May 2, 2019 4:24 pm
Updated: May 2, 2019 5:03 pm

‘As much as a disaster as the flooding’: New Brunswickers hope flood assistance process runs smoother

WATCH: With many homes and properties flooded for the second year in a row, there could be changes coming to provincial flood assistance programs. Silas Brown explains.

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As the community of Maugerville, N.B., turns its attention towards cleaning and rebuilding after being hit by flood waters for the second year in a row, some are hoping that the process to receive financial assistance rolls out a little more smoothly.

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“Last year everybody got caught with their pants down, both with how quickly the flood raised, the damage that was done, and the aftermath and the mitigation and the compensation packages,” said local resident said Markus Harvey. “Nobody was prepared for the scale and the scope of what happened. So I think that’s where a majority of the issues started and came from.”

“Once the water went back into the river, the process of getting people back into their homes, getting money to them, and getting things fixed up was a quagmire and was as much as a disaster as the flooding.”

READ MORE: Health Canada warns victims of spring flooding about possible dangers to health 

Harvey says the community made out fairly well this time around, mostly due to successful buyouts and the amount of houses raised this summer.

“Moving forward, like I said, we learned from last year. A lot of us, you know, as a community learned and we’ve gotten better at dealing with this and governmentally. Hopefully they’re going in that same direction,” he said.

“We started that after last year. People started jacking their houses up, other houses got ploughed under, they got the money for it, they left.”

WATCH: Clean up begins in Grand Bay Westfield after flooding

Buzz Harvey had his house raised this summer, helping to avoid the flood waters this year. Harvey says that when it comes to assistance, there needs to be a balance between the needs of victims and the rest of the tax base in the rest of the province.

“I mean we all want all the money we can get, but you gotta realize it’s the tax payer’s money paying for this,” he said.

Last year claimants received 50 cents on the dollar to rebuild and 15 per cent of costs when raising their home.

READ MORE: Higgs says New Brunswick should be prepared for hard choices after second year of flooding

Premier Blaine Higgs has already said that the province will look at changing how assistance is given out, particularly if certain mitigation requirements should be tied to any funding paid out.

“I think going forward it’s a case of, as the water recedes, which it is now, understanding what has been the damage, what is it like now, did we just have a repeat performance and where do we start looking at where we’re building and how we’re building,” he said in Ottawa on Tuesday where he met with Finance Minister Bill Morneau to discuss federal contributions to disaster assistance.

“When people are renovating now, or repairing, are they making the necessary changes in their property to avoid this in the future, because … it’s like an insurance policy, you can’t just keep claiming it every year.”

An announcement on flood assistance for this year is expected from Higgs in the coming days.

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