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City seeks frozen-pipe aid

Officially applies to province for disaster assistance

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City hall hopes to recover about half of the $3.5 million spent dealing with frozen waterlines this year.

The city has formally applied to the province for disaster financial assistance.

Finance chairman Russ Wyatt said Thursday if the funding is approved, the city will recover half the costs from the province.

Wyatt acknowledged there are concerns the frozen waterlines may not meet federal criteria as a disaster, but he hoped the issue would be resolved if the provincial government formally recognizes the situation as a disaster.

"I hope the province is supportive," Wyatt said.

While the province would cover the disaster funding, the province would recover its costs from the federal government.

The $3.5 million does not include the lost revenue to the water-and-waste utility from the thousands of homes that were instructed to run their water taps this winter as a precautionary move.

The utility has not provided an estimate on the amount of the lost revenue.

Almost 2,600 properties suffered frozen waterlines this winter as a result of the unusually cold temperatures.

As of this week, 77 properties still have frozen waterlines but 45 of those have been provided temporary water service through a hose connection to a neighbouring property.

City officials said the priority is to thaw the pipes of those 45 properties.

The remaining 32 properties with frozen waterlines are mostly vacant buildings, officials said.

Almost 10,000 properties continue to run a cold water tap, as the city believes there is a risk of freezing.

City officials said the water-and-waste utility will do a review of the measures put in place and come up with a plan in the event of a recurrence next year.

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

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