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Alberta homes, businesses damaged by spring flooding can access provincial fund

A person stands on top of truck surrounded by floodwaters near Carrot Creek, Alta. Yellowhead County declared a state of local emergency following days of heavy rain in June 2023.  (Yellowhead County/Facebook - image credit)
A person stands on top of truck surrounded by floodwaters near Carrot Creek, Alta. Yellowhead County declared a state of local emergency following days of heavy rain in June 2023. (Yellowhead County/Facebook - image credit)

The Alberta government is making $68 million available for people in Edson, Whitecourt, Yellowhead and Woodlands Counties who suffered losses in the floods caused by heavy rain and spring runoff last June.

Homeowners, businesses, non-profits and farms affected by spring flooding in the affected areas can apply to the provincial government for disaster recovery assistance

Mike Ellis, Alberta's minister of public safety and emergency services, said the funding will help cover losses not covered by insurance like damage to homes, businesses, and municipal infrastructure, emergency operations and cleanup.

Municipalities have already received some funding. Businesses and homeowners have until Feb. 26, 2023, to apply for help. The province will provide 90 per cent of the funding. Homeowners can receive no more than $500,000.

The Town of Whitecourt estimates it sustained between $2.6 million and $3 million in costs due to the heavy rains that flooded the Athabasca and McLeod River basins. The town declared a local state of emergency and residents living in riverfront homes had to flee due to flooding.

Mayor Tom Pickard said the town has already spent money on clean-up and repairing infrastructure such as culverts.

He said having the province pick up 90 per cent of the cost is important.

"This is vital to us," Pickard said. "It's a responsibility we have to all citizens in our region, and this is part of our partnership with the provincial government."

The provincial government receives federal funding to help with disasters and mitigation.

While stressing that he has a good relationship with his federal counterparts, Ellis said the $1.8 billion in funding available for mitigation doesn't go far when it is shared by 10 provinces and three territories.

"It may sound like a big number, but when you divide that through all of Canada, it really is not that big of a number," Ellis said.