Province announces support for Minden
|By Mark Arike - Staff Writer | May 18, 2017
The Disaster Recovery Assistance for Ontarians program has been activated in Minden Hills, meaning some provincial money will be available for residents and business owners affected by the flood.
Municipal Affairs Minister Bill Mauro delivered the good news after going for a half-hour tour of the village with Reeve Brent Devolin last Friday (May 12).
Just two days prior, MPP Laurie Scott called on Mauro to activate the program immediately. He declined at the time, saying it would have been premature to do so.
“We have a program that helps, but I’m really concerned with people trying to expedite a process and raising expectations for their community members,” Mauro said in the Legislature.
Scott attended last Friday’s announcement at the Minden Hills administrative building along with MP Jamie Schmale.
“Laurie has been asking me about your particular community for some time, and it’s a pleasure to work with her on your behalf,” said Mauro.
The program, which is administered by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, has also been activated in Renfrew County, Ottawa, Clarence-Rockland, Champlain, Petawawa, Greater Madawaska and Arnprior.
“There is a fair bit of work that goes into delineating the parts of the communities that will be under the program,” Mauro said.
The program provides financial assistance “in the aftermath of a natural disaster that causes costly, widespread damage to eligible private property,” according to its website. Homeowners, tenants, small owner-operated businesses, farmers, and not-for-profit organizations can apply for “basic, necessary costs related to the disaster.”
More than 200 properties in Minden might be affected this time, according to a report from the ministry.
During the 2013 flood, residents and businesses accessed ODRAP. But, the community had to fundraise to receive money for private property owners. This mandatory component was removed when it underwent changes in recent years.
“This is key for two reasons,” explained Mauro. “One: no responsibility on the local community. Two: You don’t have to do that work to fundraise. That means we can expedite processing claims sooner.”
But what hasn’t changed after the last time is that only primary residences are eligible under the private side of the program. This means that affected cottagers are out of luck. Minden Hills council lobbied for change, but it didn’t happen.
Mauro encourages residents to keep all receipts related to their property as that information will be required in the application process.
The municipality might be eligible for financial support from the Municipal Disaster Recovery Assistance program. It helps with capital costs and infrastructure repairs.
To apply for assistance, visit ontario.ca/DisasterAssistance or call 1-844-780-8925.
The deadline is Sept. 11. The province gave Minden Hills $950,000 in 2013.
MARK ARIKE is a reporter for The Highlander.