Disaster relief process started for Minden Hills
By Chad Ingram
Published May 12, 2017
Minden Hills residents who've been affected by the flood can now apply for disaster relief assistance from the provincial government.
Municipal Affairs minister Bill Mauro was in Minden on the afternoon of Friday, May 12.
“About fifteen minutes to half an hour ago, we received formal notice from my office in Toronto that we have formally activated the Ontario Disaster Assistance Relief Program for your community,” Mauro said at a press conference outside the municipal office.
Earlier this week, Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock MPP Laurie Scott asked Mauro in Queen's Park if the government would activate the assistance program.
“Will the minister enact the disaster relief assistance program immediately to Minden Hills so the people will know that the government will provide assistance to those affected?” Scott said. " You need to do it now, minister.”
“The answer is simply no, no I won't activate the program right now,” Mauro responded in the legislature at the time. “The assessment team needs to have the ability to get on the ground and create an assessment and find an area of geography and delineate the range and where and who might be eligible.”
Mauro reiterated that point in Minden on Friday afternoon.
“The emergency may be obvious on the ground, but to activate the program, we're trying to delineate an area of geography,” he said.
The Disaster Recovery Assistance for Ontario program replaced the former legislation, under which the community needed to raise money for funding matching. No community fundraising is required under the new program.
Residents and business owners who've been affected by the flood can register for the program on the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing website.
Levels on the Gull River had fallen two to three centimetres between Thursday and Friday. On whether this means the river has officially crested, Reeve Brent Devolin said he had no official comment.
Devolin has been on daily conference calls with reps from the Trent Severn Waterway.
Many roads in Minden remain closed to traffic, including the downtown strip of Bobcaygeon Road.
The township has also erected signage
that the bridge is closed to pedestrian use. The Loggers' Crossing
footbridge is also closed.
As for when these restrictions might be lifted, Devolin said, “As soon as we have a certain level of comfort, that nothing's happening for at least 24 hours and we don't have any surprises in weather, we will be happy to deconstruct what we've done, on a staged retreat.”
A flood warning remains in effect for Haliburton County and some rainfall is anticipated during the weekend.
Look for extended flood coverage in next week's Times.