Ten B.C. communities severely affected by the November 2021 floods are receiving $53.6 million in provincial funding to support recovery work and get people back into their communities.
“The November floods were a stark reminder of the climate crisis and the impacts extreme weather events are having on people and our communities,” said Nathan Cullen, Minister of Municipal Affairs. “Our government is committed to ensuring local governments and their residents have access to the resources they need to recover, including housing in the medium term, while we work to develop long-term solutions to better protect people and communities.”
Due to the extreme effects of the flooding on their communities, the local governments of Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Cowichan Valley Regional District, Fraser Valley Regional District, Hope, Kent, Merritt, Mission, Princeton and Thompson-Nicola Regional District are receiving direct grants to assist them in meeting the additional costs pressures of ongoing recovery and infrastructure planning.
This funding is in addition to more than $2.1 billion that Budget 2022 provides to help people recover from last year’s floods and wildfires, and to better protect communities against future climate disasters.
“In the aftermath of the floods, I’ve heard the clear call from residents and local government leaders that we need to build back better,” said Pam Alexis, MLA for Abbotsford-Mission. “This new funding will help communities like Abbotsford in rebuilding critical infrastructure to a more resilient standard, better protecting people and communities in the Fraser Valley from future climate events.”
Many residents from Merritt and Princeton require temporary housing to return home to their communities. These grants will assist the local governments of Merritt and Princeton with supports in implementing innovative temporary housing options as permanent homes are rebuilt. This will be in addition to the efforts already provided by the Canadian Red Cross, which supports temporary housing assistance immediately after disasters.
“Today, I feel both grateful and humble. On behalf of the City of Merritt, I would like to thank the Province and all residents of British Columbia for your support of our community,” said Linda Brown, mayor of Merritt. “These funds will not solve all our problems and the road ahead will still be incredibly hard for so many of our residents, though we have been given a much-needed dose of hope. This funding enables us to commence housing projects that will support hundreds of people and to construct infrastructure where we never could have afforded adequate recovery on our own. Each day, we will work and grow stronger as a community, and soon, so many of our residents will be able to come home.”
In addition to supporting intermediate temporary housing for displaced residents of Merritt and Princeton, the grants will enable all 10 local governments to:
- take care of initial flood-recovery costs not covered by other assistance programs;
- carry out initial small-scale recovery-related capital projects;
- implement planning, feasibility studies and design work to support resilient infrastructure; and
- restore infrastructure in a way that provides additional resilience to climate events.