No flood relief for cottage owners in Renfrew County
Provincial disaster relief program only covers primary residences
Dozens of cottage owners in Renfrew County affected by flooding west of Ottawa are finding out they won't qualify for government flood relief money to repair their damaged properties.
About 120 people packed the Horton Recreation Centre Monday night for the first public information session about the spring flood.
Of the 165 properties affected in Horton Township, officials said 96 homes are classified as cottages, and as such will not be eligible for flood relief money. Across Renfrew County more than 800 property owners have reported flood damage, and more than half of those properties — 436 at last count — are seasonal residences.
"It's unfair. When you get to be older you want to be comfortable and this is what you spend your money for and invest it like I have. It's kind of a retirement thing," Lockwood said.
"And it's all gone."
Fund covers primary residences only
For Lockwood and the rest of the affected cottage owners in the area, there will be no provincial help even though they pay property tax on their cottages.
In order to qualify for funds under Ontario's Disaster Recovery Assistance Program, the damaged property must be a primary residence and not a secondary one, such as a cottage.
Bob Kingsbury, the mayor of Horton Township, said he thinks that's wrong.
"These are the same people that are paying some of the highest taxes in our townships and yet when it comes to disaster relief, there's nothing there for them," he said.
"Their tax money went into the coffers, same as the primary residents, yet when they need help they're out of luck."
Water warnings came late, residents say
Renfrew County residents also wanted to know why they weren't given more warning about rising water levels so they could have been better prepared.
Kingsley said he would have liked more information from the various authorities that monitor water levels in the region.
- A previous version of this story stated 165 properties in Renfrew County were affected by the flood, including 69 cottages. In fact 96 of those properties were cottages, and the figures refer only to Horton Township, not the entire county.May 16, 2017 4:10 PM ET