Premier McGuinty Announces Speedy Relief For Peterborough Flood Victims
Province Providing $5 Million "Down Payment" Toward Damages
TORONTO -- To help speed assistance for the victims of the Peterborough flood, the Ontario government has set aside a "down payment" of $5 million as a first step toward recovery, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty announced today.
"When I visited Peterborough last week, people asked us to cut through the red tape to get provincial assistance to homeowners and small business owners as quickly as possible, and that's what we're doing with this initial payment," Premier McGuinty said following a Cabinet meeting.
"It ensures people in Peterborough will get some money within weeks, instead of waiting for months. I want to stress that this is the beginning of provincial aid, and not the end. There will be more money once we have a better handle on the total costs."
In the early morning of July 15, 190 mm of rain fell in the Peterborough area, causing extensive damage to public and private properties. The affected areas include the City of Peterborough, the County of Peterborough, and the Townships of Smith-Ennismore-Lakefield, Otonabee-South Monaghan and Duoro-Dummer.
The amount of $5 million is for speedy assistance under the Ontario Disaster Relief Assistance Program (ODRAP).
It will provide advance assistance of $500 per household for emergency living needs and cleanup. Where family income is less than $24,000, the program will also provide help of up to $6,000 for extreme financial hardship situations. Small businesses will also be provided with advance assistance of up to $2,500 for cleanup and emergency repairs.
The City of Peterborough has agreed to administer the funds on behalf of all five affected municipalities. Further details about provincial assistance will be announced early next week as soon as a local disaster relief office is established to receive claims. Some of the $5 million will also help the affected municipalities with their immediate cleanup and emergency response costs.
The $5 million is a down payment in anticipation of Peterborough's request to be declared a disaster area, making it eligible for assistance under ODRAP. The total amount of the province's assistance will not be known until after the full extent of the flood damages is confirmed.
"Our government is committing this initial amount of $5 million, in anticipation of a request from Peterborough council, to provide early financial assistance to the victims of the recent flood in Peterborough," said Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing John Gerretsen. "We are working as fast as possible to alleviate the hardship that residents and small businesses in this area are facing."
When a flood hit Peterborough in 2002, it took between six and ten months for residents to receive cheques from Queen's Park.
"We're committed to growing strong, safe, livable communities in Ontario, and that commitment includes helping Peterborough recover from the damage caused by the recent floods," said Gerretsen.