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A decision on whether flood-damaged areas of Algoma will receive provincial disaster-relief funds may not come before the middle of next week.
The community of Iron Bridge declared itself a disaster area Wednesday, the same day the Ontario cabinet approved aid which could top $2 million for the Field, Ont. region.
But Marc Trewin, subsidies director with the intergovernmental affairs ministry, said today he doubted the cabinet would meet to discuss the Algoma flooding before the regular Wednesday session.
Subsidies manager Lloyd Dupas Wednesday inspected damage in Search-mont and Goulais River and today was to meet with officials in Iron Bridge, where the Mississagi River continued to recede.
Reeve Harvey Eaket said scattered rain that started Wednesday appears to be making little difference.
"Water in the Eaket subdivision (scene of the worst flooding) has dropped a lot," he added. "It's still over the road in one place, but nowhere near as deep as it was."
But with no power or drinking water and with weeping tiles and tile-beds still under water, residents of a 10-unit seniors' building and about 15 houses are still unable to return home.
Mr. Eaket said town councillors voted to declare the village of 820 a disaster area as a first step in gaining the funds.
No total damage figure for Algoma has been determined, but in Searchmont, where 40 were left homelss at the peak of Goulais River flooding last week, a preliminary estimate pegged major damage at $100,000.
In Iron Bridge Mr. Eaket said earlier, damage could reach $1 million.
Today he said it was too early to name a figure but he repeated that damage will be high — "I know one man whose house received $20,000 damage."
He also reiterated charges that the failure of ministry of natural resources (MNR) dams contributed to the flooding, a feeling common among Iron Bridge residents.
"In my opinion this is due to mismanagement of some way," he said. "The blame has to live with natural resources."
Officials of the MNR, which operates the two breached dams on the Little White River, a Mississagi tributary, have said water would have spilled over the tops if the dams hadn't failed. Natural resources Blind River district manager Don Hagar said the broken dams "were only part of the net effect, and to what extent I don't know."
None of the damage was covered by insurance and Mr. Eaket said the village, 71 miles east of Sault Ste. Marie, will press for more than 50-50 assistance.
"We have a big majority of elderly people on pensions and no industry here," he said. "We couldn't possibly raise the type of money that will be necessary."
In the Field region, the province will contribute up to $4 for every dollar raised
by the municipalities, corporations and others who contribute to a disaster relief fund to be set up by local communities.
Under the program the province usually matches local funds dollar-for-dollar, but the higher ratio was chosen because of the severity of the situation.
Mr. Trewin warned that funding "involves a fair amount of local work. It's not a straight handout."
Raising local funds could be particularly difficult in the unorganized areas of Goulais and Searchmont and in Eastman subdivision between Iron Bridge and Thessalon, another area where damage is extensive.
- Media Type
- Item Type
- A clipping regarding whether the Province would provide flood damage relief funds after the 1979 floods in several areas of Ontario. Iron Bridge was declared a disaster area and the preliminary damage estimates were $100,000.00
- Date of Original
- May 1979
- Local History
- Language of Item
- Geographic Coverage
Latitude: 46.28336 Longitude: -83.23318
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