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New N.W.T. flood relief advances to provide up to $10K for business, residential property owners

The Northwest Territories government has announced some long-awaited financial assistance for those affected by flooding in the form of advances up to $10,000 for small business and residential property owners and up to $100,000 for community governments.

Emergency Disaster Assistance Advance Program will allow for 'immediate payments'

Homes in Little Buffalo River near Fort Resolution, N.W.T., seen on May 13, engulfed in water. (Tom Unka)

The Northwest Territories government has announced some eagerly awaited financial assistance for those affected by flooding in the form of advances up to $10,000 for small business and residential property owners and up to $100,000 for community governments.

An Emergency Disaster Assistance Advance Program will allow for "immediate payments" to residents, small businesses and community governments in areas of the territory affected by flooding along the Mackenzie River, said a news release issued Monday.

Those submitting a claim for assistance through the regular Disaster Assistance Policy (DAP) process can now access an advance of up to 50 per cent. Once a claim is submitted, any funding provided under this new policy will be deducted from the final eligible claim under the DAP, the release said.

"This program will quickly provide funds to affected residents, small businesses and community governments so that repairs can begin, and so that residents in affected communities can begin the work to return life to normal," said Caroline Wawzonek, minister of Finance, in a written statement

For residential property the maximum funding available under the program is 50 per cent of the preliminary assessment up to $10,000. For small business owners, it's 50 per cent of the preliminary assessment up to $10,000 and for community governments it's 50 per cent of the preliminary assessment up to $100,000.

A shed, lifted by flood waters, sits in the trees in Jean Marie River in May. (Anna Desmarais/CBC)

Eligible expenses include:

  • Emergency provision of essential community services.
  • Security measures including the removal of valuable assets and hazardous materials from a threatened area.
  • Repairs to public buildings and related equipment.
  • Repairs to public infrastructure such as roads and bridges.
  • Removal of damaged structures constituting a threat to public safety.
  • Restoration, replacement or repairs to an individual's dwelling (principal residence only).
  • Restoration, replacement or repairs to essential personal furnishings, appliances and clothing.
  • Restoration of small businesses including buildings and equipment.
  • Costs of damage inspection, appraisal and clean up.

Ineligible expenses include:

  • Repairs that are eligible for reimbursement through insurance.
  • Costs already reimbursed by another government program.
  • Normal operating expenses of a government department or agency.

"Flood recovery requires collaboration between community residents and all levels of government," said Shane Thompson, minister of Municipal and Community Affairs, in a written statement.

"The GNWT recognizes that flood recovery can be a lengthy process. We understand that for those affected, there are immediate needs to be addressed. By launching this program, we intend to assist in addressing those needs."

An aerial view of the flooding in Fort Simpson this May. (Christine Horesay)

Applications for the program will be accepted until July 31 and the spending must be complete by Oct. 31.

Community assessments

The territory said in the news release that assessment in Jean Marie River has been complete and reports are now starting to come in from the consultant, according to the release. Assessment in Fort Good Hope is also wrapped up and reports will begin to come in shortly.

Meanwhile in Fort Simpson, assessment continues and is expected to be complete by the end of this week with reports to follow.

The territory said it is in the process of scheduling assessments for Hay River and Little Buffalo River. Urgent repairs have begun, the territory said, to prevent further damage and mould.

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