Department.

"The decision to relocate or remain in the community will be up to each household."

Government payouts depend on how many people live in each household. 

A maximum of $270,000 is available for homes with three people, $260,000 for homes with two people and $250,000 for homes with one person. 

"We have heard concerns from the people of Mud Lake who have experienced flooding in the past, and the potential risks that may occur in the future," said Municipal and Provincial Affairs Minister Krista Lynn Howell in the statement.

"Residents have been seeking a resolution and we are pleased to provide this assistance to address the issues they have raised."

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