EDMONTON – The government of Alberta has approved $1 billion as part of the first phase of emergency recover and reconstruction funding for those affected by the massive flooding in southern Alberta.
“Treasury board met this morning, and made a decision to approve a preliminary $1 billion to fund the disaster recovery program,” said Alberta Premier Alison Redford Monday.
“We are going to do whatever it takes to get everyone back to a place where they can continue to live their lives,” she vowed.
“The world changed on Thursday morning…and we’ve come to terms with that.”
The government will provide pre-loaded debit cards to those who have been evacuated and are still displaced to help with their immediate housing needs and day-to-day expenses.
Those who qualify will receive $1,250 per adult and $500 per child.
Eligibility criteria and distribution plans are still being finalized, but the province expects to have the cards in place by mid-week.
“For those Albertans affected by the floods, let me assure you that we will do everything in our power to support recovery and reconstruction,” said Redford. “We will rebuild together and our communities will be stronger than ever before.”
“Part of the work that our integrated task force will do is realign our priorities so the people who have moved back to their homes and are beginning to face decisions will have funds in their hands in very short order, and when I say that, I mean within 10 days to two weeks,” said Redford.
The premier previously announced three associate ministers who were appointed to take charge of regional flood reconstruction and recovery. Calgary MLA Rick Fraser will be on the ground in High River, and Lethbridge MLA and Associate Municipal Affairs Minister Greg Weadick will oversee recovery in the province’s southeast. Calgary MLA and Associate Finance Minister Kyle Fawcett will be stationed in the southwest.
Redford likened the associate ministers’ work to that of the Provincial Reconstruction Teams the Canadian military introduced in Afghanistan.
On Monday, Redford introduced Andre Corbould, Assistant Deputy Minister of Regional Services at Alberta Transportation, as leader of the government of Alberta’s Flood Recovery Task Group.
“His last assignment before this was as a Brigadier General in Afghanistan, as Deputy Commander of the 10th mountain division,” explained Redford.
The $1 billion emergency recovery and reconstruction funding has been allocated from Alberta’s Contingency Fund to provide immediate support to Alberta families and communities. The emergency funding will provide:
- direct funding support for residents who have been evacuated (eligibility to be determined);
- support for relief centres, including food, clothes and supplies; and
- resources to start rebuilding bridges, waterways, and other critical infrastructure .
Redford said “we don’t yet know” what the full cost of rebuilding the areas impacted by the disaster will be.
“This is like nothing we’ve ever faced before.”
She did say the disaster will affect the provincial budget.
“Are we sticking to plan to balance the budget? No, we’re not,” Redford said.
“As we move forward and we continue to look at what we’re going to need and to the future, that’s going to have to become part of what will be an ongoing and I think probably an amended approach to budgeting in Alberta.”
Redford said she expects federal funding will help cover some of the costs to rebuild as well.
“The federal funding formula doesn’t cover everything, but that’s not going to define what we do to support families and communities and infrastructure,” she added.
She explained costs of rebuilding infrastructure would not be put on individual municipalities.
“This is a provincial disaster recovery plan, and our commitment is to fund recovery right across the province, in every municipality, and in every home that’s been affected.”
“I don’t want to scare people, but I want you to know, that when we talk about what’s going to happen, we’re talking about a ten year plan,” she said, “and we’re committed to make sure that we take that time to do it right.”
“This is going to be a tough week, but we’re going to get through it.”
More information is available on the Alberta Emergency Management website .
Links to emergency information, community contacts and disaster recovery are available on the government’s website.