Chilliwack-Kent MLA Kelli Paddon praised the province’s approach to streamlining aid to those affected by future natural disasters in Agassiz-Harrison and beyond.
In view of the atmospheric river floods of 2021, the province recently reopened its Disaster Financial Assistance Program for applications up until July 27. Regulatory changes allow for broader eligibility for farmers, small businesses and rental unit owners.
These changes would allow small business owners to qualify for assistance related to last November’s floods if they can show $10,000 in revenue from operations. Until the April 28 announcement, small business owners and rental unit owners had to show at least half of their total income came from the business. The maxiumum annual revenue also increased from $1 million to $2 million.
On the local government level, Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said the province is putting forward a larger portion of funding for local infrastructure repairs and providing funding up front rather than waiting or smaller governments to finish the project before applying for aid.
Paddon said the changes to Disaster Financial Assistance will take the pressure off local governments and entrepreneurs.
“I have heard from the dedicated local officials and residents from Kent, the (Fraser Valley Regional District), Chilliwack and Cultus Lake about how important these changes are and have been happy to work closely with them and my colleagues in government as we continue recovery efforts after last year’s catastrophic atmospheric rivers,’ she stated. “I am so glad for this news and so grateful to everyone who has worked on this at all levels of government.”
Earlier this month, the District of Kent received more than $2 million toward flood recovery costs from the province, specifically for a project raising the elevation of Kamp Road, pump station and flood gate improvements and plans for flood mapping. The FVRD received $1.6 million for ongoing debris cleanup, stabilizing banks on local rivers and streams and repairing damaged infrastructure.
– With files from Tom Fletcher