The federal government will contribute $1.7 million toward a proactive emergency response to potential spring flooding in eight at-risk New Brunswick First Nations after record snowfall this winter.

In addition to the larger than normal snowpack on the ground, the snow possesses a higher than normal water content this year, making for an additionally dangerous potential snowmelt.

Crews are currently at work removing large amounts of snow from areas surrounding houses and key infrastructure at Elsipogtog, Buctouche, Indian Island Esgenoopetitj, Eel Ground, Eel River Bar, Tobique, and Metepenagiag First Nations. The snow is being trucked away and deposited at sites designated by environmental officials.

“The best possible use of tax dollars is to prevent emergencies from occurring in the first place,” said Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt. “I’m happy to see First Nations and the Government of Canada working together to ensure the safety of life and property. We all hope this work will mitigate any flooding that may occur during the spring melt.”

In Elsipogtog alone, as many as 800 truckloads of snow are currently being removed on a daily basis.

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