Councillors pass motions to help Fort McMurray residents with flood recovery

Councillors passed several motions as well as what they called the 2020 Flood Recovery Bylaw on Wednesday in an attempt to help Fort McMurray residents recover from the recent flooding disaster.

In a news release, the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo said the bylaw passed by council will temporarily waive all community development and safety code permit fees for all residents, temporarily waive all disposal fees at the municipal landfill, temporarily waive residential solid waste collection and recycling fees for residents in flood-affected areas until Aug. 31 and temporarily waive non-residential solid waste collection and recycling fees for those in flood-affected areas until June 30.

The bylaw will also temporarily suspend provisions in a noise bylaw to allow for flood recovery noise caused by “any remediation or reconstruction activities in flood-impacted areas.”

“We are going to do everything we can to support impacted residents and businesses in recovery from this historic flood,” said Mayor Don Scott.

“The flood’s impact on our neighbourhoods, homes, businesses and families is heartbreaking, and while our community spirit is as strong and inspiring as ever, we are seeking support from the Government of Alberta through the Disaster Recovery Program, as well as the Government of Canada to help our residents during their time of need.

“If there’s a community that can overcome challenges it is this one, and in order for that to happen, we need everyone working together to support our neighbours that are impacted.”

Scott has previously estimated that the flood, which was caused by a massive ice jam and saw about 13,000 people forced to leave their homes, had caused about $100 million in damage.

Alberta Municipal Affairs has said it will consider the request for help.

At Wednesday’s council meeting, councillors also passed three motions.

The first was to have Scott send letters to Premier Jason Kenney, Alberta Municipal Affairs Minister Kaycee Madu, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and federal Public Safety Minister Bill Blair to ask for assistance in the community’s recovery.

The second motion that was approved called for the municipality to fund resident “costs associated with the towing of vehicles as a direct result” of the flood and “costs associated with reimbursing residents for food and accommodations who were evacuated but did not register at the onset of the evacuation but have since registered with the Canadian Red Cross.”

“This reimbursement will be the same as the costs covered by the municipality for evacuees that registered and stayed in emergency accommodations,” the RMWB said, noting that it will seek reimbursement on money spent for both of these things in a request to the province for DRP funding.

A third motion approved by council calls for the municipality’s administration to amend its Land Use Bylaw and Fees, Rates and Charges Bylaw to allow the municipality to “temporarily relax parking restrictions to allow residents impacted by the flood the opportunity to park and stay in recreational vehicles/campers on their property until remediation activities are complete or until Aug. 31, which ever date occurs first.”

The motion also calls on administration to require applications for business licenses for work arising from the state of local emergency related to the flood to have had an address in Wood Buffalo for at least 90 days before the state of emergency was called to be considered a local business.

The motion also calls on administration to “reduce water billing fees for homes impacted by the current Alberta Health Services boil water advisory as a result of the April 2020 flood, for the duration of the advisory.”

 

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