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