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Feds deliver $870M of promised $5B disaster recovery fund to B.C.

Money to go to rebuilding infrastructure destroyed by 2021’s fires, floods
Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair arrives at a news conference Tuesday June 9, 2020 in Ottawa. Blair announced an advance payment of $870 million for B.C.’s disaster recovery efforts July 18. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

The federal government is releasing a second portion of the approximately $5 billion in disaster recovery funds it has promised B.C.

Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair announced the new $870-million advance payment on Monday (July 18), the second chunk of money to come through since the feds threw their financial support behind B.C. in December.

In June, they sent along an initial amount of $207 million aimed at assisting communities impacted by 2021’s wildfires.

The funds are in response to B.C.’s initial estimate that rebuilding from the damage of 2021’s wildfires and atmospheric river and flooding will cost about $5 billion.

B.C.’s public safety minister and solicitor general Mike Farnworth said the fresh $870 million will be used in various ways, including fixing roads and flood-damaged areas and in the province’s ongoing work rebuilding washed out sections of highways, such as the Coquihalla and Highway 1.

He didn’t provide a timeline on when the remainder of the $5 billion would be received, but said B.C. will request money from the feds as it submits its projects and expenses.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada has called the floods and slides the most costly weather event in B.C.’s history. As of June, it estimates the insured losses amount to $675 million. It says another $102 million in insured damages came from the Lytton wildfire, and $77 million from the White Rock Lake wildfire.

Farnworth said the province doesn’t yet know what the final cost of repairs will be, but that the $5 billion is a good initial estimate.

READ ALSO: B.C. welcomes federal government’s ‘initial’ $5 billion in flood disaster relief


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About the Author: Jane Skrypnek

I'm a provincial reporter for Black Press Media.
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