Dam­age still un­clear

Min­is­ter says 10,000 homes and busi­nesses in flood zones; cit­i­zens still fil­ing claims for dis­as­ter re­lief

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - ATLANTIC -

New Brunswick’s en­vi­ron­ment min­is­ter has given a new sense of scale to the prov­ince’s record-set­ting floods, say­ing as many as 10,000 homes and busi­nesses were within flood zones.

Andrew Har­vey said Thurs­day that pre­cise fig­ures have yet to come in on the ex­tent of the dam­age those struc­tures suf­fered, as cit­i­zens are still fil­ing their claims for dis­as­ter re­lief.

“There have been close to 10,000 for res­i­den­tial or com­mer­cial prop­er­ties that could be af­fected,” he said dur­ing a news con­fer­ence.

“Some of these num­bers are mov­ing as we get new in­for­ma­tion as to how many ac­tual ap­pli­ca­tions we have for dis­as­ter fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance.”

The min­is­ter said the fig­ure was based on Ser­vice New Brunswick’s prop­erty iden­ti­fi­ca­tion num­bers lo­cated within the flooded ar­eas.

Pro­vin­cial of­fi­cials also said that as of Thurs­day morn­ing, there were 2,200 peo­ple who had regis­tered for the dis­as­ter re­lief pro­gram, which cov­ers some of the unin­sur­able dam­ages in an ef­fort to get home­own­ers back on their feet.

Mean­while, the prov­ince has es­ti­mated there are also about 2,000 recre­ational prop­er­ties that have suf­fered dam­age.

The rivers — swollen by heavy rains and snow melt — swamped homes through­out the re­gion and caused some cot­tages to col­lapse, with some even float­ing off their foun­da­tions.

Har­vey also told re­porters the prov­ince will have to con­sider chang­ing the rules gov­ern­ing what can be built in the flood plains of the Saint John River and other wa­ter­ways.

The prov­ince had an­nounced that it will re­quire prop­erty own­ers to start con­sid­er­ing flood mit­i­ga­tion mea­sures be­fore they’re given a per­mit to re­build or ren­o­vate in ar­eas within 30 me­tres of the wa­ter.

How­ever, Har­vey con­ceded that this is merely a start­ing point, as wider changes to mu­nic­i­pal by­laws and zon­ing rules have to be con­sid­ered in the wake of the sec­ond ma­jor flood in a decade in his prov­ince.

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