Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Feds write cheque for $50M in flood assistance

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THE Harper government is contributing another $50 million to the 2011 spring flood in Manitoba under the Disaster Financial Assistance program.

Vic Toews, Manitoba's senior federal cabinet minister, announced the extra cash on Tuesday.

It's the second payment of $50 million to date from Ottawa. The first payment was made last November.

Toews said the second payment underscores his government's commitment to helping the province recover from last year's flooding in western Manitoba, and around Lake Manitoba and Lake St. Martin.

Manitoba Infrastructure Minister Steve Ashton said the total flood-fighting and recovery bill is estimated at $1 billion, with more than $317 million eligible for Disaster Financial Assistance funding.

Under the program, Ottawa reimburses provinces and municipalities for up to 90 per cent of expenses.

Ashton said the province is anticipating more payments in the coming months. "The second payment is really early on in terms of what we anticipate in recovering," he said.

He added that following the 1997 flood, it took until 2008 to finalize disaster claims.

Ashton also said the two levels of government continue to discuss whether the emergency outlet built last fall to help lower Lake St. Martin and Lake Manitoba qualifies for federal funding.

The channel cost more than $60 million and as of Tuesday, 4,100 cubic feet per second of water was flowing through it into a large marsh and Lake Winnipeg.

Doug Dobrowolski of the Association of Manitoba Municipalities also attended the news conference.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 4, 2012 A4

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