Condo boards and residential landlords in Fort McMurray and surrounding flood-stricken areas of northern Alberta will have until August 5 to apply for provincial funding to help cover uninsurable damage. Unit owners and tenants may also be eligible for the newly announced disaster recovery program, which will make up to $147 million available for restoring public infrastructure and private property.
More than 3,000 people are still displaced from their homes and/or businesses after massive ice jams caused flooding along the Athabasca, Clearwater and Peace Rivers last month. At its height, more than 14,000 residents were forced to evacuate.
“These immense challenges are only made worse by the ongoing pandemic, and I know that many people are overwhelmed and worried for the future,” says Alberta Premier Jason Kenney. “I want to tell you that your government is here for you. All of Alberta is here for you and, together, we will get through this and rebuild.”
Notably, though, the funding applies to uninsurable losses rather than uninsured property. To qualify, homeowners and tenants will have to submit a letter from their insurers to prove that they have a policy and to outline the reasons why they will not be reimbursed for some damage.
Eligible landlords and small business owners must be hands-on operators/managers and own at least 50 per cent of the subject business. They must also generate between $6,000 and $15 million in annual revenue, have fewer than 20 fulltime equivalent employees and commit to rebuilding in the community.
The program rules clarify that funds are “a final resort to assist after a disaster” and are solely to “return essential property to its basic, pre-disaster, functional condition”. To qualify for the disaster recovery program, an afflicted region must also have experienced an extraordinary hardship, generally defined as “one-in-100-year event” related to natural forces such as rainfall, stream flow, ice jams, overland flood, wildfire or strong winds.
“Dealing with this disaster amid a pandemic makes this situation uniquely challenging, but the people of northern Alberta are determined and strong. We will be there to support them, and their local leaders, in their rebuilding efforts,” asserts Alberta’s Minister of Municipal Affairs, Kaycee Madu.